How long has it been since my daughters made a lemonade stand with our neighbors?
This thought went through my mind while walking my dog one summer afternoon. I saw many children outside playing, walking their own dogs, and selling lemonade. I hadn’t realized that there were so many new young families on our street.
I love the street that I live on. I love the whole neighborhood. It has been a great place to raise my daughters.
We bought our house 18 years ago. I remember coming to the “For Sale By Owner” Open House on a whim. My husband and I lived in a townhouse in a neighboring town with our 10-month-old daughter. We weren’t necessarily ready to move but we saw the ad for the sale and decided to take a ride over. The owners of the house took a liking to our little family, and we became more interested in buying when we saw the love that they had for this house and their neighborhood.
The next thing I knew, we were moving in. We celebrated my daughter’s first birthday in our new house, and a year later her sister was born.
We soon came to love it here, just like the family before us, although we were the first “new” family on the street. The neighborhood still consisted mostly of original owners, but within a few years it turned over, and it was filled with young families like ours.
We were lucky and thrilled when our close friends bought the house next door to us, our kids being the best of friends. Many other families with similarly-aged children moved to the neighborhood. Through the years we have experienced so much together – first day of school pictures, snowman building, bicycle riding, swinging on swing sets, chalk drawing in the driveway, barbecues, carpools to school, and of course, the lemonade stands.
Sadly, my family also experienced tragedy while living in our beloved house. Seven years ago, my husband had a sudden heart attack and passed away. The love for my neighborhood was solidified when I received unconditional support from those who lived nearby.
After my husband passed away, we got our little white dog. Walking him four times a day has given me the opportunity to meet neighbors that I hadn’t known previously. I love to smile and wave to those outside as we go for our walks.
Thinking about it that summer afternoon, I realized it has been over 10 years since our lemonade stands. My daughters are now 17 and 19 years old. I know it’s cliché but…where did the time go?
Next year, my younger daughter will go to college. Soon after, I will most likely move out of our house. Although I will probably stay nearby, I will no longer be living in our neighborhood. I feel sad just thinking about it.
Life brings different stages. My “raising young children” stage is coming to a close. While this upsets me, I try to look toward the future. I look forward to seeing how my daughters become adults; what career paths they will take, marriages, and children of their own. Their lives are starting out, and I hope the foundation we gave them serves them well. Part of that foundation is the home and neighborhood they grew up in.
When the time comes, I know it will be hard for me to move out of the house that I bought with my husband, where our children were raised. But I try to also look at it as a new beginning. Buying a new place and making it my own again may be fun. I look forward to seeing where my relationship with my boyfriend will go, whether we will end up moving in together. I also love my new life as a writer, and am curious as to where both Living the Second Act and The Widow Wears Pink will take me. This can be a new and exciting time for me.
It has been a long time since my girls sold lemonade, and I am suddenly noticing that my neighborhood is once again turning over. This is a slightly difficult concept for me, but while walking my dog on that beautiful afternoon, I pulled a dollar out of my pocket and said to the new little salespeople, “I’ll take one lemonade please.”
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.