This photo was taken about a week ago by my daughter, Sarah.
We moved into our house ten years ago this month. I was very pregnant with my daughter Laura. She’ll be 10 years old in June! I never thought I would want to move to Harlan, Kentucky. In fact, when my husband came home and said, “I found a house I think you’ll love.” I replied with, “I’ll go look at it, but there’s no way I’m moving to Harlan.”
It wasn’t that I didn’t like Harlan. It is a beautiful small town. I didn’t want to be that close to my mother-in-law.
At the time, my husband’s son Justin, and his wife Chelli and their two baby boys were living with us. So we all loaded up and drove to Harlan to look at the house. We drove up in the drive. It was winter so nothing was blooming and the yard was overgrown with bushes and weeds. The house had sat empty for over two years.
I loved the stone wall along the drive and I loved the stone path that led to the back door. Chelli and I walked into the mudroom and then into the little yellow (at the time) kitchen and I saw the big picture window over the sink. From there we moved through the butler’s pantry into the dining room and we looked at each with big eyes. There was a gorgeous crystal chandelier and a lovely bay window overlooking the front yard. And then into the foyer where I saw a beautiful staircase and I knew I had already fallen in love.
The house was built in 1950. Needless to say, we’ve spent the last ten years repairing and s-l-o-w-l-y renovating the house. We’ve replaced the roof, all 53 windows, the garage doors, rewired the kitchen, redone the plumbing in half the bathrooms, put in a new floor in the basement… and cut down something like 23 massive 100+ foot oak and poplar trees that were too close to the house or rotting and dangerous.
Next on our list… finish remodeling the kitchen, rewire the rest of the house, finish renovating the other bathrooms, paint the whole interior, replace the kitchen floor, tear out wallpaper and put in new, rip out the carpet and refinish the hardwood floors… Sometimes it feels like a never ending list of things that need to be done.
Shortly after making an offer on the house, the ten of us packed up the house in Rose Hill, Va. (just over the mountain) and moved to Harlan.
Little did I know that just a few weeks later the flowers would start to bloom. I am blessed to have literally hundreds of daffodils, tulips, irises, day lilies, Irish moss, crocuses, trillium, wild roses, azaleas, and peony’s. Not to mention all of the trees that bloom. During March, April, and May there are so many flowers I can have fresh cut flowers in every room of the house and you’d never know I took some from the yard. What a blessing!
I worried for nothing about my mother-in-law. She hasn’t tried to control my life. In fact, she’s been a real blessing to us. My daughter Laura was born in this house, right there in my bedroom in the same bed I sleep in today. We planted trees in honor of our children. We’ve buried a lot of pets in this yard. Our family gathers together very often in this house for birthdays, holidays, and just ordinary days.
There have been times I wished we could move somewhere else, but I’m glad now that we are still here. This house has given a legacy of love and stability and home to my children. I’ve lived in this house longer than I’ve lived anywhere in my entire life. And the same goes for my husband.
Home is sweet.
Tell me about your home. What does home mean to you?