We will miss you, old friend.

When I think about my childhood, I feel that I had a pretty amazing one.
We had tons of neighborhood kids that were around the same age as the four of us, and we all hung out and had water balloon fights, baseball games, and sleepovers in tents in the backyard.

But when I think about my childhood, the thing that stands out most in my mind is our tree.
Our beloved tree that has been there for over thirty years.
We loved that tree, and it seemed like another sibling.
We built three treehouses in that tree.
We had clubs in that tree.
We shed blood in that tree.
We had personal talks in that tree.
We solidified bonds in that tree.
We had our first kiss in that tree. (Wait, maybe that was just me.)
That tree was everything.

It became apparent in the last few months that the tree needed to come down. It was interfering with power lines and making neighbors angry, so my parents decided that they needed to let it go. It was such a large tree that they got an estimate that it would take about $5,000 to cut it down. So, they decided to let the city cut it down for free.

My mom planned a "Say Goodbye to the Tree" lunch after church a few weeks ago. We were sitting around at lunch just hanging out and eating, and my mom says, "So, someone tell us of a memory that they had in the tree." We all groaned, as we sometimes do with my mom, thinking that it was a lame idea.

But, I stepped up. This tree was going to be gone forever! We had to honor the tree some way.
So, I started with a memory, and after a while, everyone joined in. We were talking and remembering and laughing and loving it.

Tessa suggested that we go outside and climb the tree one last time. Now, we are much older and bigger than when we used to climb, so it was a little harder. But the pain felt good, satisfying. We almost fell a few times and I heard my mom say to my dad, "We must be the worst parents! We let our four children climb in this insane tree and they could have died." It made me smile. The danger was part of the fun.

I think the pictures say it all.