If you knew my family growing up, you knew that our house was never empty. From Tate and I having play dates in graded school, to sleep overs in middle school, the parties in high school, and dinners and get togethers as we got older. Oh boy, if our house and garage could talk the stories they could tell. Every night when mom was making dinner she always made more because she expected either people were over or were coming over. But that is what she loved. She loved having a house full of kids.
You may have come to our house one time or a million times but no matter the number you felt at home right away. Mom’s key words to any new person who walked in, “Hi, I’m Mama Swartz, make yourself at home because we don’t wait on people here”, then they would go to shake her hand and she’d go “no I’m a hugger, bring it in”. She didn’t make our house feel like a house she made it feel like a home to anyone who walked in, she always had an open door policy. I guess this is why she got the title of “community mom”.
In high school it definitely became “the spot”. From parties down in the camper at the pond, to the “man cave” in the garage, to the basement, or just sitting around the living room. She knew what it was like to be that age. It was a trust built relationship of boundaries and we knew how fortunate we were to have that and knew not to cross those boundaries… well for the most part. 😉
As we got older and my brother started a career in the military and I started college the house was pretty quiet. Though when we came home for breaks it was just like old times. Everyone would get back together right in our home. The same home we built so many memories in back in high school and were continuing to build when we reunited. The home that mom welcomed anyone and everyone. And now that we’re older, she always welcomed them with a shot of Patron. It was always the place we all looked forward to going back to, to go have dinner, party, hang out and just reunite with old friends.
Now, I’m suppose to go to Vermont for Christmas. At first I was very against this idea. I can’t go back to my home so what is the point of going? Why do I want to go back to a place that I can’t even sleep in my old bedroom or hang out in my living room? As I talked more to my grandparents, I couldn’t leave them alone on Christmas, especially our first one without mom. I talked with friends and family. I became more accepting to it and am actually starting to get excited to see everyone.
Once I started to accept it and be happy about it I kept getting the question from multiple people. “Where are you staying? You know you are more than welcome to stay here”. As fortunate as I am to have that many people care about me, I’m also like, well fuck me. Yup, I have to be asked that question now because I don’t have my home to stay in. I’ve joked with multiple friends, saying “I’m couch hopping how comfy is your couch?!”, but that’s me just hiding my pain through sarcasm. I try to make as much light of the situation as I can. I’m going there with no plan on where, when, and who I’m staying with because I know I can stay anywhere. And as happy and fortunate as I am to have all these friends and family to stay with, it’s not the place I want to stay.
Last night, Brit and I are Facetiming till 3am and I was like I just need a night just to have drinks like old times, with old friends, let loose and reminisce. It didn’t take us long to realize that we wont have the typical place to do that anymore. We couldn’t just have the crew back at the Swartz house one night to get together like old times and mom make up a big dinner. It stopped us in our conversation. We both got upset, but then started talking about all the memories we did have there and somethings mom would say that just got us to laughing.
“Brit puked, cleanup on aisle 7”
“Give me your keys (in a mean voice) okay have a great night! (in a totally happy voice).
“Who’s ready for some shots?!”
“Family before friends because real friends are family”
“How many am I cooking for?”
“Taylor and Bailey I said you could have 20 not 200, really guys?”
“Why is there golf cart tire marks through my flowers?”
So now we think oh ya when we go up in a couple weeks we will just have to find a different place to drink and get together which sucks, but not a huge deal. Then Brit goes, but we don’t have our 24/7 on call DD anymore. I can’t count the number of times we called mom at 3am to come pick us up somewhere. She always did it every time, no hesitation, no question. It all so different. Its all not fair.
It’s not fair to all of her kids, not just Tate and I, but also my friends, Tate’s friends, friends of friends, etc. we all have to suffer this. We all have to go this Holiday Season and the rest with no more get togethers at the Swartz House, no more Mama Swartz’s dinners, no more of her special jello shots, no more of her hugs, or sarcastic remarks, or words of wisdom. We just have to remember the good and be thankful for what we did have. I know these are little things that I’m upset about but these are the things that made mom, mom. The best way to help the hurt of this was to look back at photos and all the memories in that home with everyone. Whether she was in them or not, she still helped us make them.
I have to say Thank You. The only way I am getting through this shitty time is by remembering all the memories good, bad, and hilarious ones from the dinners to the parties and get togethers at our house and the things mom would say and do. They help lessen the pain and make little smiles come through. So thank you to everyone who has a part in the making those memories. The other big part that’s helping me get through this is the army behind me. Whether you’re one of my people I have on the front lines that I talk to almost everyday or someone chilling back at base, I know you’re all there. Having that sense of “family” behind me is what gets me to a point where I am excited to come back and see family and friends. It’s sure going to be different and it wont be all great, but I am fortunate to have the people that I have to make it the most of what it can be. So thank you.
Fly High My Angel Fly High
~Your Baby Girl