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Trying to say goodbye

| Wednesday, April 29, 2020

My year was upended even before coronavirus took away what remained of our semester and our sense of security. I found out my family is moving this summer from Wisconsin to Texas. Now I know I’m in college and I spend less and less time at home anyway. But I mostly grew up in Wisconsin, it’s a part of who I am and I truly love the place more than I ever realized. We are listing our house this week and had to write up a little something about why we love it, in the hopes of enticing the next family to take up residence. Getting to spend this unexpected time at home, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what this place has meant to me, and wanted to share a little about how hard it will be to say goodbye. 

Our house is beautiful. Yes, it has a lovely shaded front porch with a swing that catches the summer morning sun just right. The bright orange front doors greets the street with the same friendliness that each of the neighbors will greet you as you walk by. The rooms inside are lovely and well cared for. But it’s more than that. This house has been a home in every sense of the word and that has made it beautiful too. As if some of the ferocity with which we have loved it has sunk into the walls. 

Standing sentinel outside, the street lamp lit our childhoods — a place where neighborhood children could gather and play games late into the night, away from the surveying eyes of parents crowded around a fire in the back. It was our barometer too, its low glow showing us the particular gleam of falling snow on a cozy winter night.  

On those same nights, we could gather around the fireplace, the cornerstone of the living room. Seldom was there a movie watched or a family holiday held where it didn’t spill heat merrily into the house. It warms every corner, filling the space with its own special light. 

Sunny afternoons bring light streaming in through the back windows. The big sliding door opens to the secret eden of the backyard and in the summer, if left standing open, lets deep wafts of lilac and fresh cut grass steep the air. The house is perfumed with life — sweet and soft. And as those sunny days wane, you can watch the sun sink slowly over the roofs of the neighbors, bathing the house in hues of gold and honey.   

Each room upstairs has its own special light and tenor, some warmed by the glow of the sunrise, others within earshot of music from the piano downstairs, and still others shaded by the maples trees in the front and back — they are so big now! The sanctuary each room provided for its inhabitants ensured their welfare, keeping them lively and fresh.

I can feel my soul distilled into each little touch in my room, from the particular tilt of a picture frame to the placement of a book or the pencils scattered throughout every inch, just in case you’d need one. The bulletin board filled with wonderful and tragic mementos, like the Under the Sea homecoming dance ticket and pictures from my 15th birthday. 

There is little you could say we didn’t love about this place, and if there was something, we have come to love it through the course of our lives here. It is a beautiful house, taken care of everyday by those of us who made our home within it, who filled it with life and light and love laughter. 

It will be so hard to say goodbye. But I’m lucky in a way to have gotten this extra time, to realize just what a mark our home has made on me. It will be hard to say goodbye, but at least I know will finally be time for a new adventure.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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