It was about three’ o clock in the afternoon when one of the sisters called me in from outside. The sister told me that someone would be coming to get me. After a few weeks of being at a Christian Children’s Home, it was finally time to leave. The sisters helped me with my belongings and let me say goodbye to my siblings. An hour later I got released. But little did I know this would be my last time I would ever be at a children’s home. My dad had finally filed for legal guardianship of me.
I was finally going home.
My early childhood wasn’t a typical upbringing. My mom was an alcoholic and we moved around a lot. I stayed with family members, and I was in and out of the children’s home. My adoptive dad, Duke, came into the picture when I was five. My mom and Duke married before I was born and had my older brother. They unfortunately divorced, but stayed in contact due to my brother. Years later Duke found out that I was in an out of the children’s home. After a couple of years watching me get tossed around, he finally became my legal guardian.
My childhood home wasn’t much, but it was enough. It was a small double wide that sat on a little less than two acres. It sat nestled in some trees from the main highway. Our property bordered the Cibola National Forest. You could say that was my playground. Sometimes if we had a good winter, we could see the lake from our house. My brother and I each had our own rooms and we shared a bathroom. When my dad officially brought me home, he tried to make my room more “homey.” I remember he replaced the plain white light switch cover with a dinosaur one. He even bought me a “Caution: Alyssa’s Room” sign for the door. Those small gestures went a long way. My dad bought this house and built everything around it to make it a home.
For the last four years my brother and I have been trying to sell our childhood house. Not because we don’t care, but because we do. We wanted to be able to provide someone else with the opportunity to create their own family memories. The day we officially found a buyer, I was excited. I found myself in the middle of preparing for the sale when it finally hit me like a ton of bricks. My dad had spent all of his years building a home that was now being slowly taken down. A part of me felt as if I was doing something wrong. But I had to keep reminding myself that I am in a different stage of life. It’s better to say goodbye than to let my childhood home fall apart.
Home Is More Than Just a Word
My childhood home has always been more than just a house. It was the structure my dad created for our family. My dad created an environment that was surrounded with love and support. He saved me from the destruction that could have followed living in an alcoholic environment. Although it has been four years since he has left, he leaves behind more than just a home. He leaves behind the idea of what it means to create a home.