Twenty-four hours from now, we sign the final papers to close on my dad's house.
Twenty-four hours ago, my oldest and closest friend Joe and his wife welcomed their son, Terrence James (named after my dad) into the world.
In this moment, under a cloudless Chicago afternoon, with a slight wind peeking through the screens, with the heat of a mid-80 degree day, my life moves on.
I am not really sure how to even present these thoughts or feelings here, but this blog has been like my diary, one that has seen my transition from in-training to in-recovery, from student to doctor, from girlfriend to friend, and from raving lunatic to, well, just raving (though this last one is open to interpretation). So why not yap here about the winds of change swirling around me?
This whole thing with my dad's house - my family has never lived anywhere else. Just this house. My parent's bought it over 30 years ago, and raised five kids in it. Every memory, good/bad/ugly likely happneed in the house.
Drunk friends passing out in the basement? Check.
Kitchen where brother threw scissors at me in angry rage? Check.
Swimming pool in the backyard that we spent more time cleaning at the beginning of the season then actually swimming in during the whole summer? Check.
Basketball net where dad taught me how to sink a lay-up after I didn't make the fifth grade team, and then proudly making me demonstrate said lay-up for basketball-star cousin after Thanksgiving dinner? Check.
Bedrooms which we regularly switched around, used mostly for late night talks/whispers with your sisters, and the occasionally peeing on the ground next to the bed I drunkenly mistook for the toilet when it was finally my turn to get drunk? Uhh....check?
Dark basement I ran up the stairs from because, to this day, I am afraid of the monsters that might get me if I didn't? Check.
Closet I used to hide in when my dad got really mad, and I just wanted to run away for real? Check.
Endless phone calls sitting on the stairs while siblings angrily stared me down and complain to mom that I've been on the phone for too long, but I don't care because it was my FIRST REAL BOYFRIEND and I was in LOVE? Check. Check. Check again.
I could seriously go on - after all, thirty years is a lot of memories, and those listed don't even count all the holidays of belly-stuffing food meticulously cooked by mom, stifling towers of Christmas presents we could not afford that my mom sacrificed for to see us happy, the endless nights sitting around the kitchen table with my best friend Anne-Marie, eating Ruffles chips and Domino's pizza and drinking Pepsi (and not the diet stuff), or the cigarettes stolen from my mom and smoked on the side of the house.
I have moved through this house sale almost like a robot, mostly because I am so tired of tying up my dad's estate and I just wanted it over. But now, as a new couple prepare to move in, start planning for their family, and getting to know all the nooks and crannies of my house, it's hard not to reflect.
My dad's passing marked a milestone in the life of my family. It came at a time when my mom was trying to find herself (in Arizona), my siblings were on the brink of meeting and marrying their significant others, my brother was about to embark on his Tennessee life, and I was finally reaching the end of my degree. He died when our metaphorical lives were just starting, or at least the new phases were. And few of these things would have actually happened if my dad had not died. The house was the last piece of this former life, so to speak.
So with the birth of Terrence James (named for my dad), the birth of Baby Nolan (who looks freakishly like my dad), the house, the marriages, the graduations and the reconciled relationships with my mom, life really does go on. And for someone that HATES change, I am actually excited for all of this. Like I said in a an earlier post, its these moments of reflection and contentness that I will recall when times are not-so-great, because they will remind me that what seems bad at the moment is really only preparation from the greatness that lies ahead.