LOVE IS LEARNING TO SAY GOOD-BYE
The holidays are now over, at least this part of them. It seems like Thanksgiving is every one’s favorite holiday and it is the one where most families, despite their emotional or physical geography most of the time find themselves together.
The preparation and anticipation are great, guest rooms; former childhood bedrooms and pull out sofas are suddenly occupied, often for the only time during the year.
Everyone stuffs themselves, some fight, hopefully most have fun, college students return home, usually for the first time since fall, older children return usually with their new families in tow, and then the inevitable comes, like everything else it comes to an end. You get this little teaser of what your life used to be like.
I write about this in Between a Rock and Hot Place, the moments at a certain point in one’s life where every hello is followed by a good-bye.
And the truth is one never really gets used to it.
I saw a friend last night who has children my age who said she cried when they all left. She has been saying hello/good-bye for decades now and it still makes her weepy.
Night before last I woke up at two-thirty in the morning the smell of bacon wafting through our room. At first I thought it was a realistic dream about my bacon wrapped turkey; but I soon realized someone was cooking bacon in the house. I went in the kitchen to find four nineteen year 0lds and a ten year old, who is convinced she is nineteen watching movies and cooking bacon. I got upset for a few minutes. I don’t like being woken. I hated the smell of bacon in the middle of the night and I do have an aversion to chaos. But on my way back to bed I remembered the laughter and chaos would soon return to silence and calm and I went back to sleep relishing the fact that the house was filled with girls and and life, even if the life included burning bacon at two am.
This morning I walked around with that feeling of sadness in the pit of my stomach, today being the good-bye day. The day when the clothes are thrown back in the suitcase, the items not found are promised to be sent, some extra money is tucked into palms, big hugs, big good-byes, bigger hugs, then what feels like forever, as one watches the long walk away, the over stuffed bag and back diseapring down the hall, the train station, the airport or the street. “Be careful, I love you. See you….Soon?”
One goes in and picks up the now empty room . I tend to spend a good hour organizing things that don’t even need organizing just to stay in proximity.
I leave certain things out in anticipation for the next visit, which will be inevitably followed by the subsequent good-byes. Anticipation, missing, anticipation missing being the march of the relationship here forth.
I have a friend in the South who was so excited last week as her boarding school attending daughter was returning for the four-day weekend. I know tonight she too finds herself in a now empty room, smelling the pillow and the t-shirt that still smells like her once little, always little to her girl.
Perhaps I am putting actions into her life, but I’ll bet I’m right.
It’s one of the sucky parts of getting older. Though one knows it’s the natural progression of life, our kids grow up, move away and must have their own lives separate from ours.
If we are lucky they will come home for holidays; Thanksgiving being one, and then they will return to their lives. And if you are like me, you start looking forward to the next holiday.
If you have a little one who is still at home, go in their room right now and give them a big kiss, no matter how many times you might have heard it, it’s true, they will not be that age for very long, before you know it they will be throwing clothes into bags, hurriedly rushing to another part of their life and you will find yourself saying – yet again good-bye.
SOME MOMENTS FROM THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND