Tag Archives: Nostalgia

New traditions are bittersweet.

23 Dec

Though I love that my parents moved up to NC in May of this year and are now only a 45-minute drive away from me, the “big move” involved selling the house I grew up in until I was 16 years old. Though I was ready to get out of my small hometown as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I loved growing up in the house that I did, and I am very fortunate to have been provided with a house that was full of love, comfort, books, and many memories.

Every single holiday memory I have took place in that house, and this year will be the first time I will be making new traditions in a different house. I’m happy with how things are now, of course. I love my parents’ current house more than my childhood home in SC, but my childhood home holds every single memory of my life up until the age of 16. Decorating the Christmas tree with my mom and getting nostalgic when pulling out the hand-made ornaments from when I was 5 and 6, making Christmas cookies in the kitchen, and putting up my own little fiber-optic Christmas tree (which came into the picture many years ago when I spent the holidays in Shriner’s Hospital for Kids and wanted something to make it feel more like Christmas in my hospital room). Even though the majority of our holiday “traditions,” or just how Christmas Day would pan out, are easy to duplicate in a different house, I think the kicker is also the realization that we will be opening presents and stockings in a different house from now on. The Christmas tree is up against a wall of windows rather than being set in a corner with two couches nestled around it. Since we have a wood stove, there is no fireplace to hang our stockings, and for the very first time, we will only have 5 stockings as opposed to 6 (since we lost Roxy, one of our springer spaniels, this year). Despite that sadness, Hoss, Roxy’s son, will be getting plenty of treats and as much love and attention as we can possibly show him. Needless to say, he’ll definitely be a happy camper on Christmas morning.

I don’t doubt that this Christmas will be just as special as previous holidays. However, I know that for me, it’ll be an emotional adjustment. I know that this year when I wake up on Christmas morning, I’ll be picturing the tree nestled in a corner…stockings hung up on the fireplace…and Hoss and Roxy sitting around my parents, my brother and I as we open stockings and gifts in our pajamas. And maybe, for just a few seconds, I’ll feel a bit sad about not getting to experience another Christmas in my childhood home, but then I will be sure to understand how fortunate I am to even have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with my family around me.

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Learning From The Memories.

15 Feb

A few days ago, my parents told me that they’ve put our South Carolina house on the market. Though I’m looking forward to having my parents closer to me, another part of me knows that it may take a while to call our mountain house “home.” Though I’d pick living in Saluda over St. Matthews any day, I grew up in St. Matthews. It was my home for a long time.

No matter how many times I say that I’m happy that I won’t need to go back to St. Matthews once my parents are in Saluda, there are so many memories that St. Matthews holds that no amount of time in another place will be able to replace. Playing t-ball at the baseball field on the end of our street, finding a family through getting involved in theater with the Calhoun Players, riding my various go-karts around the block again and again, driving up and down the street in my Barbie Jeep, learning to drive my first car, the ice storm that lead to my dad and I going to get pizza from the Pantry. All my great birthday parties growing up, getting to be a “flyer” on the cheerleading team when I was really little, catching frogs in the “pond” behind the Piggly Wiggly after a big rain, the Purple Martin Festival, discovering my love of writing, spending the Saturdays of summer at the small county library, making mud pies in the backyard, running through the wildflowers in the back lot, cracking pecans, swinging in the old tire swing in the back lot, my dad rocking me in his mom’s rocking chair on the nights when I couldn’t sleep, sitting out on the screen porch listening to a summer thunderstorm, making brownies in the kitchen with mom and always wanting to lick the bowl. I could go on forever…

It’s times like these, when the memories run through my head like a slide show, that I get nostalgic. It used to amaze me that a certain place could hold so much emotion, but now I understand. There are 16 years of memories there, and they’re not going anywhere. Though I’ll take them with me wherever I go in my life, they belong there….in the small town that I always wanted to get away from and did get away from when I was 16. I don’t doubt that when I visit in the future, the memories will come back once I take that 136 exit off of I-26 to the place that I called home for so long. I’ll drive down my street, and it’ll feel weird….it’ll feel weird that time hasn’t stopped…it’ll feel weird knowing that someone else is living in our house…using my bedroom..playing in my back yard…and making memories in a place that held all the cherished moments of my own childhood.

At the same time, I’ve always had a strong connection with the mountains, and so I understand why my parents would also want to call the mountains home. As a family, we used to always make trips up to Saluda to get away, so I have a feeling it’ll take some time to not imagine taking a “trip” to Saluda. However, I’ve called the mountains (Asheville, in my case) home since August, and it’s been amazing. I’ve loved every second of it, and being among such beautiful landscapes has helped me gain perspective, while also giving me the opportunity of discovering myself some more. It’s a strange feeling….knowing that every day I’m coming closer to fully discovering who I’m supposed to be in this world. It’s exciting and scary, but the only way is forward. So, to all the memories that have taken up a permanent residence in my heart: Thanks for teaching me about life, what it means to love, the importance of friends and family. But most of all, thanks for providing me with courage, insane amounts of love to give to those around me, laughter, and hope. And showing me the importance of branching out, chasing my dreams, and ultimately, following my heart to the true place that it belongs.