Thursday, June 25, 2015

friendship and loss and the lessons we learn

As I sit here on the front porch typing this, my daughter is willing the minutes in this day to stretch out for an eternity. This day is one she's been approaching with dread for weeks now, ever since the decision was made and shared. 

Tomorrow they will pack up the last of their things and move far, far away from here.

She's across the street, twirling her hair, watching her brother ride his scooter around in circles, talking about all the things ten year old girls talk about with one of her best friends in the world, knowing what comes in the morning.

My Mini Me.
Even makes the same faces I do....
These two have known one another since they were first learning to walk. They toddled around the neighborhood together, trying desperately to keep up with their big sisters. They drove the little powerwheels jeep so fast they spun the tires bald, their blonde hair flowing in the wind behind them. We used to nervously laugh about what it would be like when they were driving for real.

And someday, they will both be driving, it just won't be together.

The older sisters who've spent years walking aimlessly around the neighborhood talking about boys and giggling and then texting each other will have to figure out the rest of this adolescence thing without one another.

The older pair are relegated to saying their goodbyes over the telephone lines. A previously scheduled trip coincided with the last week before they would pack everything up and move away, and the goodbyes had to come before it was time, before it seemed real and final, before the gravity of it all had settled in.

Maybe it's better that way.

I don't know.

The younger sisters are doing their best to make this day last forever, though, squeezing all the time they can out of a day that will end whether they want it to or not.

My daughter, the feeler of all feelings, doesn't want her friend to go. She doesn't want her to move away, afraid they will never see one another again.

And the painful truth that I've lived too many times is that they might not. I don't want to give her too much false hope about the future. I don't want her to believe that things aren't going to change, because I know that they are. I can't tell her with any degree of certainty that she will ever spend another lazy afternoon lying on the trampoline eating ice pops with one of her best friends in the whole wide world.

It could happen, sure. It's far more likely that it won't.

We moved here, I've told her, leaving all that we knew behind us. We did what they're doing almost exactly ten years ago. All our friends, almost all of our family, left behind in the place we once called home.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do for your family, even if it means leaving a place full of people you love.

And they have to do what they have to do.

And we have to let them.

We have to say goodbye and good luck and we love you and we will miss you. We have to swallow our pride and wipe away our tears and say thank you for being a part of our lives for the time that we had.

And we have to do it with grace.

It's a hard lesson, but one necessary to learn in life. Repeatedly.

Growing up, I was dealt (for reasons I'll never understand) this exact loss on multiple occasions. More than once, the person my world revolved around announced that they were leaving, and then not long afterwards they were gone, leaving a little hole in my heart.

Sure, there were letters and sometimes there were phone calls, but there weren't lazy afternoons lying on trampolines anymore. There weren't long aimless walks around the neighborhood giggling about boys. There weren't the moments our parents had once dreaded when we'd actually be out there driving together.

Those things never happened because my best friends always moved away.

I wasn't much different in age than she is now the first time it happened.

It's no wonder I have issues when it comes to making friends, opening up to other people. I tend to let people in and have them, one way or another, pick up and leave.

It's breaking my heart to watch it happen to her, this daughter of mine, the one most like me.

There will be this hole in her heart that will never be filled just exactly the way it's been up until now. She'll make new friends, she may even find someone worthy of ice pops and trampolines someday, but it won't be the same.

Because it won't be her.

People like us, like my daughter and like me, we love a little harder. We care a little more. We worry more, for certain. And losses hit us a little harder.

I hope that she's more resilient than her mother was. I hope that she's more resilient than her mother still is.

I hope she doesn't let this toughen the skin she wears, that she doesn't erect walls to keep other people out.

I hope that knowing she could lose them someday doesn't keep her from letting other people in.

I hope that even though she'll be mourning the loss of this constant presence in her life, she'll celebrate more for having had it at all.

When the time comes and that truck pulls away, I'll hug my little girl and I'll tell her that it will be okay. Maybe not today, maybe not for a while, but it will.

And no matter what happens, no one can ever take those memories away from her.

How lucky I am to have something that 
makes saying goodbye so hard. 
~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie

1 comment:

  1. Hugs... Sending you both icepops and a summer evening on the trampoline.

    ReplyDelete

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