I learned so much about people through our recent work with Dr. Robi Ludwig, the noted psychotherapist who helped us understand what makes homeownership a part of who we are. Among other things, Dr. Robi described the human need to put down roots and our desire to be viable parts of a community. Our home provides emotional and psychological benefits that go far beyond financial returns. I couldn’t agree more.
My wife and I are HUGE roots people. And ours run deep. By buying our home we came to love our neighborhood and have benefitted greatly as our neighbors have become much more than people who live close by. It’s been described as the Coolidge Street Gang. One family is the Sulmonts (Greg, Adeline and their kids Marguerite, Elisabeth and Pierre). But they are moving. Not around the corner, not to another state. But to Singapore. It has broken our hearts. And they leave tomorrow.
You see, Pierre is our 10-year-old son Matthew’s best friend in a big brother sort-of-way. You know the type. A caring kid who has been around our family forever – since before preschool – and is essentially a part of us. He’s gone so many places with us, shared so many fun times. And as the youngest of three, he had the maturity to serve as a role model to Matthew and our youngest, Michael.
Pierre was the one who gave Matthew the confidence to ride his bike for the first time and to get through his first sleepover. He is the one who showed up each morning to walk with Matthew to school. Always happy. And a joy to be around.
And so as our tears flow (my wife and Adeline had a good cry today), Pierre leaves for Singapore. We will have a “last lunch” with him tomorrow (his choice) and I’m sure we will cry like babies as they pull away for Kennedy airport.
Of course they are not gone forever. The boys already have plans to Skype. Marguerite is staying for college and Elisabeth plans to return to the U.S. for college in 2013. But clearly being half-a-world-away is a friendship test.
As I write this, I am admittedly tearing up. But I’m also smiling. Our home and where we chose to live allowed us to enjoy these great friends and spend 10 years with a kid named Pierre who changed our lives. He is living proof of the benefits of roots and commitment to the neighborhood. As we say goodbye to Pierre, it’s living proof that a home leads to much more in our lives than just a place to sleep.
Good luck Pierre. We will miss you