On the back of the door that used to be the computer room and is now my mother’s bedroom hangs a pair of jeans. These jeans are too long and too wide to fit her frame. Their worn denim hangs alongside the light jackets and dresses and anything else she parks in that spot. They’ve been there for almost 14 years now. I know they are a comfort to her heart even if she doesn’t notice them much anymore. I can picture her running her hand along the soft seam and remembering.
In my childhood house I walk around and am assaulted by memories. Memories that run the gamut of happy to sad and every emotion in between and sideways. The frame is the same. Five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a large walk-in closet. Many of the contents have changed though the heart of the house remains: My mom.
That’s a big house for just one lady and a dog. Always a dog. Right now she’s in between, but it’s only a matter of time. “You need a smaller house,” is a line that my mom often hears from well-meaning friends and family. “This is too big a house for just you.”
Never mind that that house is filled often with the laughter of four girls giggling their way through the night.
Never mind that a few times a year it’s filled with eight girls wreaking havoc for a few weeks.
Never mind that us three come together to make our family of four plus a few spouses complete.
Never mind that the memories of our family of five are strong in this house.
Never mind that things have changed but you can see the signs if you look closely enough.
Never mind that I know all these things are important.
Never mind that I know the real reason why this house is just right for her.
It’s not her house. It’s their house. It’s the house they chose with two big kids and one just barely born kid a few months before a snowstorm would keep them nestled in their new home. It’s the house where the Chicago Bears were always tops, even when they weren’t. It’s the house where dogs came and went but always stayed in hearts. It’s the house they became Bamma and Papa in. It’s the house that is filled with mistakes, triumphs, and love.
It’s the house with his jeans on the back of the door.
And it is just right.