You've been part of my entire existence; in fact, your construction was completed before I even entered the world. You welcomed me with open arms the day I was brought home from the hospital. You witnessed my first slumber, bath, and cries as a newborn. You coached me to say my first word, and take my first steps. You watched me live an amazing childhood and a wonderful adolescence.
Beyond your walls, you behold the secrets of my family. You've heard our laughs, seen our family traditions, and embraced our quirks. You've probably felt alarmed when we were going through rough times. You endured the physical weight of bringing a puppy into the picture.
Although you may have gone through cosmetic changes throughout the years, every time I walk in I still get the same feeling. You've made me feel like I have a safe haven - a place to clear my head. A place to protect me from the sorrows and bitterness that the outside world can put upon you. A place to inspire ambition, innovation, and creativity.
I can remember spending countless days curled up reading a book, writing stories in journals, or looking out the window watching the time pass by. I can remember sitting on the kitchen floor soaking up the warmth from the afternoon sun, or being surrounded by blankets keeping warm by the fireplace. I can remember being sick and watching movies all day on the couch. I can remember doing homework and other tasks at the kitchen table.
I cannot thank you enough for shaping how I grew up. I cannot thank you for raising me to become strong and healthy. I cannot thank you enough for supporting me in my rough times of my mental illness. I cannot thank you enough for keeping my family together and stronger than ever.
You let me play as a child. I kept all of my stuffed animals and imaginary friends in your hands. You protected me from the scary monsters in the closet and under the bed. You gave me peace knowing that I was able to come to a warm bed every night.
My room will always be my favorite. It's biased and cliche, yes, but it was a sacred space. It masked my tears and my panic attacks. It's known many dreams and nightmares. It's full of privacy, yet open at the same time.
When I left for college, I didn't realize how much I would miss you. It was a hard adjustment period, and I was left out in the real world. Unfortunately, if I had a problem or a bad day, I couldn't come back to you. Life had to go on. What kept me going was coming back for holidays.
When I did come back, I was so surprised by how different it felt. I felt like a hotel guest, rather than a permanent resident. I felt like I didn't belong anymore. I felt like I was messing up a beautiful canvas. It was haunting to see if there were changes, or lack of them.
Then I realized that you didn't change, I have. It was a scary, yet exhilarating realization. I couldn't wait to share the new person that I had become. It showed me that change is good, and it's okay to go to a stable environment. You've helped me spread my wings to fly on my own.
When I heard the news that my family was moving, I was devastated. My heart cracked into multiple pieces. It felt like part of me was missing. Moving is a part of life; I can't stay in the same place forever, no matter how much it hurts, I reminded myself. No matter how much reassurance I gave, all I saw was the life as I know it ending.
I began to envision mountains of cardboard boxes, moving trucks, and empty rooms. I began to see for sale signs, strangers from open houses, and garage sales. My childhood began to slip away. It was almost as if I was running, unable to catch up to it. I became breathless by this reality.
To be honest, I'm very selfish. I don't want to leave you. I'm afraid that the next residents will abuse you; take advantage of you. It's funny because I always have a huge craving for wanderlust but always have thought that you would be permanent. You've been the only constant in my life and I'm afraid of change.
I'm afraid that I won't like this new place. It's going to take some getting used to since you've been in my life for 20 years. I promise to remember every little detail of you and to keep your memory alive. I promise to never forget you. You're more than just a house; you're my home forever.
My heart will sink when you're sold. I'm going to bite my tongue when I see my parents selling old, but meaningful possessions. I'm going to have to prohibit myself from fighting with the people who are putting my old belongings into their cars. My stomach will be uneasy at your emptiness. I'm going to cry like a baby when I take one last glimpse of you before I get into the car. The tears will worsen when I look one more time in the rear-view mirror as we drive away.
I'm writing this to thank you for everything. You were my dream childhood house, and I couldn't imagine growing up somewhere else. You will always be part of me, and hold a special place in my heart. It's going to be difficult to let go, but I know that you're going to bring light and love to the next family that comes along.
To my childhood home, I love you so much.