2013 Christmas Challenge: Day #27…My Visit With Christmas Past

I had an idea…my husband didn’t think it was a very good one.

“They might think you’re a stalker or something.”  The hubs: aka, my reality check.

But I really wanted to do this; I needed another opinion, a tie breaker.

Enter my official advice giver, my mom.

I picked up the phone, explained my idea, and asked what she thought…and just as I had hoped, she loved it.

Sorry, honey…looks like we’re taking a little road trip.

So here was my plan:

I bought a poinsettia and was going to leave it on a front porch.  But not just any front porch.  My old front porch.

IMG_6562I was going to do a drive-by visit to my childhood home–the house where I grew up.

I lived in the house from the day I was born until I was 12 years old and I’ve always wondered about it–who lives there now…does it look the same?

I wrote a simple note that I planted in the flowers:

“I grew in this house years ago and have so many great memories living here.  I hope this Christmas brings the same to you.”

I wasn’t going to knock on the door or ring the bell…my plan was to just put these flowers on the front porch as a fun surprise and leave.

But like I’ve said before…sometimes the most amazing things happen when they don’t go as planned.

Turns out, I was the one who was about to get the surprise.

My husband was driving, the kiddos were in the back seat.

I quickly hopped out of the car and walked up to the front of the house; I couldn’t help but think about the millions of times I had walked through that door as a little girl.

I quietly set the flowers on the bench….

and then it happened.

The front door opened!

I was shocked.

The man who opened the door was shocked.  “May I help you?” 

Busted.

“I’m so sorry–I didn’t mean to bother you.  I used to live here years ago.”  I explained my kindness challenge and how I wanted to just wish them a Merry Christmas.

He smiled and took the flowers.

“Would you like to come in for a minute to see the house?”

Now I realize going inside a house of a total stranger doesn’t sound like a very safe idea…but I couldn’t resist.  So just like I did a million times before, I walked through the front door…and was inside the house I had once called home.

He gave me a quick tour.  I got to see my old kitchen and while it was decorated differently, I could perfectly picture my kitchen table sitting in the corner and eating dinner with my family.  Then we went upstairs–it’s nearly impossible to describe my emotions as I stood in my childhood bedroom.  Today a teenage girl lives there–the walls that were once covered in giraffes are now decorated with movie posters.

I followed him down to the basement where there are two additional family rooms.

My eyes started watering.

They had the room set up JUST like it was nearly 25 years ago.  In an instant, time had hit the rewind button and I saw my childhood–hosting sleepovers with my friends, playing Barbies with my sisters, my birthday parties.  The Christmas tree was set up just like it was for us–and I could imagine my sisters and I screaming for joy gathered underneath it opening all of our presents.

It. was. awesome.

I looked at the man, trying not to cry–it was overwhelming.  I wasn’t expecting this, never imagined I’d be able to be inside these walls again.  “Thank you so much.  You have no idea what this means to me–you have given me the best Christmas gift.”

And I love what he said in response:

“I don’t know why I decided to go and check for my mail right at the moment when I did; I was home all day.  Do you believe in fate?  I think we were supposed to meet.”

Yes, I think we were.

Here’s one of the things I’ve learned about kindness: there will always be a reason not to do it.  You’ll worry how the act of kindness will be viewed.  You’ll second guess yourself.  You’ll wonder if the timing is right.

But I believe you should follow your heart.

Today I learned that kindness has the power to open incredible doors…including the front door to my childhood home.

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One thought on “2013 Christmas Challenge: Day #27…My Visit With Christmas Past

  1. My happiest memories of that house was bringing each of my babies home there. I remember us making shadows while we were waiting for the bus to pick each of you up for school, you and your friends discovering make-up, the California Raisin dancing around the house, an obstacle course setup in the backyard, and laughter. You and your sisters supplied the much needed laughter in my life during many of those years. Now that’s kindness.

    LU

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