Friday, April 10, 2009

The First Goodbyes

My mother joined us for the boy’s birthday this year. This was her final trip to Atlanta as the impending move to Tampa draws closer. While she was here we visited Zoo Atlanta for the last time. We have had a membership for about 5-6 years and since my mother got us the first 3-4 years of our membership, it seemed fitting that she be there for the last. We visited the brand new baby panda, Xi Lan (Atlanta’s Joy), and his sister Mei Lan (Beautiful Atlanta) and of course their parents Lun Lun and Yang Yang. We paid our respects to the Elephant house where Dottie used to roam. We saw the elusive leopard. We only saw it one other time in the 5-6 years we were members! The children climbed the rock wall one last time and we all rode the train… one last time… We were sad to hear that 2 days after our membership was due to expire, the Parakeet Adventure was due to open.

Another goodbye (more like a “see you later”) was to our best friends who moved to New Jersey. Their whole life is being flipped around right now and I wish I could help. I keep them in my thoughts every day and hope the dust settles soon for them.

Our realtor for our Atlanta home suggested that we write a blurb with some memories and what we will miss about the home. An hour and many tears later this is what was made:

“Nine years ago the man of my dreams built me the house of my dreams. He was literally here for every day of construction. The first memory I have was meeting a neighbor while we signed the contract to purchase. She and her husband still live in our cul-de-sac. She was pregnant with her first child who is now 9 years old. We have been able to watch him grow right along with his little sister who is now 7. We met our best friends at a backyard Cinco de Mayo party that we hosted. They have since moved 3 times but are as close to us as any family members. I remember coming home from our wedding reception and parading around in the cul-de-sac in our wedding attire and being greeted by our neighbors with hugs and congratulations. Both of our children were born while we were here and the neighbors in our cul-de-sac greeted us immediately when we came home from the hospital. I will miss the love and kindness by our neighbors who not only threw us a baby shower and decorated our front door for the arrivals of our newborns, but also brought us a meal every night for 2 weeks each time we grew our family. I will miss the original “playgroup” of which 5 of the 8 children still remain. I will miss the annual 4th of July parade that we have participated in the last 8 years and will also miss later in the day when every neighbor comes out of their homes at dusk and congregates their chairs in the streets to see the fireworks at Wills Park. I will miss the Association BBQ to kick off the opening of the pool every summer and the monthly “Girl’s Night Out” dates. I will miss having the babysitter 2 homes down who we watched grow from elementary school. As our first home, it holds many endearing memories and my only wish is it will hold many more to come.”

I sent this to many of my family and friends that I thought would enjoy it. What I got back was a flood of responses with THEIR memories and what they will miss. And the tears came again.

There will be many more goodbyes before our departure and I do not pretend it will be easy. But as I sit here at my new Honda dealership in Tampa waiting for my car to be finished I know this is my new home and I am happy. I will enjoy being close to family once again. I will LOVE being near the beach…. Again… I will soon fall in love with my new kitchen, and pool, and I will make new friends AND get to keep the ones I have already. Now, someone buy my Atlanta house ;)


Susan Quilty said...

Oh, PJ. This is such a lovely post! Transitions are always hard, but it's wonderful to see the way you are appreciating the old while looking forward to the new.

I think the bit you wrote for your Realtor is wonderful. Homes are such intimate parts of our lives and I believe the new owners will enjoy knowing that their home was previously filled with such love and happiness.

Octavia said...

Welcome to Florida! I hope you come to enjoy it hear as much as you did your home in Atlanta. :)

amy cohen-huffine said...

Well done, PJ. Made me tear up. We are going to miss you so :(

I am happy that you are moving to such a lovely place, though. And, I am quite certain you will have lovely memories with lovely neighbors in your new house in the future.