This past weekend we did the annual ritual of packing away Christmas at our house. I am always amazed at how much faster and easier it is to disassemble Christmas than it is to put it into place. What had taken most of a day to get just right took just a couple hours to tear down and pack away, each piece in it's appropriate storage container.

To me, it's 'our house' because I inherited it as part of the package which included my then new wife, her 2 girls and the house she got in the divorce settlement. That was 15 years ago and it's still not my home. Home is the place you grow into, just as the bloom grows from the flower, inextricably part of the whole. I didn't buy this house, nor did I contribute to its early store of memories, so I am an addition, somewhat like the furniture. I don't think this place will ever be home because for me, it simply can't become what it isn't.

For our kids, the 2 girls she had before my appearance on the scene and our son who came along after our marriage, the house is home. It's what they've always known, what they grew up with, grown into. It's the warehouse of most of their domestic memories. It's the scent of frying bacon, the taste of hot biscuits, the smell of the coffee perking. It's the chores of feeding the dogs and the goldfish. It's where they lay in bed on those still muggy summer nights, listening to the distant rumble of thunder. It's where they played in the snow, in the rain, in the mud. It's where they got their knees scrubbed, got their boo-boos fixed and kissed, where they brought their first broken hearts for mending. It's the training ground for the time when they go forth and establish a home, taking with them the knowledge they've accumulated.

I watched my wife going about, packing, looking at particular decorations and as always we played "remember when we got this" decoration and how it tied into a particular time in our lives. I watched her, watched her unfailing cheerfulness and the fun she and the kids were having. The kids, both being teenagers, tried their best to appear like it wasn't fun, but I saw through their act. I saw that as they listened to the stories that we told of our childhood Christmases from so long ago that they did really listen. I watched as my wife performed magic, that delicate, incredibly valuable magic, of weaving the memories that our kids will carry into their tomorrows, to fall perhaps into the tiny ears of children we have yet to meet and love. I watched my wife create yesterdays for our kids...and for a time I was home again.

Submitted for E2 Quest: More Than Walls