I don't have the greatest memory. There are random insignificant bits and pieces that I can remember from over the years, like sitting in my mom's darkened bedroom early in the morning, tying my shoes (they were white with baby blue stripes) before another day of kindergarten or the way my dad made macaroni and cheese for lunch and we ate it, hot and steaming, at the kitchen table while listening to a show on the radio. But I couldn't tell you what my earliest memory was or recall the time when (according to family legend) I cried in terror when I saw Mickey Mouse for the first time at Disneyland...or remember the first time I stepped into my grandparent's house. Like so many other things in my life, Oma and Opa's house has always just been there. No matter what goes on in my day-to-day life, whenever I think about Oma and Opa's house and feel instantly at peace. Sometimes, instead of counting sheep when I can't fall into slumber, I walk through their house in my mind and feel the tension slip out of my mind.
We leave to go back to the States tomorrow and I'm scared I'm going to forget. I'm terrified I won't remember exactly the way the floors creak or the sound of the grandfather clock always ticking faithfully or the feel of the place, the one thing that can't be captured. It doesn't matter it might not be decorated according to what's in style for home these days--family pictures adorn the walls like the finest pieces in the Lourve and that's worth more than any room that can be bought from the pages of an Anthropologie magazine. It's not just a house, it's a proper home, the kind that you look forward to returning to on a cold rainy night, made warm not just by a fire but by the glow of family. I don't have just one home, but two--I am torn between these two houses, one in Oklahoma, one here in Germany, that have lovingly nurtured and cared and supported families for longer than I can remember.
Yes, tomorrow I will be sad to leave, and when I hear a song I listened to these past few weeks I will probably cry for missing it all, but remembering everything only means so much, doesn't it? It's okay if I can't remember the first time I walked into my grandparent's house--now I am older and I will always treasure the last time I was in the house and anticipate the next time I get to step over the threshold. I may not have the best of memories, but this is one place I will never, ever forget. And no matter what happens, the rambling house on Eichendorffstraße 6 will be Oma and Opa's house, forever and ever amen.