As life demands it of us, we have to take care of things. Such as taking an old and cherished thing and giving it a fresh coat of paint even if your heart isn’t ready to.

For instance, we have this old porch that wraps around the front of our house. In fact, it was this porch that sold us on this place 17 years ago.

It’s worn and growing older, just like me and my husband. It has endured the knees of chubby toddlers learning to crawl, the worried paces of a mother settling a baby with croup in the crisp, night air. It’s suffered scars from skateboards and roller blades, skipping ropes and wrestling teenagers.

If I close my eyes, I can hear the sounds that live inside those memories, all performed atop these wooden boards that became our makeshift stage for life: The advice doled out to tear-stained cheeks, the arguments preceding slammed doors, dropped ice cream cones and the exuberant dog that cleaned up after them, thunderstorms clapping for giggling bundles in patchwork quilts. Every one of those moments, I can hear.  All at once, it’s a hurtful, beautiful symphony.

But it’s in disrepair, so we took care of it. We rolled a fresh coat of brilliant white right over all those years.

I bet this porch wonders where those little feet went off to in such a hurry, yet it still promises life: A husband and wife rocking in its chairs as they plan travel adventures and serve drinks to lifelong friends, the porch swing lulling us into the pages of good books, the laughter as we remember and celebrate our journey so far, the love this porch will feel when grown kids come to visit.

It does look perfect, this gleaming unweathered version and it seems ready to endure new memories. I think we might be ready too; ready for a future that holds stories untold, exciting landscapes and unexplored horizons.

So change is good. New is good. Perhaps we are ready to take that step into the great beyond where no little ones are trailing us. This newly painted porch is inspiring change, urging us to take on the dreams we’ve been planning through the years and it sure does give a nice shine.

But if we look closely, there are still dents and scrapes the paint just couldn’t fill and I know that underneath this pristine coat of new beginnings, our porch is still the same wonderfully, scarred surface.

And that’s good too.