The past few weeks have been… a lot. So much so that we needed to take a little break as a team and just experience, witness, and observe to keep ourselves in the present moment. But while our corner of the world in the US was experiencing all sorts of changes and growing pains, one of our own was experiencing a personal transformation of her own. Natalie was helping her parents move out of her childhood home. This post is dedicated to that house that helped her become the woman she is today and all the memories that took place within.
Heartfelt goodbyes are never easy
Physical surroundings play such an important role in our memories. The places we choose to visit during our normal routines set the stage for our daily lives. That is why our childhood homes become such a pivotal part of the things we remember. Nothing can nurture such fond memories as the house you lived in as a child. But, when all of our early memories are tied to one place, it can be difficult to say goodbye.
Like all things, however, heartfelt goodbyes can be just as important as the years of love and care you show towards someone or something. Moving out of one’s childhood home is a universal experience, but it is also something that is deeply individualized. It is a human experience that reminds us to stop and think about the foundation of our past, something that is unique to only us.
This past summer, my family and I packed boxes upon boxes and said goodbye to the home where I was honored to grow up. As a way to cherish the beautiful memories that the house provided to me and my family, I wrote it a letter. A letter of love, appreciation, and true hope for the future.
A letter to my childhood home
Dear Childhood Home,
First and foremost, thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing me with 21 years of safety, love, and support. Thank you for being the place I could turn to in times of happiness, sadness, and everything in between. Thank you for watching over me as I grew from little girl to young woman.
Most of my early memories took place within your four walls, certainly some of my happiest memories. I used to play for hours in your basement with my sisters, our Barbies lovingly placed in their miniature world. When we got bored of Barbies, my sisters and I would play board games, sing songs, make crafts, but mostly, we would just use our imaginations – which often led us to no good. You provided us the opportunity to explore creatively in a safe environment, and for that I am forever grateful.
I remember one night, I wanted to know what would happen if I stayed up really late and explored the house when everyone was asleep. I was so excited to try something that scared me. I wanted to be a grown up. I got out of bed that night, creeped down the stairs and into the basement. I was afraid of the dark, but you taught me that the unknown isn’t as scary as I had made it up to be.
On nights when I wasn’t reading books or playing video games past my bedtime, I would share secrets and talk with my sisters. For many years, I shared a room with one of them. I miss the days where we would talk under the glow of a night light. At some point in my life, I lived in each of the three separate kid’s rooms. You provided me with a space to grow, learn, and explore not only my own identity, but also the relationships I have with my family. As I moved from bedroom to bedroom (and back), I learned something new and grew a few inches.
You were there to celebrate every milestone: when I learned how to ride a bike and crashed into the back of a parked van, when my dad surprised us with a puppy, when I got my driver’s license, when I got dressed up for dances at school, the list could go on and on. You were the place I felt safest. You were the place I turned to celebrate life’s little moments.
From the big things to the small things, you were always there. So many birthdays have been spent in your kitchen. Each candle blown out was a testament to the years within your walls. At Christmas time, your frosted windows provided the perfect space for our decorated tree. Your living room provided the warmth and comfort for family gatherings. I have so many precious memories of family members, including those I have lost, during those special moments. You were the place we all could call home.
As I say goodbye, I know that I will always carry a piece of you in my heart. From your red brick exterior to your creaky wooden floors, you will always be with me as I take my next steps. As we part ways, this is an opportunity for the both us. Soon enough you will be called home by a new family. Please be as kind to them as you were to me.
Thank you again for all of your years of support and cheers to new beginnings.