Monday, November 26, 2007
Wagonwheel Goodbyes
After being here in Texas for eleven days, tomorrow we fly back home. We've been here long enough to experience every kind of weather - some days were in the 80's and sunny, then down to the 30's and snow flurries, grey rainy days and now back to sunfilled skies. We've eaten too much, slept in, been sleep-deprived, played games, knit, gone to church, hung out as a family, had one on one time with our kids and their families, taken road trips. We've been uptown, downtown, out of town and it's been wonderful in every which way.

But it's time to go home. Back to our real lives, to a slightly empty checkbook and a stack of bills, laundry, pet hair, appointments, etc. - the regular stuff that life is made up of. Back to the next year and a half of DH finishing his career, and time with our daughter and their family there, our church home, friends.

At the end of these visits there's always such a feeling of being torn - telling our son and his wife goodbye last night, I tried not to count up how long it will be til we're together again. Tomorrow we'll hug Sarah and Chris and their sweet family goodbye, hoping they can come for a visit while the snow is falling in Pennsylvania. Back at home another daughter and her family are looking forward to our return. We are looking forward to nights of meals shared, watching football games, going to church together, all the mundane, wonderful stuff that makes up life.

Every time we have to leave one group, and head to another, I find myself wondering how the pioneer women of old did it. How did a mother tell her daughter goodbye, and watch her pull away on a wagon loaded with her husband and all they owned, not knowing if they'd ever see each other again. I can't imagine. Did she go through her own belongings, gathering quilts and table linens, a stone crock or much-used rolling pin, trying to send a part of herself along on the wagon ride? Did she look a little longer at her daughter's or son's face, trying to etch it in her memory for later when they'd been gone months or possibly years? Last night I hugged my son one extra time and drank in what he smelled like. You miss the smells. Tomorrow I will take a last look at Sarah's kids, knowing they will grow too much before we see them again.

Today on the phone, talking to our daughter in Pennsylvania, I gave her a rundown of our visit here - the time with the realtor, where we see ourselves leaning to retirement in the near future. I told her, "I want to come back and not count every minute, not have every single thing we do hold too much weight. I want it to just be normal, everyday." She agreed - let's make every day count, but not so much it takes on a heaviness it shouldn't have to bear.

So we're heading back home tomorrow, after saying goodbyes, and looking forward to time with other family we hold dear. No big wagonwheel goodbyes for us - just savoring this life in small spaces of time.

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  posted at 5:45 PM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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