55 years.  

That is how long my mom's family has been lucky enough to have a house on a lake. When making this sign a few weeks back I was thinking a ton about how lucky our family was to have LIVED OUR LIVES at the lake....



When my Grama and Papa bought it all those years ago it was to be a 2nd home.... a lake cottage.... only about 2.7 miles from their home to be used in the summer months to boat and fish. Most people drive hours to "get away" from the hustle and bustle. Nope. Not them... they escaped very close by.  

But little did they know, at the time, that 55 years later there would be so many amazing memories made at their cottage. So many, that it was hard to say good bye to.....

Last week Gram and Papa's house was sold to an out of town buyer. Gram passed away 5 1/2 years ago and it has been for sale all this time. I know that it has been stressful for her children to have it sit on the market, but I {and pretty sure I am not the only one who feels this way} am grateful for those years.  It was like closure at a snail's pace. Ripping off a band-aid super slow. But....even at that it was brutal to walk out that door, with the stained glass window and lace curtains, for the last time. As I opened the door I looked back at the huge floor to vaulted ceiling windows with an unforgettable view of Lake Mendota. Then I walked out the door.... and away from the place that held so many memories.......... and bawled like a baby. 


Why was this house so special?  After all....
It is just a building.
It was just a little cottage, originally, with uneven floors that I have been told I learned to walk on.
It was just a 2 bedroom home with wall-to-wall-to-ceiling knotty pine.  

Why? Because it was the place where everything happened in our family. There was no "just a.." about this home. 

This home had years and years of....
wine drinking
Christmas ham dinners
white elephant gift games
water skiing
summer shorelines
ice skating & broom ball games
watching Cub games and Hogan's Heroes
grilled chicken with the special sauce
chocolate chip cookies

All of these things were the very life of this house. They helped to provide an energy and tangible foundation for what our family was... and is. I have met many people's families over the years. All are wonderful in their own way. But, I feel {and probably am incredibly biased in this feeling) that my mom's family is something quite extraordinary. Ask anyone who comes to be a part of this family... whether by birth, marriage or friendship.... all our welcomed and loved. We are all very different but we were taught.... and more importantly shown by example... to love others more than you love yourself. It doesn't matter what our differences are.... if we are Cubs fans or Brewers fans, Democrats or Republicans, Christians or Atheists, Red Wine or Bloody Mary .....we are family. The love runs deep in this brood.  


So, the sadness that is felt with the loss of this special place, is palpable. I have done plenty of thinking in the past fews weeks as we enjoyed Gram and Papa's house for a few "last time"s. I kept asking myself this question...

Now what?
What will our family do now without our hub for gathering?
Where will the next 55 years of memories be made?


My Gram liked to label things in her house... especially the light switches. Taped to every switch were little pieces of paper with the description of what that specific switch was for...written in her own handwriting. "Kitchen sink", "Hallway", "Ceiling fans", etc.
We used to make fun of her for this....but OH HOW GRATEFUL I am that she did.


As we left for the last time last week, these labels were still covering most switch plates. I decided to peel one off and keep it. It was at the door to her bedroom. It was a bright green paper {very similar to her favorite color lime green}. My sister also scraped one off to keep for herself. We both have placed them on switches in our own homes now. It is interesting which ones we got.....



"Leave this switch in 'on' position- always" and "MAIN LIGHT SWITCH"


The energy I talked about earlier that came from this house for our family.... was due to Grama and Papa showing us to keep the main thing the main thing and keep it "on" at all times.  What is that?  




The main switch is LOVE. The Sweeneys have a crazy, extraordinary, holy moly kind of love!!  It's that same love I told you about earlier that doesn't see the differences in each other.... the same love that welcomes new people with open arms from the first minute they walk into a family gathering. If we, the next generation of Sweeneys, can keep LOVE as our main thing and in the on position then I have no doubt that we will find a new set of memories for the next 55 years. Because it isn't about the place...it is about the people. And this family is full of loving people.  


Thanks Gram and Papa for turning on the main light switch... and keeping it in the on position for all those years.

We will do our best to keep it lit.... always.


May you be lucky enough to live at the lake (or wherever you live).
May you draw energy from the lights in your home.
May you recognize what your main light switch is.
May you keep it on..... always. 




June 20, 2014 — Sarah Stevens

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