The Good Parts of ‘Good-bye’

We plant, sow, harvest, and then pick up and move to a new climate/culture/people and start all over again. Our roots never have time to grow deep, but I imagine them broad and vast as we move all over. I’m a military spouse. We are a military family. This nomadic lifestyle is rather unique, and definitely not something I grew up with. From the age of 5, I stayed in the same town, same house, same schools. I actually wished I could move and have a fresh start a few times.

Fourteen years in to our life adventures, I have been the new girl many times over. Don’t get me wrong, there are great things about moving! I love the adventure! I love the new people, areas to explore, cultural subtleties, and foods. I love finding the best flower shop, parks, libraries, bakeries, hikes, and local favorites. I even like making a new house a home, finding new ways to organize and put new systems and routines in place.

I don’t like goodbyes. I am terrible with them. I unintentionally find myself emotionally withdrawing from friends and commitments. It’s a battle I fight every few years to stay connected and attached, even though it makes leaving that much harder. I have cried and cried leaving each place. I always wonder if I appreciated the little things enough. I always want to tell everyone a personal goodbye and express my heartfelt appreciation, but inevitably I leave with a stack of unfinished thank-you notes that I just couldn’t bear to complete and deliver.

I vow to be better the next time around, to jump right in to social circles and friends, and activities with my kids.  Truthfully, it is exhausting, but I also know there is no time to waste.  We move every few years which gives me a very short window to love and be loved.

My friends have given me great words of comfort and advice this time around:

  1. Mary Lynn told me to buy flowers to plant, annuals and perennials.  Live as though you will be there through their maturing and growing. This attaches you immediately to your surroundings and gives beauty to your daily environment and your neighbors as well. I like to think this is a bold statement of “I am here to stay! I am here now!” I will be taking this advice right away and have added “Research plants that grow well in Colorado” to my list of road trip readings. I also love knowing that my beautiful pots, brought lovingly from England, will continue to flower from Texas to Colorado with new plants.
  2. Kelsi and Deanna and Julie and Ben told me to focus on all the positives of the new place. New friends, new culture, new foods, finding a new gym, new walks, new festivals and local favorites. This has become a habit. I am always asking for and seeking recommendations from everyone I meet. It’s such a great way to get to know someone. You learn their favorites and they become endearing and trusted to you more quickly.
  3. Lynda reminded me that moving keeps you organized. So true! I look at everything knowing it will have to be unpacked and find a new place to be. This makes it much easier to pass along items that no longer serve me, but could be useful to others.  My pile for the charity shops has grown and grown, which means less boxes to unpack on the other end of the move.
  4. Krista and Tara reminded me to remember that God has a plan for me and my family. That there are people there that I need and that need me. This is the advice that brings me and my children so much peace. I never need worry if we are in the right place at the right time. We have prayed and loved and served all along the way, so I know and trust that God is leading us along. Words of a hymn always play through my head during these periods of upheaval and change.

I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, Over mountain or plane or sea; I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord; I’ll be what you want me to be.

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