I was one of those kids whose family never moved away. We lived in the same town, in the same house, for my entire young life. Looking back, I’m grateful for that. I loved growing up in Chicagoland, where there was always something to do, lots to see, and the best pizza ever! It’s where I’ve always called home, even though I moved away many years ago. My parents are still there, still in that same house. With all of our visits, my husband and kids have memories there, all wrapped up in the same place my memories are from.

But you know what? My parents decided it’s time for them to move. Now there’s a SOLD sign in their yard. A new house hundreds of miles away has another SOLD sign in the yard. And so begins the process of moving from one house to the other. From one state to another. From one life to another. Oh, and by the way, they are moving east. I live west.

I am going through many conflicting emotions these days. When I left home, I felt nothing but love and support from my parents. I want to give them that same gift, I really, really do! They will be living near my brother now, and what great memories they will make with him and his family.

So how do I say goodbye to a part of my life that has always, and I mean always, been there? The only way I know how is by going back one last time. Next week I will go home and help my mom pack up her kitchen–the same kitchen where I watched her, learned from her, and eventually came alongside her. My dad will take me to see my grandmother, where I can hug her small frame and feel her kiss my cheek, just as she has done my whole life. My church, the one I grew up in and married my husband in, will have a Sunday service like it always does. I will be there. My brother and I will stay up late and remember when we were each other’s everything—playmates, friends, enemies, and fiercest protectors. By keeping my head and my hands busy, I hope I’m giving my heart a chance to catch up.

The heart has quite a memory, would you agree? A house is just rooms, but the hearts within the house make it a home. A town is just a collection of houses. The heart of the town is found in its people. No matter where my parents go, my heart will remember all of it.

This is part of my journey, and I’m choosing to allow it to shape me, not break me. What a sweet gift I’ve been given to say goodbye to this part of my life with my parents, rather than without them. And who knows what the future may hold? Our oldest son is just a few short years away from going off to college, with his brothers in line behind him. One day we just might look back at these days and see it all work together for good.

Oh, and thanks to technology, we can order our favorite Chicago style pizza any time we feel like it.

Sarah Luke

Born and raised in Chicagoland, Sarah now calls Nebraska home. She’s been married for 19 years to Derek, her college sweetheart. They have three sons—one in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary school. She worked as a registered nurse before staying at home full time with the boys. Maybe someday she will go back to nursing, but for now she loves keeping up with her family and enjoying the moments set before her. Swimming and reading are her favorite hobbies, along with boating and camping. She’s quick to point out that she camps in a camper, and leaves the tent camping to Derek and their boys!