Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!

A house is a house, is a house…

on November 28, 2005

But not this house.

It's funny how we get attached to things.  Things that we can't possibly take with us.  Things that are not eternal.  Things that are just… well… things.  They may be tangible in the moment, but they can be gone in a moment as well.

My Gramma is moving.  We have lived here in Ontario for about 22 years.  That means that for the past 22 years, my Gramma has been at every birthday, every Christmas, every graduation…  every significant and non-significant event for the last 22 years.

This year my Gramma will be in Manitoba for Christmas.  And I am not quite ready to let her, or the house that she's lived in for as long as I can remember go.

I thought it would be easy, sort through the stuff, throw out some stuff, wheedle her out of some stuff…  but, especially this weekend when we were there, I found myself sorting through the memories.

I remember the time my cousin Ben and I traded pj's to try and trick my late sleeping Grampa.  Or the time we used oil paints to…  er…  paint the back porch.

In the basement I could hear my Grampa telling my dad to watch his head, and then promptly whack his own head on the low ceiling.

I remember learning how to sew in that house.  With my Gramma watching over my shoulder while I did straight seams.  I learned pottery, threw some pots, very mishapen pots, on the wheel with Gramma's hands guiding my own.

We're talking about years of Santa Clause parades, years of Thanksgivings, and sleepovers, and just plain old Gramma and Grampa togetherness.

While my Grampa has been gone for a long time now, it seems as if he still lives in that house.  I can see him around every corner, in the nooks, in the household “repairs”.  I can hear him say, “'ammer.”  I can see him with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.  I can see him fixing my shoes with army duct tape.  It's almost like we're losing him all over again.

And yet, it's just a house.  A house whose memories now need to be transferred permanently to my mind. 

It's going to be hard not having Gramma close by.  The kids adore their Great Gramma.  It's going to be much more difficult to do Gramma things with her being a nice solid 40 odd hour drive away.  I am really having a much harder time with this than I originally thought I would.

I do, however, feel peace for her for the move.  I think that she will do well in Manitoba, but at the same time, my heart screams, “what about us?  we need you here!”

I've never been close or really gotten to know my dad's parents, and my mom's parents have really fulfilled the grandparent role on both sides. 

And now the new roles begin.  We are going to have to figure out how to be grandchildren while being so far apart.  The kids are going to have to hear stories all the time about their Great Gramma so that she will still be just an hour away in their hearts.  So that when we do meet up, they'll remember her.

My Gramma is a tough old bird.  She is the most amazing woman I know, and I can only hope that when I'm her age, I will be as together as she is.

To say goodbye to the house is going to be very difficult.  But to say goodbye to the woman is going to be even harder.

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