Some families argue about the remote control.
Some families argue about who is supposed to take out the trash.
Some families argue about who sits next to who and who gets the last piece of pie and who left the refrigerator door open and who gets to recline in the recliner.
My mother and I?
We argue about the butter.
I know, right? Random. When I was growing up, the butter sat on the counter. Day after day. Week after week. Minute after minute. Getting mushier by the second. I couldn’t deal. I wanted my butter cold and crisp and un-counterlike. One day I stared in frustration at that butter dish and told my mother that when I grew up, I would have my own house and my own refrigerator and my butter would go inside on the top shelf and stay there until it was ready to come out for toast.
My mother just smiled.
And told me to pass her the mushy butter.
Yesterday I said goodbye to Thistlewood.
We packed everything up and closed on the house and I stood in the middle of this kitchen and cried.
Not a pretty cry like the ones from a Hallmark movie—a gut-wrenching, sobbing, come-apart cry that sounded like a cross between a coyote and the sleestaks from Land of the Lost.
It was pitiful.
The cry surprised me.
I didn’t see it coming.
I mean, I knew I was a little sad, but there was so much to look forward to. There was the new/old house waiting for me in Texas. There was an almost-renovated kitchen and an almost-renovated bathroom and an almost-renovated living room calling my name and a Santa-Claus step ready for December 25.
I was ready.
I was prepared.
I was set.
Until I had to say goodbye.
There is so much of my heart in this house.
In every room.
In every floorboard.
In every window that frames the Kentucky countryside.
All of the years and weeks and days and minutes of living came rushing back to me at once as I stood in the middle of that kitchen.
I wanted to scream.
I wanted to press pause.
I wanted to stop.
I wanted to hold onto the pillars of the front porch and never, ever, ever let go.
But I couldn’t.
I had commitments and new houses and kitchens and family obligations waiting for me five states away.
The cold, hard truth swept over me in that moment.
This chapter of our lives was coming to a close.
With tears running down my face and my insides churning, I took one last walk through the rooms. I opened every cabinet and door and drawer and closet to make sure we hadn’t left anything behind. Slowly and surely and with a heavy heart, I told the house goodbye and that I would miss it forever and to make sure it behaved for the new owners.
I saved my favorite room for last. I stood in the butler’s pantry and sighed and opened the refrigerator to check it one last time.
I literally laughed out loud.
I cried and laughed and cried some more and then threw my head back and laughed so hard my sides hurt.
Because the last item I found?
The last thing left in the empty house?
The single, solitary piece of Kentucky that was left to take home?
My butter dish.
Good thing God has a sense of humor.
Good thing I walked out the front door with a beautiful mix of laughter and tears.
Good thing I didn’t leave this dish behind.
I know our new house isn’t going to be interested in any of that mushy butter. 🙂