Thursday, March 3, 2011

'I try my best to be guarded, I'm an open book instead' ~Lifehouse

I've always been pretty horrible with goodbyes. In all honesty, to say I'm 'pretty' horrible is the understatement of the century. I'd start thinking about it days ahead of time...and ask my's pretty much a given that I'll be crying, no matter how hard I try not to. And now, I see that Sophia feels that same sting and I've seen it progressing since she had to say goodbye to her dad. I see it written all over her face, realizing that people come and people have to go. But as of late, I've been thinking a lot about a couple of things. I've been thinking about how, by my example, I can turn the heartache around for my big girl and what life lesson I can teach her in saying goodbye. I've been thinking about why I've always struggled with goodbyes...why I could never 'meet' a goodbye with that mentality of 'It's not goodbye, it's see you later' no matter how many times I repeated it over and over in my head. I get that phrase, I really do and as the years go by I've learned to suppress the sadness and move past it must faster than before. But a goodbye is so much more than watching someone I love walk away. To me, it's a testament to how wonderful the time we spent together was and how much I appreciate their company. Ironically, I think one of God's life lessons for me, one of those master plans that He so often has a funny way of unfolding, was leading me into my life with my Marine because so much of this life is learning to cope with saying farewell. Unfortunately, this is the life my girls will lead for the majority of their lives...they'll be far away from most of the people they love and will come to know the sting of goodbye all to well. It's been a fear of mine, that because of the distance between my girls and their extended family, that they honestly wouldn't remember them in any sort of detail and that the time spent together would be an awkward and repeated introduction and less of a budding and growing relationship. But here's where I try to find my upside.  I believe that remembering people is what you make of it and at the end of the day, distance means nothing when you look at all the facets of a strong relationship. My life would be so empty if this weren't the case and on the contrary, my life is so full of love despite it's many goodbyes. The times that we spend with family are that reconnection that I always hope for and the memories we make are irreplaceable. I have confidence when I say that in all of Chris' comings and goings, there will never come a time when my girls don't 'remember' their dad. Yes, they will be frustrated with him at times when they have to say goodbye to yet another friend or watch their family members get on another plane. They'll be angry when they've got to move onto yet another school and start over somewhere new knowing no one. But they'll never not remember the good times we've all spent as a family, no matter HOW many times Chris has to head off on his own when duty calls. I won't let it happen. I just won't. Our house is full of pictures of loved ones near and far, our conversations our filled rehashing our favorite memories and our nights end with prayers for those we love scattered all over the country. I discovered a quote that I love to read over and reflect on when my days are long and my heart is aching. 'How lucky are we to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.' all my ramblings the moral of my story...this is what I will tell my girls when they cry and the lesson I'll stress when they'll inevitably be missing someone. When I say goodbye, I do not cry because I'm scared of being alone. I do not cry because I 'need' the help that comes from being surrounded by family or because I just can't do it all by myself. I cry because of how much the time spent together means to me and how much I will miss making new memories together. I now cry because I remember the pain that I saw in my little girl's face when she tried to cling to her Daddy and I feel it right down to the depths of my core when she begs her Auntie Mary and Auntie Annie not to go. But yes, how lucky are we, to have these amazing relationships that make goodbyes so hard. To have made memories that stir up such emotion and to have had such good times that keep us always wishing for more time. The beauty in my goodbyes is a testament to the strength of my relationships and I will always be grateful for the unique appreciation of family that comes with each farewell. I won't teach my girls not to cry...I'll just show my girls what is really worth crying about and hopefully one day my girls will understand too that the tears of goodbye are tears of joy when you get down to the root of it. And tears of joy are always okay in my book.
The smile that always amazes me.

My happy girls.


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