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Do you hear that? Six-year-old me loved to hear those noises because I knew something big was happening. But before all of the noises came into play, all I saw was this…
Both my mother and father were determined to fulfill their dream of building their own home into the one they had always imagined. My older sister, Dominica, and I were granted the opportunity to watch this piece of land be transformed into what we call our home today.
Let me take you through the journey I was lucky enough to be a part of. First, I watched a power shovel dig the nutritious soil up. Scoop. Dump. Scoop. Dump. Some debris fell throughout the process. I knew these construction workers were well equipped for this job due to the hard, vigorous, and seamless work they partook in almost every day. Sometimes I talked to them while they worked. Looking back on my memories, I was most definitely distracting them. I soon developed a friendship with these men. They taught me the process they were doing called excavating.
Then, I watched as large cement blocks transformed into the foundation of my soon-to-be home.
As a six-year-old child, I never understood the importance of the cement foundation blocks. Now I realize that –just like in any relationship, project, building, or house– a foundation was essential for supporting the weight of the structure and the wide array of obstacles it may come to face. Because my house was built behind a canal in Hampton, Virginia, the foundation had to be substantial enough to survive floods and strong winds that triumphantly follow hurricanes. My house endured many of these tropical catastrophes, and to this day it hasn’t been damaged, thanks to the construction men making my home firm and sturdy.
The next process consisted of laying down baseboards and constructing the structure of our house using a forklift.
Everyday after school I came “home” to the only home I knew, but I still found myself eager to go see the project that marked the beginning of my family’s new adventure.
As you can see, my sister and I were thrilled to observe the hard work the constructors put in for my family. By this time, the workers adored my sister and I so much that they allowed us to ride in their forklift even though their boss wouldn’t be happy about it due to safety reasons. We rode as high as the forklift could take us. I could see everything.
Before I knew it, my new home was fully constructed.
It initially struck me as odd that this place was meant to be my new home. In the beginning, it was just empty rooms with blank walls. It felt lonely and hollow, but I soon came to realize that a new start, with a blank slate, was not necessarily a bad thing. As my family began furnishing the house, with all new appliances and furniture, I slowly began settling in. I awed at the brand new granite counters and the soft couch that still smelled like the furniture store. I became overjoyed at the realization that I could paint my room whatever color I wanted and have a brand new bedroom setup. As I grasped at the opportunity to have my room redefined, my definition of home changed too. I realized that a home is not the four walls and ceiling you grow up in, rather it’s the place that is filled with love and family and growth. We moved into our new home a month after my baby sister was born, and watching her grow up there has solidified the notion that this is my home, my family’s home. It will always be the place I come back to on breaks, and the place I hope to bring my future children to for holidays and family gatherings. What once seemed like an absurd project has transformed into something I now can’t imagine being without. This was how my transition from my childhood house to my parents’ dream house redefined the meaning of home to me. This transition between places also caused a change in meaning for me and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to watch my home be built before my eyes.
liliangorini. construction.mp3. Creative Commons License; retrieved from https://freesound.org/people/liliangorini/sounds/63868/