When I was a girl I remember reading a book in which the narrator in the story spoke about being measured yearly against the kitchen door. He spoke of running his hand over the carved marks on that weathered doorway and the sense of home and belonging it brought. Year after year another line was added, marking the passing of time as he grew from child to adult.
That mental image stuck with me and I found the idea of measuring the passage of time and the passing of years with permanent, lasting marks on the wall of one’s home, appealing.
As a child who lived an Army brat’s life of frequent moves and many homes, I think the idea of living in one place long enough to record the passing years seemed especially novel.
For our family “home” was not a place but rather a feeling and connection we brought with us from state to state. Which is all fine and good but doesn’t allow for yearly, physical measurements on a wall.
When my kids were little we too went through a few moves before we found permanency. It was through God’s grace that we stumbled across our little plot of heaven tucked down a dirt road. We spent 13 months laboring nightly and every Saturday with the help of a few close friends and family, to build our dream home on that plot of land.
We were so thrilled by the dream of building the home we had dreamt of, designed, and worked toward for so long, that we found ourselves marking it with our personal touches of love. Toby let the kids color on the backs of the new kitchen cabinets with Sharpies before they were installed against the walls of the kitchen, knowing that decades from now, when children are gone, and the kitchen is worn and needing updated, the thrill we would feel when we pulled those pieces of wood from the wall.
Handprints were laid in the wet cement of the basement and our initials were carved into the beams of the fireplace… all touches marking this building as our home.
It was the year we moved into our home that we began our annual tradition of measuring the kids against the hallway wall.
We usually do this on Valentine’s Day but because of unforeseen circumstances this year, we weren’t able to do it in February, so it was done this past Sunday, in between General Conference sessions.
The kids eagerly look forward to this annual reckoning. With the new marks on the wall come bragging rights for those who have experienced the greatest growth in the last 12 months, and moans from those whose marks haven’t moved.
As the kids get older the spaces between each year’s marks seems to get smaller and smaller.
The kids also get a kick out of comparing their heights at certain ages with their older siblings’ marks at the same age. It is interesting to note the patterns of growth and get an idea of who…in the end… will be our tall kids and who will remain our pint sized kiddos.
Good news…everyone grew.
But for some that growth was measured with a magnifying glass.
Grace’s mark is only centimeters above last year, but at 19 what do you expect? 🙂