I spent some time in the unfinished part my mom's basement this weekend with my daughter who stored her school things there for the summer. Although I am often in my mom's house and am even fairly often in her basement, I don't know that I have been in the large unfinished storage area since we moved her in nearly ten years ago.
I built the house for my parents, but my father died before they could move in. He saw the house, but never spent a single night there. In some ways it was kinder, allowing me to think of that house as my mom's house, and the house I grew up in as my parent's house. Despite the loss of my dad, it has been, I think, a happy house for my mom and for my family but it has always been Oma's house, just Oma's.
I had forgotten what was in this hidden part of the house that has become so familiar to me. Between the odds and ends of furniture, boxes of photos of my children, and my childhood bedroom set, there are boxes and boxes and boxes of my dad's books. The boxes are all opened, but not unpacked, looking for all the world like they expected that some one will come along and unpack them and find a place for them in this 'new' house any minute. Time has literally stood still in that corner of the house that has become my mother's home. For a moment I was drawn back into that time of anticipation. I was flooded with the optimism I felt when I designed the house and watched as it grew. I remembered the way I imagined my mom and my dad in this new house, in our lives in an entirely new way.
My daughter's voice brought me out of my reverie. A question I can't remember if I even answered. The spell was broken. I came back to myself, and my daughter and the task at hand. Still I felt the shadow of what might have been pulling at me until the door closed behind us, and we were back in "Oma's house."