This week, I have been experiencing what some call "all the feels." Emotions everywhere. Why? Well, because this finally happened.
I have been attempting to "leave well" and follow some of the tips I read in this great article back in June when leaving still seemed so far away. (Here is a link to the article, if you're curious; it's fantastic.)
Does moving ever get easier? I've tried to let people know how much they have meant to me. I have thrown three good-bye parties (and a baby shower!) in the past four weeks. I have written cards and notes expressing my appreciation. I made time in my super busy moving schedule to eat dinner and meet for lunch with friends. And I've given a lot of hugs.
I still feel sad for me and guilty for others. I remember when we were living in Cincinnati, and it was prior to that fateful day in October 2012 when Jeff received that email from LinkedIn announcing openings in the Foreign Service. It was back when I still thought I would live, raise my children, and die in Cincinnati. I remember when my best friend moved, and I was the one who remained. I actually dealt with a type of separation or loss depression. Nothing medication worthy, but it affected my emotions. Every time I drove past where I would have turned to go to her house, or every time I wanted to stop by to have our kids play together while we chatted about everything, or every time I turned around at play group and she wasn't there, or every time I looked over my shoulder at Zumba and she wasn't there, or every time I read an interesting article about some foreign country and she wasn't there to share it with. She wasn't there. And I still was. That is a specific kind of pain that is not really alleviated by keeping in touch and writing letters.
And now I'm creating that same kind of pain for friends here. I'm leaving a Mimi-sized hole in their lives, just like she left an Amy-sized hole in mine.
It is hard to be the person left behind; however, I don't regret any of the friendships I have made here. Those relationships have enriched my life, made me a better person, and helped me grow.
I have moved a lot in my life, but this move is different in a few ways. First, obviously, because I'm moving to a different country. But second, also, because Jill is old enough to actually realize what is happening. Daniel kind of does, and I think he will miss some of his buddies, but he's three (almost four!). He'll get over it pretty quickly when he makes new buddies.
And Jill will make new buddies too, but she really knows what leaving means now. And it is sad to think about how she barely remembers her good friends from Cincinnati, and soon the friends that are so important to her here will be barely remembered.
Jill hasn't complained or expressed verbally that she is upset, but she's had a pretty short fuse recently and is very tired and emotional at the end of school these days. Poor girl. She has needed extra grace.
Alice has been a champ—napping at the hotel for me, napping at friends' house, just going along with the flow and playing. I'm super grateful for that. Now if only she would stop making so many messes. Then she would be the easiest toddler ever. That's too much to ask for though, I'm sure.
I'll probably think of more reasons I love Virginia after I am gone, but I wanted to list some now on my last day here.
I have loved being so close to Washington DC and all of the national monuments. Likewise, I have loved learning some of the American history that occurred in this area.
I have loved my townhouse. My dear tall, skinny house. You were perfect for us these past two years.
I have loved my neighborhood: the pools, the sidewalks, the parks. It has been great to be able to walk to the shopping plaza that had so many convenient stores: a grocery store, a Goodwill, a pharmacy, countless restaurants, a McDonald's, a Tuesday Morning, a Gold's Gym, a UPS store, a tailor, a dry cleaner, a car wash, a gas station, and so much more. And my bank right across the street! It was just a fabulous location.
I have loved Jill's school. I was incredibly nervous to have Jill leave me and spend all day with strange adults who I didn't know, but it has been a fantastic experience. Jill's teacher was amazing, and the school was just fantastic. I loved that they did a kindergarten summer program, so Jill had two weeks of half days to acclimate to school life, so when she started in the fall, she wasn't as lost in the sea of over 1,000 students they have there. I love that instead of just learning about Christmas, this unit she has been studying Christmas, Kwanzaa, Eid al-Fitr, Diwali, and Hanukkah. I loved that her closest friends at school are of Philippine, Indian, and Afghan backgrounds.
I have loved the spring time with the numerous, and varied, flowering trees.
I have loved our ward (Mormon congregation) here who welcomed us with open arms and treated us like family. They have been so helpful with this move and so kind during all of our time here.
I have loved and been very grateful for friends who accepted me and loved me.
Fairfax County, Virginia—you've been wonderful.