To The House That Loves Me

I'm participating in my very first ChicagoNow Blogapalooz-Hour, which is apparently this crazy dare every Wednesday night for ChicagoNow bloggers to write about a given subject matter in ONE hour. Tonight's challenge: "Write a love letter, but it can't be to a person." So I'm writing a letter to the house that loves me.

Dear Childhood House,

I remember eating homemade chili mac my mom had brought in a crock-pot on a crisp autumn morning for my dad and the other builders to eat while they were framing the house.

I remember "helping" clean-up the building site one Saturday afternoon. My dad, wearing the tool belt I'd seen him wear nearly every day of my entire five years, told my brothers and me to pile up all the scrap wood. I remember lifting one end of a large board and holding it just under my chin as I walked forward, pushing the board towards the pile. And then the ground fell from under me. I grabbed the board tightly as I hung, dangling in the hole that would someday be the stairs to your basement. I screamed and screamed. I held on for what seemed like forever, pretending I was at the park on the monkey bars. Eventually my dad came running over and pulled me to safety, and I knew he'd protect me forever.

I remember lying in bed at night in our old house (don't be jealous). My mom was tucking me in because daddy was spending the night building you. I remember my mom lying next to me describing the light fixture she had chosen for my new bedroom. It would have five sconces with pink stained glass flowers.

I remember the party we had after you were finished being built and we were all moved in. I remember seeing everyone I had ever loved sitting at banquet tables in your garage.

I remember racing my brother Paul to answer a phone when our parents were away for the day, and hip-checking him into your master doorway, causing him to get a bloody nose. He was pissed. But he was huge and scary, so I was kinda proud of myself.

I remember playing musical-bedrooms with my brothers throughout high school as we all tried to figure out how to get our own room in a house that was originally intended for three boys to share a single bedroom. We eventually claimed your dining room and office for ourselves.

I remember helping myself to your stocked kitchen bar on my 21st birthday to make everyone a chocolate martini in celebration.

I remember dancing with my new husband on our wedding night under a tent in your front yard. I remember cutting the cake. I (barely) remember drinking way too much vodka.

I remember coming home to you the night my brother was put on life support. I remember climbing into bed pregnant, and crying in my husband's arms.

I remember bringing my newborn baby home a week after Paul's passing to visit you and feel the comfort of a familiar place. We sat in your family room - Michael, my parents, and me - eating dinner and watching a movie while my new daughter slept. Your walls were eerily quiet that night. I like to think Paul's spirit visited you that night too, so he could meet his first niece.

I remember other new babies. I remember Christmas mornings and Easter egg hunts. I remember nightly family dinners and lazy Sunday breakfasts.

I remember fights and yelling and hugging and laughter. I remember a swing set out back and a creek that we waded through when the weather was warm.

I wasn't always good at loving you, House. I HATED my pink bedroom walls. I put more holes in you than I care to remember while hanging up stupid posters of teenage crushes. I used you and I took you for granted.

But you, House, you have always loved me. You always gave me what I needed before I even knew I needed it.

I don't remember everything. But what I do remember ... well, those are the memories that make up a life.

Thank you, House. I love you.

UPDATE: A fellow ChicagoNow blogger was kind enough to point out that this crazy Blogpalooz-Hour only takes place once a month (not once a week, as previously stated). Frankly, I'm relieved.

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