I'm taking a moment out of my relentless house-packing to write a little update here on El Blog.
It's been tears and snotters all around here lately, and that's just me! It seems every time I turn around, it's another goodbye I'm having to say. Friday was our 'Leaving Doo', which was a great chance to see lots of people I may not see now before we leave. I think everyone had a good time, and I really appreciated everyone who made the effort to come out (especially those who came out with their kids) and wish us farewell. Even though I had bought several boxes of tissues in preparation, I actually did really well in the no-crying department, except when saying goodbye to my friend Leanne. As we hugged, all these memories rushed back to me; painful, sad memories of a most horrible time in her life and in mine, mixed in with all the happy memories that we have shared too. In such a short amount of time knowing one another, we've been through a whole range of human experiences from the births of our children to deaths. As these memories flooded in on me, I couldn't stop the tears from tumbling over, and neither could she. As sad as that moment was in which we said goodbye, there was something really special and bittersweet in it too, something I won't ever forget.
Besides that, Friday's party managed to stay fairly light-hearted and happy, despite the occasion.
But I continue saying goodbye to people, which is breaking my heart.
Every Tuesday, just about, for the past four and a half years, I have been going to my friend Heather's house at 8pm for Craft Night with a small group of friends, many of whom have changed about in those years, but the core of which are Heather, Elaine, Paula and myself. Through the years, we have all become really good friends, and Craft Night is my favourite night of the week. Last night we met together for the second-last time, along with another couple of girls who have come off and on through the years. As I drove to Heather's house last night, thinking how after next week, I'll never do this again, the tears once again starting spilling. I don't want to spend the rest of my future Tuesday nights without them.
Then this afternoon, I took Lolly to visit her friend Caleb for the last time, while I visited Caleb's mum Cheryl. Cheryl and I have been friends for eight years, nearly as long as I've lived here. Caleb and Lolly have known each other since birth, and Lolly adores Caleb. She unabashedly refers to him as 'her boyfriend' and sometimes 'her husband'. Cheryl and I had a great afternoon in the garden soaking up the sun, but when it was time to leave, the reality hit us, and once again, there were tears. I cried for me, having to say goodbye to a friend, and I cried for Lolly, who instinctively seemed to understand this was goodbye for her too. While I never said anything like, 'This is the last time you'll see Caleb', I also didn't say, 'We'll see Caleb again soon.' As I drove away from her house, I continued to sob, and suddenly, literally without warning, the beautiful blue sunny skies were overtaken by black clouds and heavy, torrential rain poured from them, beating down on my wind shield violently. I felt as if the skies were crying with me, and for once, felt the rain was trying to comfort me, rather than torment me. Caleb told his mummy that he too thought the weather changed because Lolly was leaving.
There are still more goodbyes to come, the hardest of which I am pretending won't have to happen. It's strange; I know I wasn't this emotional when I moved away from Arkansas. I remember crying very hard with my mom one night, but I don't remember feeling this amount of sadness. But then, at that time in my life, everything was different. I was graduating university and all my friends were moving on anyway. It was a natural turning point anyway. I was getting married to my boyfriend whom I missed more than I could say and all I wanted was to be with him. I was young, with every opportunity ahead of me, and had very little 'life' that I was leaving behind. Yes, I was sad to be leaving my friends and my family and the world I knew, and yes, I remember being very lonely when I first moved to Scotland. Compare that to my situation now, though, and it's nothing alike.
There is no 'natural turning point' right now. I'm uprooting my family from right in the middle of a life Scott and I have dug deep roots into. I have been through births and deaths with my friends and family here. The 'life' that we have all experienced together has bonded us closer together than anyone I've bonded to before*. It's definitely harder this time around to say goodbye, when I don't know how I'll ever make friends as dear ever again, without all those life-changing moments to cement us together...
I don't want to think about all this sadness any more right now. I've got a house that looks like a bomb site, and a baby that's crying and a six year-old who needs a plaster on her foot. I've got too much emotion, too much to do, and not enough energy to think on it any more. I'm tired of the sadness, and I'm tired of the tears. Tonight, I think, is a night for lying in my bed with my Harry Potter book and forgetting about the real world for a little while. My hardest goodbyes are still to come, and I just don't want to think about them any more.
*That's not to say that I'm not close to my friends from before. Some of my friends from high school and college are still very dear to me, and I really am so excited to be going back home to the likes of Devon, who has been alternately my best friend and worst enemy since we were thirteen, and with whom I always slot right back in when we meet up. There's a bond there too that is unlike any other!