*That* House


I am thankful for many things in this life, including the ability to take every breath, and I try very hard to not keep my gratitude to myself. If I am thankful for something, or someone, I work very hard to express that gratitude, because I’ve discovered that it can actually grow when you let it out.

I tell my parents “thank you” all the time. When I hear about someone hurting their children, or growing up in squalor, or some tragic story from someone else’s childhood, I thank them. They were far from perfect (because such a thing does not exist), but everything they did was in an effort to do right by each of us, and so many more. You see, I lived in *that* house, where all the kids seemed to be hanging out, where everyone knew they could go if they needed a band-aid or a sympathetic ear or even a roof over their heads, and where all the other parents would call first to find their kids.

It was sometimes frustrating, living in *that* house, because it meant I had to share my family. It could be really crowded and crazy, and there were times I wondered how the hell things got that way. But I can tell you now that I wouldn’t change it for anything.

The holidays (any holiday really) are something to behold around my parents. People with nowhere else to be at the holidays, they spent it with us, and it made being so far from our extended family a lot easier when we first moved to Colorado. But even holidays in Maryland were special, like the year half of Rockingham, North Carolina came up for Christmas (well, maybe not half, but it was definitely quieter there that year). And there are no strangers at one of our holiday gatherings. Everyone is equal, and everyone eats very well. Mom always says , “If you go away hungry, it’s only by your own fault.” And if you’re not careful, she’ll send you home with food, too.

The best part about this is that it seems to be passing on to the next generation. My brothers have never known a stranger at the holidays, and are always bringing co-workers and friends with nowhere else to go to our various events. My sister has definitely been doing a pretty good job of turning into Mom the last few years, which has also included church meal work and her recent trips into the world of the crafty mommy. And when I visit their homes, I have to stop and count to figure which kids belong somewhere else, because they seem to have *that* house in their neighborhoods, too.

So, at Christmas, when the house is bursting with people, with not a quiet spot to be found, and the laughter and love spill out into the neighborhood, I will once again be thankful for having *that* house.


  1. What a wonderful thing to be THAT house. What a blessing to the strays, what a blessing to you.

    I love you, Jenn.

  2. We lived too far in the woods to have that house. But I have definitely turned that around. I think I run that house – and I often refer to it as the zoo (among other things). I hope that you have the most fantastic holidays ever, because you and your family surely deserve it.

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