I’ve never been good at goodbyes. I feel like there are approximately three types of goodbye-rs. There is type a), the completely unemotional, unattached goodbye-r who says au revoir without a single tear or tug of sentimentality; b) the no goodbye-r who never actually says it or closes the loop because they just can’t bring themselves to do so. I equate this one to feeling like someone clicks over to take another call and they just never click back to your conversation and everything feels just kind of weird and unfinished. And of course there is type c), the overly emotional person who is crying before they can say anything goodbye-r, so caught up in a flood of memories and nostalgia that the poor people who are the recipients of said goodbye feel so uncomfortable watching the display that in the end rather than ending on a nice note, it’s just all awkward and bad.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am type c: the overly emotional, crazy sentimental lady. I’m the one who receives random Kleenex from passerbys merely observing the exchange. I can’t help it. I’ve always been this way. But lately, I credit my husband for pushing my thinking on the nature of goodbye, and how I can force myself out of all three of the above categories. Whenever Phil and I go somewhere wonderful and I start to get sad and nostalgic about leaving (which by the way usually happens before I have even unpacked during the arrival – did I mention I’m insane?), he always reminds me that no matter who, or where or what, we’ll be back. There will be another time, another moment, and another memory. And that it is okay to let go of where we are because in the circle of life we’ll come back again. And maybe we will and maybe we won’t – maybe it’s just something we’re telling ourselves to make us feel better, but it actually works. He isn’t emotion-less nor is he emotion-ful and he does say goodbye, but does so with the optimism that there are more good things to come.
And so today as I looked at Dylan and Ruby’s wonderful teachers and felt that familiar lump welling in my throat, an amazing thing happened. I started to tear, but didn’t actually cry. And when Phil said he was sad to say goodbye to our friends at the preschool that has been like a surrogate family to our kids during our adventure in NJ, I found myself being okay with letting go of something great, maybe for the first time ever. I can let it go and admit that we were lucky to have had this place and these people come into our lives for the brief time we were here. And feel hopeful about what’s to come.