I loved growing up there with my brothers and sisters, even though we would annoy each other and fight like most families, I loved them and had fun growing up with them. Our parents were extremely supportive and made sure we always had what we needed. My dad would take us out and pull us around on the sled behind the tractor in the winter, we would swim in the pool we were lucky enough to have. I got the most joy from our beautiful horses, my dad teaching me to ride and trusting me to do so much on my own with them was the best time of my life. Our horses were everything to me, I could get home from school and go straight out to the barn and saddle them up or even just ride bareback.
Christmas was always a very big deal, Christmas Eve was always celebrated at our house. My aunts, uncles and cousins would come over and we would have the best time. As we got older it was only our immediate family which of course is still a lot of us. Some of us kept the tradition of spending the night on Christmas Eve and celebrating Christmas morning together. Last Christmas was the last time we got to do that, it was so bittersweet.
My parents had talked about selling the house for quite a while and it finally happened this year. We were all offered the opportunity to buy it but we have all planted our roots in Cedar Rapids or Des Moines, honestly it was heartbreaking to tell them no. The house sold quickly, as I knew it would. A young couple bought it and I am certain they will make some amazing memories there like we did.
We had one final family reunion at the park by the house this summer and I made sure we got some photos with all of my siblings and most of the grandchildren. Sadly not all of the grandchildren could be there but I will cherish these photos forever. We have all grown up and have our lives to live and now my parents will embark on their greatest journey traveling around the United States in their motorhome for the next 4-5 years.
We will miss them greatly but there will be plenty of room in the camper for any of us to vacation with them and they will visit us when they can. I am so grateful for the wonderful memories, I will cherish them forever and never forget where I came from.