It seemed different when I said goodbye today. Maybe because I somehow knew it might never be the same when I returned to this little yellow house on the lake.
It didn’t start out that way as I walked through her tiny kitchen this morning, making that same final run-thru that I’ve always done after each visit here for more than 25 years.
The whole morning I’ve been pestering my daughter, Micah.
Hurry, we got to make time.
Do we have everything?
We don’t want to get caught in traffic.
Saying goodbyes were always fairly easy because we always knew there would be a next time. We always came back, because of the magic here, the memories and a chance to step back in time.
Mom’s luscious backyard garden in its prime provided healing balm for any worries our troubles. It was that beautiful.
When it rained here, as it so often did, we would climb the old wooden ladder into the attic where my son would experiment with the record player more than 40 years old. Even as the wind howled and the skies would unleash torrents of water, we felt safe. We could stay there for hours.
You felt the same way here in the summertime, watching the leaves dance in the blue sky above you from the comfort of a nearby hammock tied between two trees.
Because something told me I should, I’m in the living room now, filming my oldest daughter and her grandma side-by-side on the couch. Because this is way more important than any schedule.
At one point in the conversation, I can’t help but interrupt.
“Isn’t this where you say something nice about me,” I ask, in almost a teasing manner, because I know her. This is so tough for her to say and has been for years.
She looks down, glances at Micah and out the window toward the lake in front of her. The pause seems to last forever when she finally makes a reference to my bald head.
With the video still recording, I ask one more question.
“Are you sure you don’t want to say anything nice about me,” I ask again.
She looks directly through the large living room window in front of her.
“Nice rain we’re having,” she says.
A few minutes later, mom watches as Micah and I pick up our things and prepare to say goodbye.
“I love you,” she tells Micah.
I look at her with a mischievous smile and ask about me.
“Well I love you too.”
Little did I know that the yellow house overlooking the lake would save its best magic for when I needed it the most.