Saturday, January 9, 2010

Goodbyes and Being Chilled

I hate goodbyes. Some are worse than others.

One of my worst, probably the worst, was leaving my dad the day after my mother's funeral.

Saying goodbye to our friends and family in Arkansas in 1997, when we moved to Tennessee, was heart-wrenching.

When I left each of my older two children when Wife and I had taken them to start college, I was morose for days afterward. And each subsequent trip home and ultimate departure tugged at my heart.

With Daughter, I'm still there. She was home for almost a month over this semester break and we had a really good time. She and I went to cycling class a number of times to work off the holiday excess and many evenings, with her younger brother otherwise occupied, she was here with Wife and me and we had some good visits.

We took a little unexpected trip to Florida for the Outback Bowl, then from there to Arkansas, during her time off, a whirlwind trip filled with laughter.

Yesterday she left again. As usual, there was a flurry of activity as she departed, getting laundry done at the last minute, filling her car with gas and replacing her wiper blades. We had a quick bowl of soup and then she was gone.

Between Older Son and Daughter, we have done this for about six years now. And still, as Wife and I hug her and watch her drive out of the driveway and down the street, we fight back tears.

We kept ourselves occupied after she left. We went and looked at the new carpet we hope to ultimately purchase for the upstairs (maybe this year?), we went to a movie and we went and got something to eat.

We got a text message late in the afternoon that said nothing but, "Here!"

For now, Daughter's "here" is "there." That's just all there is to it.


On the home front, Younger Son announced to us just recently that we have been informally voted by his peers as the most "chilled" parents.

I furrowed my brow a bit and looked at Wife who immediately asked Younger Son for a bit of translation.

We learned, to our delight, that this distinction is a good thing. It means that we don't get uptight when his friends hang out at the house and we (usually) have food on hand. And while we are pleasant enough, we don't inject ourselves too terribly much into the goings on. As long as nothing is on fire or the decibel level is within reason and neighbors are not calling the police, we stay pretty calm and keep a safe distance.

So Wife and I are chilled. And we're happy with that.


Kelly said...

I can relate, Bob. I didn't see my younger daughter from the end of August until Thanksgiving. I was fortunate enough to have her here 5 nights then and for 3 full weeks over Christmas. We're very close and do lots together when she's here. It was hard saying goodbye last Sunday. Hey, it's not like we don't talk every day, though!

Funny, I think I've actually gotten closer to our older daughter since she moved out, in some ways.

Boys are a whole different matter. At least my son is good about calling, texting and staying in touch in general. (and not just when he needs something!)

Glad to hear about your positive "chilling" status!

quid said...

Mine are both here, and I know I'll start feeling this way when Andrea moves to Louisville. Sigh.

Chilling is good, Bob. Very good. However, see the Lake Superior State post to find out the fate of "chillaxin' ". You want to stay at chilling and not advance to "chillaxin".


Debby said...

Yeah, I totally knew you were getting 'most chill parents' prize. Me and the kids all discussed it. We hang out and discuss stuff. Because I'm cool too.


Hey. It's my lie. Let me tell it my way.