Thursday, July 15, 2010

Separation Anxiety

I don't like goodbyes. I get really awkward when someone I care about is leaving for an extended period. I'd rather write a letter than tell someone face-to-face how much I will miss them. In 24 hours, we've had two goodbyes. I don't like it.

For the last two years, a nephew has been living with us. He moved in just a couple months after we got home with Abe, so our son has never known life without his cousin living in the basement. It truly was wonderful having him live here. Abe would constantly want to go down to his room to bang on the drums or count/snitch tip money. Abe's going to miss being called "Goober" and "Bambino." We're going to miss hearing it.

Family resemblance.

Our nephew flew out of the country this morning with a one-way ticket before the sun rose. I don't think it's sunk in with Abe that he won't be back for a really long time. We had to force him off his plasma car last night at bedtime to give him a proper hug goodbye.

I looked in at the empty, cavernous, echoey room in our basement. Sap that I am, a lump rose in my throat. Ridiculous, I'm telling you. I hate goodbyes, even when the person leaving is going off on a grand, life-changing adventure, or even when that person has been me going off on a grand, life-changing adventure.

Baby Abe with his cousin, about two years ago.

Boy Abe with cousin, at our farewell dinner last night.

This morning, we said goodbye to the volunteer teacher for our Thursday ESL class. That was hard too. When we announced last week that today would be his last day, a few of the ladies got visibly upset, shaking his hands and crying. I teared up as well, knowing that these lovely refugees who have been through so much have managed to let us into their hearts. I took a group photo, had them all sign their names to it, framed it, gave it to the teacher today when he left.

People move on. I've lived many places, have left many people, have said many goodbyes in my life. It never gets easier for me. The rhythm to life has been a little disrupted this week with the moving on of these two people. That's life. It just happens this way. One day, it's going to happen with our children...gasp. How will we bear it?

This lady wrote this week about one of her children getting ready to move on, and I'm (as always) so thankful for her example of how to parent well. I don't want to be one o
f those who cling so tightly to their children that they become stunted. The point of parenting is to prepare a child to leave one day, right? I know Abe won't live with us forever. Is it too early to start preparing myself for this reality? Knowing myself, probably not. It should be a mantra I practice daily.

For now, I'll be
content knowing we've got him for the next fifteen or so years. It's going to whiz by in a flash.

6 comments:

Claudia said...

I hate goodbyes, too. This post makes me think of a fabulous song that YOU sent me on a CD- which I was listening to, just today. I don't know the name of it, , but you might remember the one I mean. Especially the part about 18 years going by like a blur.

Surely watching children grow up is the very definition of bittersweet?

kristine said...

I'm trying to raise a Mama's boy. Is there anything wrong with that? I'm not succeeding, but I'm trying.

I was accused by a dear and knowing and very funny friend of holding Q back in pre-k because I couldn't handle the thought of him graduating highschool and I was putting THAT momentous event off. I laughed ... a little bit.

Good byes are awful. Sorry this week was one of good byes.

on the other hand hellos are so sweet and I am so happy that I got to meet the three of you, one cold new york winter.

stephanie said...

I hate them, too. Either I act all weird and shut down or cling for dear life trying to hold in the sobs. And then the first sob escapes. That sound. That's what happened when I said good bye to E.'s mother. She clung even tighter to me. Neither one wanted to let go first.

Glad to hear Abe was on his plasma car :).

Evelyn said...

I hate goodbyes, too! I got anxious just reading that!

Anonymous said...

As I read "this lady's" blog and yours, my eyes swell up with tears. You are both so eloquent in your words. Thank you.
We are in the process of sending our
baby off to college in a month. Goodbyes are hard for me too.
Wish Matt well for me.
Linda C.

Meg said...

Gees, we don't even have children yet and this made me sad =) Love that final picture!