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The House That Built Me | Leaving My Childhood Home

To say 2019 has been the year of uncomfortable changes is an understatement. I wasn’t kidding in my 2018 Year in Review when I said that my song of the year was Life Changes by Thomas Rhett. I just didn’t plan on it being as heartbreak as it turned out. In this year alone, my big brother left home, the person I thought was it for me broke up with me and shattered my heart, my childhood home sold, I moved in with my aunt and uncle temporarily, and I graduated college and will be moving down to Nashville in the upcoming month. It’s been a whirlwind. It has been difficult. And this post is focusing on leaving my childhood home.

“It’s two kids flying down the hall in our bedroom…”

On November 26, I woke up in my house. In the same bedroom that I have woken up in for the last 20 years of my life. Except rather than it being filled with my furniture, it was an empty room with bags and my mattress on the floor. And by 9 AM that same morning, that house wasn’t my family’s home anymore. How bizarre is it to think that at 8:59 AM, it was my house and by a one minute difference of a clock, it wasn’t anymore? For nearly the first two years of my life, I lived somewhere else but I have no memory of that house whatsoever. So, this house that we left only over a month ago was the only place I’ve called home and felt like home.

Typically, when a house sells there’s a 30 or 90-day closing window. But in our circumstance, we had two weeks. Two. Weeks. About half the time of a regular closing. In roughly four days, we packed up 20 years of our life and moved it out. It was actually insane how fast everyone was moving in the last 24-hours there. My dad and uncle went two days up and downstairs moving heavy and oddly shaped furniture while my mom and I tried to figure out the best course of action went it came to packing boxes and bags.

“It ain’t a mansion on a hill. It’s perfectly imperfect, it’s worth more than it’s worth. It’s our life, it’s our heart, it’s our home. This is our kingdom.”

It’s weird because I just always assumed my parents would live in this house forever. Even though that’s rather unrealistic but what can I say, I’m a more head-in-the-clouds and dreamer kind of woman. I remember sitting on my back deck this past July reading a book and looking up to observe my surroundings of the same thing that I’ve seen pretty much my whole life and thinking that this view was finite. The thought was so short yet heavy. At that point, our house was up for sale for two months and the reality of what would inevitably happen was setting in which brought me to tears.

I thought this house would be the place that I got ready for on my wedding day. The place where I would bring my children one day and tell them stories of my childhood in this house while making special memories for them there, too. Where my children would have sleepovers with their grandparents in my old bedroom. Just as I had at my grandparent’s house. It would be the home my brother and his future wife and my future husband and I would bring all our kids home to for big, warm holidays. And it would be so full of meaning because it already has such precious holiday memories from when we were kids.

“All the hard times, no, I wouldn’t trade a minute. We’ve come so far, it made us who we are. Right here, right now.”

This home was full of belly-laughs, scattered piles of Barbies and Hot Wheels everywhere. Rooms where my brother learned to play guitar in his bedroom while my bedroom was blasting Hilary Duff, Hannah Montana, and Taylor Swift thinking that no one could hear me singing if my door was closed. A home that saw many triumphs of my brother winning art awards and me doing exceptionally well in school. A place where we had family birthday parties and visits with my papa and grandpa. Somewhere that always felt warm and a hideaway from all the problems that occurred in school, with friends, or with relationships.

A home that saw the good, the bad, and the ugly but with a family inside to hold tight and lean on while storms of life passed. A home that literally was struck by lightning and remained intact (even if it did shake the house to the point where my brother fell out of bed). I’d like to think that’s a testament to how strongly our home was built on love.

“It’s our heart, it’s our home, it’s our babies’ faces. It’s the light, it’s the love living in these places.”

When I walked through all the empty rooms, it was almost like a movie. Flashbacks of memories played back like ghosts in front of my eyes. It seemed like an out-of-body experience. I was watching my younger self and my brother reliving memories that remain so vividly in my mind. Like how we had this blue and gray toy semi-truck that was big enough for 5-year-old me to sit on and ride it in circles in our basement. Or how my brother and I used to play “airplane” in my bed. We’d pile all our passenger stuffed animals on and take off in the plane using our Barbie and Hot Wheels’ steering wheels.

Best of all, I remember the warm and inviting feeling of our home especially during the holidays. Where my brother and I would fly down the hallway on Christmas morning to wake our parents up to open gifts from Santa. However, we couldn’t tear into them right away because we always had to wait for my dad to wrap our mom’s gift last-minute upstairs. I could go on forever about the millions of wonderfully loving memories that fill my mind. All I know is that I have so much love in my heart for a pile of bricks and beams. They brought me some of the happiest and meaningful moments of my life.

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

Childhood Home


“Won’t take nothing but a memory from the house that built me”

And so I had to say my final goodbyes to my safe-space and comfortable home. A home that my brother and I were so lucky to grow up in because my parents work tirelessly for us. They provided us with a beautiful childhood that we will forever be grateful for. I hope the ones that bought our house feel how special the home is and take care of it while making their own memories in it now. Because I sure do miss it a lot.

So, here’s to my new adventure in Tennesee soon. And here’s to my mom’s dream finally coming true of living near Nashville. Where her babies are back together that don’t include and eight-hour drive every few months with tearful see you later’s.

I’m a rather sensitive and sentimental person who has an incredibly difficult time with change. Therefore, as you can imagine, 2019 hasn’t been my favorite year and I certainly will not miss it. For the past two years, I have done a Year in Review however I don’t know if I even want to do one this year. So you can enjoy 2018 and 2017’s Year in Review here and here.

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1 Comment

  1. Denise H says:

    Kellie, this is such a beautiful post, I could almost feel the emotion through your writing ❤️ I love how you placed the older pictures in the areas they were taken, what gorgeous photos to have in years to come 😭

    Best wishes for the adventure in your new home, I hope you and your family make many more happy memories now that you are all living near each other again xx

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