Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone | Teen Ink

Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone

January 12, 2010
By Ryan Leiss SILVER, Houston, Texas
Ryan Leiss SILVER, Houston, Texas
6 articles 0 photos 1 comment

It was the spring of 2007 when memories of my childhood flashed through my mind as I watched my neighbors across the street pull away. I found out when Kevin and I were playing basketball outside, and out of nowhere, he said, “Hey, Ryan. Um… I’m moving.” At first I thought it was a joke, but then I realized it was actually true when I saw the humorless expression on his face. I was shocked, but then reality kicked in and I instantly began to wonder what it would be like not to have them around anymore. You see, I am an only child and the Becher’s family had two children. Kevin was fourteen, two years older than me, and Alexa was two years younger. We had lived on a small, somewhat private cul-de-sac for twelve years. It was here that the three of us all began our lives in our homes. They became like the brother and sister I never had as we spent most of our first twelve years together. I took it for granted that they would always be around, just across the street.

As I stared at the cul-de-sac, thoughts of the past came to me. The sound of remote control cars racing in and out around big orange cones usually occurred during the Christmas holidays. As we were playing, parents and neighbors would be visiting or having some adult fun. The most commonly heard question back then was, “Mom, Dad, can Kevin spend the night?” I remember all the breakfasts we had after late night sleepovers. The sugary donut holes and French toast were always on the menu. The picture of three of us playing basketball in the driveway, having the goal at all times just low enough where we could dunk. I remember one of our favorite things to do was to explore and play in the attic. We could find all sorts of treasures up there. I also recall on Saturday nights when we would cook s’mores and sometimes play with the fire a little too much, which got my mom a little crazy at times. It was great fun though. We had shared so much throughout the years and I just could not imagine how lonely it would be without the two of them.

After the move, the cul-de-sac sure seemed quiet. Shooting hoops in the driveway alone was not nearly as exciting and playing video games by myself was somewhat boring. When we both just had to walk a few yards to each other’s front door, we innocently took that situation for granted. Since they moved two years ago, we have gotten together a few times and I have learned to be thankful for these moments. I wish I could just walk across the street and say, “Hi Mrs. Becher. Can Kevin come out and play today?” I was reminded of how special the Bechers are when the whole family attended my eighth grade graduation ceremony. I now understand how fortunate I was to have them as a part of my life.

As with many things, we do not truly appreciate what we have until it is gone. There are always going to be changes in life no matter where you go or what you do. Knowing that things do not always stay the same teaches me to be thankful for the time we have family and friends. I have learned to appreciate that relationships are the only thing that we can take with us after this life is over.

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