Ya Don’t Know Whatcha Got Till It’s Gone

Are you like me?  When you know people are going to be staying at your house, do you look around and see all the things you have been neglecting?  I’ve gotten pretty house blind, as my mother calls it.  It’s my house.  I’m used to it.  I don’t notice the dust or flaws like I used to.  I have better things to do – like sew!  Cleaning and keeping everything updated and organized have taken the backseat to actually enjoying life!

We are going to visit my daughter in Arizona.  This is the first trip that we have gone on since our youngest bird left the nest.  That left us needing a dog-sitter.  My son, Alex, could have come every day – a few times – to let her out, but she hates when I leave anyway, and I thought a week of being here in an empty house would be too hard on her.

So, I asked my mother-in-law, Sara, a dog lover, to come stay here.  She was more than willing.  She’s so excited for a “getaway” and she loves my dog.  I can’t remember if it was Sara’s idea or mine, but as it ends up, a couple of her widowed girlfriends are going to come stay for a few days, too!  They like to do overnights. They watch movies, do puzzles and go shopping.  I’m happy for Sara that my vacation is also becoming her vacation!

But then, you know what happened – I started seeing my house through their eyes.  The shower rod and curtain needed replaced.  The blanket closet needed cleaned out and organized, so they could open the door without being showered with comforters, my dog’s chair in the three season porch need recovered, the front porch windows needed cleaned…..well, you get the point.  So, that’s what I’ve been working on. 

(These are my plants and a nativity scene I couldn’t bear to put away after Christmas. All sitting on my barn door table. The door is from my grandparents barn. )

 To be honest, I didn’t mind cleaning that much.  I haven’t “nested” in a while.  The kids are grown and gone.  We rarely entertain anymore.  And like I said, I’ve used my off work time to sew!

As I was cleaning the three season porch, where the dog likes to sit and look out the window and drool and shed all over, I started to admire all of my things.  I have a bottle collection, birdhouses, etc. decorating the windows.  With each swipe of the dust rag, I was flooded with memories and love for the person who made the object or gave it to me.  The bench my deceased father made for me sits out there, and a cabinet that my grandfather made when I was a little girl.

Sitting on the floor, after an hour or so of cleaning, I remembered my granddaughter, Layla, now 12 years old, playing out in that porch.  It was the place where children loved to play.  My nephews, Luke and Nick, my great nephew, Hunter, my great niece, Lilly, and of course, Layla all found a magical world out there, and I realized that I had kept some of the decorating that I had originally done with them in mind – even though they are all too old to care about those things anymore, and rarely come to visit.

I sat wiping down the child size, white painted chair, and tears filled my eyes.  The passing of time washed over me, flooding me with sadness.  Sadness that I can’t go back and hold those precious little ones again.  Not the grandchildren, nieces or nephews, and not my own babies.  I sat and wept and realized that those were the best times of my life.  And yet, when my children were small, I didn’t know it.  I didn’t know those were such special times.  I never thought about that they would end – only with anticipation when I was feeling overwhelmed.

I guess it’s something one can’t imagine.  As the title says, “You don’t know whatcha got till it’s gone.”  I didn’t know what I had then, so now I wonder, as I look around me – what do I have now that I’m not realizing will not last forever?  

My creativity has become the child in my life. And I guess that’s why I’ve been neglecting my house – I didn’t do that enough when my kids were here. A lesson learned too late is better than never learned at all. 



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