Last week it became official, my husband and I sold our house and moved from the street where we have lived for 19 years. We are not retiring, far from it. In fact, the possibilities seem endless in our new turf on the east side of Seattle.
Yet having to pack up and move away from our next door neighbors has been hard on everyone. They are the family that we have watched grow from ages 5, 3, 0 to 18, 16, 12. They welcomed me into their lives and invited me to attend everything from school plays and art shows, to the new school year Open House (You should have seen the principal's puzzled face when I introduced myself as "the neighbor," as if all neighbors come to meet the children's teachers.)
We baked apple pies on Halloween (Trick or Pie) and one year I taught a jewelry making badge for the Girl Scouts. We invented an annual one-house Garden Walk and I helped with early morning French Braids and craft projects whenever I could. We had fun together every chance we got and they were always curious to come in the house and see what new art project I was working on. Their mother felt like a sister to me, sharing honest moments and coming to my rescue when I needed it most. Their father was always willing to stand on the street and chat. No hurry, no rush; offering help as I methodically packed up our entire life.
We have spent a lot of time together over the years and they gave me the incredibly thoughtful gift of a charm bracelet to represent our major sources of fun. A cupcake for all of the baking, a flower pot for the Garden Walk and time spent in the garden, a pumpkin for spending so many Halloweens together, a slice of pie for our Trick or Pie tradition and a teapot for the impromptu parties we held.
I told them that we will see each other again and for now, their job is to teach the new neighbors moving in (with children ages 7, 10 and 12) what I taught them. I said, "Show them just how much fun it is to live on Roseglen Court."
And then I hugged them too many times and cried a little too. Because even though it is not goodbye, I will miss the little moments that you can only have when you are a neighbor.