I was not prepared for today. After everything that’s happened, I’d like to think I’m prepared for just about anything. But not this.
I came home to this.
I know what you’re thinking. Ewwww, what is up with that sunflower wallpaper border and the nasty sponge painting job?
Yeah, I eventually thought that, too, but only once I got past the emotions that were running all over the place. It was more than I could take to come home today to find the back entryway laying in a pile of rubble in the yard. We walked through that doorway the very first time we saw the house and every time after that. We brought each of our kids in through that doorway for the very first time and every time after that. We had a front door but front doors on farmhouses don’t get used much. Everyone comes in the back door. It’s just what we do.
This is the progress for which I’ve been praying for 20 years. I know I should feel excited. But I wasn’t feeling very excited at that moment. I felt sad. I felt uncertain. I felt a panic deep down inside. This panic was echoing in my head…”Oh, my gosh, what have I done?”
It made the project real.
You’re probably thinking, didn’t coming home to a hole punched in your foundation make it real? Sure it did. But there was something about this that left me in a puddle of tears in the yard. Thankfully by the time I got home, Art and Ricky were gone for the day so there was no one there to see me in full meltdown mode. Well, no one other than my youngest son.
The kid is almost 14 years old and I swear he’s got the soul of a 50-year-old. He’s wise beyond his years. I suppose losing your Dad at 11 makes a kid grow up quickly. He’s empathetic. He’s positive. He has a strong faith in God. He’s such a nice kid who is always smiling and I don’t say that just because I’m his Mom. Often times, I wonder how did I get such a nice kid. He’s a great comforter and most of all, he believes there is so much more beyond this world. He gets that it’s all temporary. So while I’m in the middle of my meltdown, I feel this hand on my back, scratching back and forth. I hug him and he says, “I get it, Mom. ” And I know he does.
I’m coming to the realization that while this house is full of memories of my husband and the life we had here, it’s no longer going to look like the house we had when he was here.
It wasn’t just the back entry way demolition that was tough to see. This entry is on the south side of the house. There were some old, wooden cellar doors and steps that came to an old steel door, which led into the basement from the outside. The steps were deteriorating badly. Some of the ends of the steps had broken off so using them required some concentration and coordination, both of which I am lacking most days. I’d hate to think of the number of unwelcome critters came in through that entry. It was also the entry my husband would use to get into the house.
He was a farmer, a mechanic, a do-it-all kind of guy and he loved his cattle. His clothes were usually a mess from each of those roles so early on when we moved here, it just became the way he entered and exited the house. It didn’t matter what time of the day or night he came into the house, I always heard the familiar drop of the cellar doors, which would alert me that he was home. Even in my sleep, I would hear the door shut without knowing it and wonder why I had woke with a little bit of a start. Eventually, he would make his way upstairs and I knew then why I woke up.
I made sure I grabbed those cellar doors from the rubble pile. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, but I couldn’t stand the idea of them being tossed away. I’m sure I’ll come up with something.
Oh and just what was up with that sunflower border and stellar sponge painting job?
I did that little project in August of 1996. I know it was August of 1996 because that’s when our first child was born. I was in full-on nesting mode and, by golly, no newborn of mine was going to come home to a plain, white back entryway! So there I was, big as a cow, trying to wedge myself into an entry way that wasn’t much bigger than I was. I put up the sunflower border and painted the bottom half of the wall because there was no way I was getting up on a ladder in my very pregnant state. You aren’t able to see the side I painted first. It was perfect! But, you’ll just have to take my word for it. That’s the side that is lying in the yard.
The side you can see is the side that was done last and in my very pregnant state, I just wanted it done. But that’s kind of obvious by how it looks, huh? I decided just to leave it. It was a reminder of that time in my life.
So many memories and reminders here. I’m grateful for them even when they make me sad.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
Until next time…
Salvaging A Farmhouse is a series of blog posts that chronicle my experience of renovating and reclaiming our 1900 farmhouse. This is a project that is over a decade in the making. We were working towards some pretty serious renovations on the house until my husband became sick with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and died 9 weeks after his diagnosis. My kids and I have been left with the task of completing what we started all those years ago. Every house and every family have a story and this is the story of ours.