We currently live in an idyllic neighborhood and I mean one that rivals Mayberry. We know every neighbor by their first name. We know their kids and the schools they attend. We know which dogs belong to whom. It is a neighborhood where both doors and hearts are wide open and everyone seems to find the time to simply connect. Often, Jay and I will be on a walk when a neighbor will push their front door wide open just to say "Hello!"
Needless to say, it is not going to be easy to say "Goodbye".
This realization hit me a few weeks ago as our eldest daugther, Emmie (20), packed up her room at the end of her winter break. As Emmie placed her belongings into boxes, the memories of her childhood rushed to greet her. It is no surprise that there would be tears...Leaving something so special behind is hard.
Jay and I were waiting to bring her to the airport and heard her as she walked down the same stairs she had run down so many times as child, a teenager and now a young woman. I heard the familiar sound of her steps and then a big pause. She took a deep breath and as she turned the corner, the tears came. Jay and I wrapped our arms around her, in tears ourselves and tried to comfort her with the only words we could find, "we know sweetie, we know."
We have raised four children in this wonderful neighborhood full of families. Within seconds of opening the back door, Emmie could be eating pancakes with Katie at the Friedlander's kitchen counter or building a fort made out of sticks in their back yard. If she wasn't at the Fried's house, you could find her sitting by the fire at the Holden's, indulging in Ellie's home baked goods with Abbey. (And let's not forget her first kiss in the woods, otherwise known by the kids as "the village"!)
It won't be long before Jack (18), Miles (15) and Ruby (13) have to say their goodbyes and Ruby has been pointing out an abundance of "lasts" for quite some time now...Mom, that was the last time I will walk over to Josie's house." I couldn't help but picture the thousands of times Ruby has walked or pedaled her way over to the Lacombe's.
For Jack and Miles it will be good-bye to our yard that served as a make-shift battle field for a pretend army as well as a great snow mobile trail! They will miss the memories they created with Jack Holden, like the makeshift yard sale they held out of their red flyer wagon, halloween nights with Emmett and the rest of the neighborhood boys. The countless dips in the Holden's pool. They will all remember lunch bunch, bike rides on the trail, swimming at the Wyer's and night games with the entire neighborhood.
Needless to say, there was never a dull moment for any of the kids growing up, TOGETHER on Heathcote!
And, of all the things to miss, Jack will surely miss our driveway most of all! Asphalt? Yes! But, to a kid growing up loving the game of hockey, that driveway has served as the ice during the final game of the Stanley cup - with roaring crowds cheering him on as he scores the winning goal!
So many beautiful moments in our children's lives...I am so full of gratitude. Next week, the rest of us will say our goodbyes and I'm sure there will be tears. But for now, I want to embrace the memories and the love and affection we have had for this neighborhood and its families.
I want to say... THANK YOU, HEATHCOTE!!
Sixteen years ago, we arrived as a couple of twenty-somethings with then a small family. We were enamored with the 4th of July parades, the ice-cream socials and the 100% participation of the street lined Christmas luminaries. We found comfort in the daily sights and sounds of the neighborhood...Dogs barking, kids biking, swinging, laughing. We were the youngest couple in the hood and you, our neighbors, unconditionally invited us, one by one, into your book club, ornament exchanges, tool exchanges (remember those?)...Your homes and your hearts. You showed us what good parenting looked like. You taught us how to "keep" a home and the true meaning of "neighbor!"
We have fallen madly in love with the beautiful families of Heathcote...And for this, we will be forever grateful. Thank You.
14 years ago, we built a white picket fence that spans the whole yard to keep our kids safe. Every year since, I have taken pictures of the kids in front of this fence...I'd say "get in front of the fence," and they would all moan and groan. Thankfully, they appeased their mom just one last time.