Maps

Last week my Mom and Dad stopped by.

They were carrying armfuls of mounted maps.

The ones I grew up with

that use to hang in the family study.

I remember, the room was the color of the ocean.

They would buy them at a local shop

The neon sign inside glowed with the name "Metsker".

(Is the store still there?)

Inside, wooden flat files threatened to burst with every map imaginable.

Adventure lurked in every drawer.

Metsker Maps in Seattle’s Pike Place Market

Metsker Maps in Seattle’s Pike Place Market

The flat files in the back of the store with every map imaginable.

The flat files in the back of the store with every map imaginable.

Every Christmas, my parents would take me on a trip

For education. For fun. For escape from our small home town.

They would wrap a giant map mounted on foam core like gift.

Unwrapping the gift was like unveiling the future.

It was only then that I knew what fate had in store.

We are at a different phase of our lives now.

They are downsizing.

Retired.

I just moved into my first two bedroom home.

The most space I have ever lived in as an adult.

When they showed up at my door last week,

They brought a housewarming gift.

I instantly knew what it was.

Had they been planning this from the beginning?

The day I would inherit the maps?

We brought them to the guest room.

Mom and I decided where each one should go.

Dad tapped nails into the wall to hang them by.

My guest room felt complete.

It too was now the color of the ocean.

A photo of my guest room

A photo of my guest room

It feels good to have them in my home

They are at once both a memory and something that is very much alive.

They remind me of the importance of family, and the home I grew up in.

They remind me of where I have been, and hint at places I may go.

Most importantly, they remind me of the kind of person I want to be.

But to everyone else, they are just maps.

And that is okay.

No one will ever know the stories behind every item in my home.

But, I know that the place I live will never feel like home

until my home has a story to tell.