Disclaimer: I can’t call my friend Kimmi, Kim. I really can’t. I never will. I’ve tried, but it sounds foriegn or like I’m a kid playing dress-up. Seeing her name typed “Kim” is odd. Even in my phone, it comes up “Kimmi”. Forgive me.
The last time I was at Kimmi’s parents’ house might have been eight or nine or even ten years ago. Prior to children, my years run together. They are marked by events and not the actual number. The time we saw Lenny Kravitz and sang “Lisa Bonet” was at the end of college. The time we got stuck in a snow ditch coming home from high school was middle of high-school. It was only after having children did my mind switched to the adult format of remembering things. 2005 my oldest son was born. 2009 we lost power for a very long time.
I do remember that the last time I was at Kimmi’s childhood home, her mother was alive. We sat at her kitchen table talking about life. I’m sure it was nothing earth shattering. I was too young to have actual adult issues. I probably thought they were, but that also shows my immaturity. Prior to children nothing in my life was earth shattering or I was just lucky to avoid the big issues. We sat around the table laughing and talking. She was sicker than the last time I saw her. She had already been battling cancer for far too long. But there she was at the table doing what we had done for years. And when we hugged Good-bye, I should have known it was going to be the last time. But I was too young to realize that life doesn’t play out how it does in your head. It doesn’t unfold the way you think it should. I still figured she’d always be at that table.
Her father continued to live in the house, but I never went back. Not because it was too hard or because I hated her father. I didn’t go back because life continued and we all grew up. We got married. We had children. We became full fledge adults with lives in two separate cities. This year, Kimmi’s father also lost a battle with cancer. She and her husband have decided to move back into her childhood home. They’re in the process of getting the house ready for their family. This past weekend she wanted to do some photos of her kids. I thought it’d be fun to photograph them in and around the house that would hold new memories. The house that would be the foundation of yet another fabulous family.
I was actually nervous driving on the same streets I had for years. When I pulled up, it was odd to be standing outside a house I knew almost as well as my own. One step in the house and teenage joy came flooding back. Even though the house is being renovated, little has changed. The tile, wallpaper, furniture, cabinets, and lightning fixtures all were unchanged. Sort of stuck in the moment. I’m sure that these changes are hard for Kimmi, but I also can see that she and her husband are creating a new home. And this new home will be built around the bones of a home that already contain so many loving memories. One day in the future, I can’t wait to sit around her kitchen table again. We’ll laugh and talk and try really hard to ignore actual adult issues.