I am a naturally clumsy person. Crashing into walls that pop up out of nowhere is my pastime and tripping down creaky carpeted stairs is an unwelcome yet repetitive hobby. It’s ironic how the same barriers that protect me from the wind and constant Washington rain give me hard hugs and frequent doses of tough love. I’ve lived in my too-small, three bedroom, run of the mill house for almost 17 years. Yet after all these years, I still cannot seem to avoid that one cabinet edge that stabs me everyday. Despite these incidents, I know my home well enough to tell you the exact number of steps I can skip on my stairs and how far I can slide on my hardwood-floored entryway to my front door where friends are knocking.
My parents have been talking about moving for years, leaving our little house that’s sandwiched between all the others, with hardly enough space to lay down between them and not enough distance to block out the blasting music or loud talking that comes into our rooms at all times. When I was younger, I was wrapped up in this desire for something new that could be the grandest of adventures, and I would run around the spotless open houses with my little sister and giggle as we decided which rooms would be which and where we would put our beds and toys.
Now, when my family talks about moving, I’m the first one to speak up against it. Our house is well-worn, and impossibly small for all of the pure Teachout craziness shoved into it. But this house holds so much more than toys and furniture, it holds memories that are priceless. It holds my spot in my neighborhood, where I’ve made amazing friends that feel like family. I’ve grown up with these people, watched our time together morph from playground games to laying in garages listening to guitar; from getting cut up from the waist up and waist down in blackberries bushes to occasional Frisbee games that inevitably end with that poor piece of plastic in a pine tree; from tag to baseball and football games that I choose to sit out on for the safety of everyone else.
I’m one of those people who doesn’t like change. When we got rid of our old refrigerator I remember taking a photo of it so “I’d always remember”, and when we got a new car I sat in our old one in that Honda parking lot and cried because some other little kid was going to write on the car I’d already ruined with my markers. Now that I’m older, I’m getting better with change. I still love going through old photos and reliving those crazy moments otherwise forgotten, but I’ve realized that it’s not the material things that matter. What makes something special, what makes a house a home are the memories created, shared and recalled there everyday, because those are the things you’ll remember forever.