I’m writing this post from the couch in my apartment in Williamsville – one of the last posts I will draft and schedule here. By the time it publishes, our family will be on our way to our new life in northern Virginia. I am, of course, overjoyed to be going home to the place I’ve longed to be for the past three years. But any move is a little bittersweet, and saying goodbye to Buffalo is not easy. There are so many places and people that we’ve taken into our hearts, and I’m going to miss them.
I’m going to miss sunny summer Saturdays spent roaming the Williamsville farmers’ market and then plopping down in the big sandbox in Island Park.
I’m going to miss browsing the shelves at Monkey See, Monkey Do, the most beautiful children’s bookstore I’ve ever seen – and a place that will remain very dear to my heart as the venue for Nugget’s first birthday party.
I’m going to miss picture-perfect East Aurora, where our family has enjoyed more neighborhood strolls than I can count. When we were deciding where to make our permanent home, this was the place that we imagined ourselves living had we chosen to stay in New York.
I’m going to miss Letchworth State Park. Although I’m partial to the Adirondack Park as my favorite state park in New York, Letchworth is truly spectacular. I’ve loved rambling through the gorge on hot summer days and amidst blazing fall colors.
Closer to home, I’m going to miss Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve. We fell in love with this little slice of wild paradise in the midst of suburban Cheektowaga. When it comes to sunlight dancing on lily ponds, there’s nowhere quite like it.
I’m going to miss the rolling farmland beauty of the southtowns. Picking apples at Stonehill Orchards, and berries at Awald’s Berry Patch, have become beloved family traditions.
I’m going to miss the bustling downtown Buffalo, especially on festival days. Summer won’t feel quite the same if we miss out on Taste of Buffalo.
I’m going to miss Knox Farm, which is my very favorite park in WNY. The cheerfully chirruping birds, the picturesque red barn, and the shady hiking trails – all are impressed on my heart.
I’m going to miss the Botanical Gardens – especially the koi pond, also known as toddler paradise. We’ve spent some happy winter afternoons thawing out in the sun-baked greenhouses and watching the fish swim lazily through their pond (still Peanut’s favorite ecosystem).
I’m going to miss Tifft Nature Preserve – site of countless family hikes in every season – green heron viewings – friends’ birthdays. Tifft is now part of the fabric of our family. Maybe one day we’ll even hike it without getting lost.
I’m going to miss Canalside. It’s been the epicenter of so much fun – the starting line for the Color Run, the Biggest Loser Half Marathon, and the Skyride – and one of our very favorite family spots.
I’m going to miss Central Library. One I started working downtown, I was here at least weekly – picking up holds, returning finished books, reading or chatting with friends over salads at Fables Cafe. It will be strange not to drive by this big white box full of books every weekday, and even stranger to think that I’ve ordered my last cup of coffee from the friendly cafe staff. (Also – look at little Peanut!)
I’ll miss my in-laws’ comfy deck, and the fun of reading books out there or chatting with my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law over tea or kombucha.
Almost more than anything else, I’ll miss Westminster Early Childhood Programs. As hard as it is to leave my kids every morning, I always knew that when I left them there I was leaving them in the hands of teachers who loved them like their own. Over the two years that we’ve been a part of WECP, the school has come to feel like family to me. The friends we’ve made through Peanut’s class will be friends forever, the teachers will be following our kids as they grow up far away, and the school itself will be part of my heart forever.
But the hardest goodbye will be the goodbye we have to say to friends that we have come to love like family in our three years here. Peanut’s BFF, N, from school, and her sweet family; and, more than anyone else, Zan and Paul. When we were cold and lonely, these people welcomed us into their hearts and made Buffalo a home for us. While I know we’ll see them – Zan and Paul, in particular – I’m incredibly sad that they’ll no longer be just a short drive away.
It’s never easy to say goodbye, even when you know you’re going home. The past three years have been so special for us, and we’ll hold these places and these people in our hearts forever.
*Title from the R.E.M. song.