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It’s good to go back there.

Leaving home en route to nuptials 20 years ago, I lamented how surreal it felt. As we sat in the limousine outside the house, my dad told me that I could come back and visit any time. He said I didn’t have to turn in my house key. Even when my parents got a new front door, they handed new keys to me and my sisters.

Home. A familiar place. Walk into a room and memories flood the mind. Even heading up the walkway to the front door elicits myriad moments.

It happened Monday evening (Nov. 13, 2017) as I ventured to the homestead to pick up my children. They spent their day off from school with Nana and Pa-Pa while mom worked. Already approaching 8 p.m., stars glowed in the mostly clear, dark sky. The air had that late-autumn scent — dried leaves and damp wood thanks to recent showers.

Getting out of the car and trekking up the walkway, I glanced heavenward and inhaled that autumn air. It felt so refreshing, familiar and, despite the chill, warm. Growing up outside of the bright lights of town, it was nice on those late evenings — summer or fall, but especially the former — to kick back, relax and enjoy the starry skies. There were summer nights where we also swam under the stars. Good times.

My son greeted me with a big hug as I walked in the front door. My daughter and youngest sister sat on the couch, and my dad came around the corner from the kitchen. Lights, TV, warmth and the smell of a scented burning candle. Ah, more good times and memories rekindled.

Of course, I make a home for my children, but it’s nice every once in a while to return to where I spent my childhood, teen years and three years post-college. I’m blessed to still have the opportunity to go there to relive memories and make new ones with family and friends.