And a cabin is just a cabin?
A cabin is NOT the people in the cabin or the memories in the cabin and it's not even the food in the cabin. It's just the cabin. Walls and floors and wiring. Nothing more.
Within the next couple of days my mom will close on the selling of our family cabin. I've never bought or sold a major piece of property so I really have no idea what it entails, but it sounds like it involves a lot of papers and some signatures and shuffling of funds and some more signatures and then it's all done. What was once our haven to relax and spend time and run away together now belongs to someone else. The keys get changed and if I show up for a weekend I am now trespassing on someone else's property.
What was once our family cabin is no longer our family cabin.
The reasons for selling the cabin are many. Within a few years the whole thing was going to need to be re-stained, a massive job. In the winter the pipes often froze and caused several headaches worth of damage. We didn't use it enough to justify how much money we spent on it. The property taxes were out the wazoo.
So when my mom told her eight kids that she was thinking of selling it, we were supportive.
That doesn't mean it was easy when she accepted an offer on it.
Mostly it was hard because it was a piece of my dad- a huge, honking piece of my dad and now it is gone. Death is weird in that you lose the person all at once, and then you lose them again- in remembrances of the person slowly, over time, while you're desperately trying to still hang on. The first remembrance piece was lost a few months after my dad died when we had to put the dog down, Red. The biggest piece was when my mom sold my house and moved from the town I grew up in.
And so the pieces have gone. Some big, some small, but they keep going.
The cabin was a big piece.
My dad put his heart and soul into that cabin. It was his dream. He literally built the thing himself. We all did. I spent countless weekends and spring breaks and summer vacations caulking logs, painting walls, laying tile, staining wood. My brothers sanded every single log with a small electric sander. They even did the sheetrock themselves. Heck, my dad would have done the plumbing if only someone would have told him how and given him the right tool. In Jr. high and high school the word "cabin" struck absolute dread in my heart, for I knew it meant a weekend away from friends and countless hours of work. It took almost five years to get that sucker completed.
We never expected my dad to die so young, and so I suppose we never expected to sell the cabin so soon. But he did and we did and life marches on.
Now, as I look back on the pictures I must remind myself of why the cabin has meant so much to me over the years. It's not because of the cabin, it's because of what it symbolizes. Fun and faith and friends and work and love.
Mostly family. So many memories of my parents and siblings and 16 nieces and nephews filling the cabin up with laughter and games and always, always, always food.
So as I prepare to say goodbye to the cabin I will remind myself over and over again that it was never about the cabin. Never about the logs or the tile or the ping pong table. It was about the people that I love more than anything in this world.
And that's something that will never be taken away from me.