The song sat at number one on the country music charts for four weeks. Today, it remains on the charts at number six, a record this year for singles of this genre. The lyrics, which begin, “I know they say you can’t go home again, I just had to come back one last time, Ma’am I know you don’t know me from Adam, but these handprints on the front steps are mine,” will bring a tear to your eye. The House That Built Me, performed by Miranda Lambert and written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin will conjure up the warmest memories in the hardest of souls.
Last spring I had to move my daughters out of the only home they ever knew because we were broke. We had gone through our savings and even cleaned out our retirement accounts in a vain attempt to stay in our house. After the short sale was approved reality finally set in; our only affordable living option was a small rental home six miles to the east in a new school district. It would be my oldest daughter’s third school in three years.
As we unpacked the boxes and got settled in I came to the realization that home is not a place, it is a state of mind. Home is where your family and stuff are. The memories are portable. My wife, daughters and I quickly adjusted because the people inside the four walls, the pictures, the blankets, toys, furniture, books, dishes, and treadmill (I should have left that at the old house) were all the same.
We miss certain things about our old house. With temperatures peaking at 112 degrees this past week the pool tops the list. The park within walking distance is another. But, these are features. Our new neighborhood has features too that my girls love, like the tunnel we ride our bikes underneath on the way to the nearby park.
If you are clinging to a home you can’t afford (the payment is too high, you are upside down, or both) because you have an emotional attachment, it is time to let go. Your child may have handprints on the front steps and their favorite dog buried in the yard. Maybe they learned to walk in the living room or ride a bike in the driveway. The good news is you can bring these memories with you, along with the Time magazine collection and treadmill that weighs 900 lbs.
Most importantly, you will no longer be burdened financially and can avoid becoming the subject of the next big country hit I plan to write called The House that Broke Me.