Thursday, October 25, 2007

Saying Goodbye

A little more than three years ago, Terry and I decided to make the big move from Houston to Connecticut. Just to frame things for you, Kyle was born at the end of May, the first glimpse of the possibility of this job came sometime in early July, and then Terry and I (and little Kyle) made two weekend trips to Connecticut in July and August in order to find a home. By the third week in August, we were on the road in order to make it to Connecticut in time for Amanda to start school.

There were good-byes to be said, details like withdrawing Amanda's enrollment from school, resigning from our positions at church and other ministries, and getting our house ready to sell. We had only about a month once things were all set with the job to make all of these changes. I was certain that God was orchestrating this life change, and we were just plain busy, so I was all business. Tying up all the loose ends took time and mental and emotional energy which didn't leave much for gut-wrenching farewells to friends and family. I've always been more rational than emotional, and I knew realistically that I'd be back to Houston to visit family and see friends, and that all of my loved ones were simply a few keystrokes or digits away.

The night before we left, we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant with our closest friends. Afterwards we had one last visit to our frozen custard stand. As we sat outside eating dessert, I saw my friend cuddling my newborn. I watched her children laugh and interact with Amanda. Even though I knew that Tammy and I would still keep in touch, and I would likely see her a couple of times a year, it just wasn't going to be the same.

My friend Andrea just moved away from Connecticut, and I saw her going through the motions in the same way. In fact, just like me, she was leaving but would be coming back a few weeks later to meet the movers at her old house. So, the first goodbye was just "au revoir." When she left for good after that quick trip back, I had a little let-down, but then I remembered that she was just an email or phone call away, just as she was when she lived here. However, it hit me that while I would receive frequent updates about how her children were doing, and I would receive Christmas card pictures, I wouldn't really know. I wouldn't hear her daughter's sweet high voice or see her son as he matured and grew in the area of self-control.

Leaving friends and family behind isn't too hard in this world of technology. Face to face encounters can be arranged and life can be shared over the wire in the meantime. While my friends' and family's hairstyles or hair color or weight might be altered, in all reality, they aren't going to change that much. But give a kid six months, braces, confidence, and a growth spurt and after a couple of years, I won't even recognize him.

I haven't had much problem saying goodbye to friends. But one thing is certain: I'll miss the kids.


Org Junkie said...

Okay Jennifer you nearly gave me a heart attack when I read your title. I thought YOU were saying goodbye and in my over emotional sick state (can you believe I now have a cold in addition to the flu I had a couple of weeks ago..sheesh). Boy was I relieved to read your post but then got emotional again when I started thinking about all the friends that have left me here. You see I live in a very small community where people come for 3-4 years and then move on. But I've stayed and gone through more friends than I could possibly list. Each time I tell myself that I will not go through that again and then sure enough I do. It doesn't get any easier but my life is more enriched..if only for a short time.

Beck said...

It's hard to leave friends, isn't it? A good friend from our old town came to visit this summer, bringing her two daughters - and I didn't KNOW them anymore, these little girls I used to spend every day with. Poignant.

Katrina said...

You're so right. I keep in touch with several long-distance friends and I usually don't even think twice about how far apart we live or how long it's been since we've seen each other. But then I'll see a picture of their kids and realize...they don't even know "Aunt" Katrina anymore...and I wonder, where has the time gone?

Stephanie said...

We moved lots when I was a kid. I got pretty good at starting over. Then Joel & I moved to RI where we've been for 10 years. We are now down to ONE set of close friends in RI. We joke that the best way to leave RI is to become friends with us.

For me, being the one left behind is the hardest. There's nothing exciting about staying behind. At least when you are doing the moving there's new stuff to look forward to.