I drive by their house. Horses are in the pasture. A swing set is in the yard. And I can’t help but wonder what their first Christmas will be like. Will they have cookies in the oven? Will the back of the barn have a star lit up that only they can see? I likely will never know. This year, we sold the family farm.
I drive by it every time I head to town. There are those moments I feel the car slow and my hand reach for the blinker. Then I catch myself. This is no longer my home.
Sure, there are moments I tear up knowing I will never drive down that lane. It's sad because the people who used to wait for me at the end are gone from this Earth. My mom hasn’t been there for 15 years, and my dad for one year. The emotions linger for the next 10 miles until I pull into my drive and realize … home is not a physical place, it is a forever memory.
Selling a piece of property where your name is etched in concrete in the lower barn is tough. It was the first place my daughters saw sheep and fell in love with these gentle animals. Their grandma and grandpa built an upper barn with an indoor wash rack just to make it warmer for them as they prepared for winter nationals.
It was where grandma would open the window curtains to watch her girls play on the swing set in the yard when she was sick. A barn where grandpa would sit in a chair offering advice on carding wool and with each finished session, grab their neck, bend down and kiss their head.
But my sister, brother and I had our own piece of country. We had to realize the Spoonster family homestead was more than a doublewide trailer and barns. It was about what went on inside.
Moments to savor
It was where we were so poor a kerosene heater was used inside the house for heat (not safe at all!). It was winter nights spent in the barn on straw bales in sleeping bags waiting on new lambs to arrive. It was prom pictures in the front yard, screaming matches while loading hogs, building snowmen and putting up Christmas trees.
It was where family gathered for the holidays. It was where both of my parents took their last breath surrounded by those who loved, cherished and revered them. It was knowing we would see them again because of the greatest gift Christmas celebrates — the birth of Jesus.
So, while my childhood home is no longer in my family, it will be OK. For I know that the memories made there will stay with me and my children. My prayer for those who now call it home is to make your own memories within those walls, on that swing set and inside the barn — ones that last until eternity.