Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The top 5 things I will miss about Decorah

For about a week and a half, the boys and I have been staying at my parents' house in Decorah, Iowa. I was raised in this lovely town in northeast Iowa, and I am so grateful that my parents have continued to live here so that we can bring our boys back here to visit. Although they moved out of my childhood home several years ago, visiting their "new" house feels like coming home.

Over the past several days, I have come to realize just how special this place is.  Perhaps it is because I have lived in many different countries and  larger cities since I left for college. Or maybe it is because I am now a mama with kids of my own. I am painfully aware that I my perspective is framed by rose-colored glasses. As the date of our departure to Sydney looms closer than ever on the horizon (we leave on May 20), I am faced with the hard reality that it may be a few years before I am able to come back to Decorah to visit.

And so, I have come up with a list of the top 5 things I will miss about Decorah.

Number 5: You see people you know everywhere you go.
Growing up, this feature of living in Decorah was anything but a perk. But now, I find it comforting to see familiar faces around town. In the past week, I have run into friends from school, parents of friends, friends of my parents, and kids (now adults) for whom I used to babysit. It has been great to catch up with people I haven't seen in years and introduce my boys to friends from my past.

Number 4: It takes 5 minutes to get anywhere in town.
In the recent past, the cities in which I have lived (the Twin Cities, the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, and Sydney) have a minimum transportation time of 20 minutes (on a good day, in dry, sunny - but not too sunny - weather). I have to admit that I am still getting used to the fact that it only takes 5 minutes to get from my parents' house to practically anywhere in town. Decorah is also very biker- and pedestrian-friendly. They have almost completed a new bike trail that I can't wait to try when I come back to town.

Number 3: Parks
If you have ever lived in or visited Decorah, you know that this town has some amazing parks. From Phelps Park to the Fish Hatchery to the new "natural" play area at West Side School, the boys (well, Vincent in particular) LOVES to go the various parks. Over the past week, we have been to Phelps Park twice and have frequented the Fish Hatchery on previous visits (maybe we will get there later today). And Vincent really enjoys playing at the new natural playground at West Side School. The natural playground is within walking distance of my parents' house and the other two are - you guessed it - a five minute drive (give or take a few minutes).

Vincent playing at the Natural Playground at West Side School

Vincent playing at Phelps Park

Feeding the fish at the Fish Hatchery

Number 2: My parents' house
I LOVE my parents' house. It sits on the edge of town. They only have neighbors on one side and the house overlooks the town prairie. From their deck, all you can see are trees, green leaves and grass, prairie, and glimpses of the Upper Iowa River, which flows through town. My mom is an accomplished gardener and she has the most beautiful flower gardens in her backyard. My parents also love birds - they have multiple bird feeders which provide a variety of different kinds of food to several species of birds. The boys and I love to sit on the 3-season porch and watch all the different kinds of birds come to the feeders.
A hummingbird at the feeder

The view from the deck at my parents' house

My mom's garden

My parents' house is also a comfortable home. And I am really going to miss visiting on a regular basis.

And the Number 1 thing I am going to miss (more than anything else) is.....

My mom and dad.

It will be difficult knowing that I can't call or text regularly, and I have gotten used to seeing them every few weeks. And the boys LOVE spending time with them - they are FANTASTIC grandparents! But we will be speaking regularly on video Skype and they are coming to visit for Christmas and New Years!


  1. This is so sweet. And I love the pics - especially the one at the fish hatchery! I know your parents will miss you terribly, too. Thank goodness for Qantas! Have a safe, safe, trip and best in Australia. HUGS!

  2. Well-said, as always, Clare! And yes, I choked up at the end because, although we understand and respect your decision to move and do what is best for you, Paul, and the boys, we will all miss you terribly, too.

  3. Lovely Blog Clare. Good Luck with the move.