Dear Neighbor,

You told us you were going to be moving weeks ago, but the “For Sale” sign in your yard made it seem like a reality. When you told us you’d accepted an offer after the first weekend your home was on the market, we knew it wasn’t just a possibility–it was really happening.

And my children are devastated.

See, they like to play with their friends, but you were not like their friends. You were like a surrogate grandpa, with time and patience to spare as they told you about their day and who knows what else. You saw them–truly acknowledged them–in a way that I couldn’t always manage.

I’m sure you remember what it’s like working full time, raising children, and juggling life responsibilities. By the time we get home from work/school, dinner needs to be made, lunches need to be packed, and laundry needs to be started–in a hurry! So it’s hard for us as parents to handle everything AND stop to pay attention to their (sometimes endless) stories and share ones of our own. But you….found the time.

Your kindness taught my children what they won’t see on the news: there are still thoughtful neighbors who will take the time to lend a hand. You’ve taught my children that they may boldly cross streets and generations to befriend someone else’s grandma or grandpa. You’ve taught them how neighbors ought to be. You’ve taught them lessons I simply couldn’t.

And last week, when my daughter drew you a picture that said “Bie. I’ll miss you. Frum Ryleigh,” I want you to know that I watched with a tear as she ran to deliver it and you hugged her in return. You have been one of the best neighbors our family could have, and we will all miss you dearly.

To be honest, it’s not the first time we’ve said goodbye to a dear neighbor like you. My children are becoming accustomed to it, actually. Once upon a time, we were the ones who moved 4 hours away from our precious neighbor. She had been a grandma to my little boy and theirs is a bond that can never be broken. She taught my children that the best neighbors will forgive chopped down trees, let little hands help with yard work, and cross states to see you again, even if it’s just for a hug and a quick lunch.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, thank you. Thank you for all of the lessons you’ve taught us. We won’t forget you. In fact, we will be thrilled to come see you in your new place. Because if there’s one thing we know by now: neighbors are always neighbors, no matter the distance between.

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