Saying So Long
How do you say goodbye?
It’s a lesson I’ve tried to teach my daughter over the years. Yes, she has said goodbye to her teachers, close friends who’ve moved, beloved and cherished pets. What happened the other day was a different kind of farewell. My daughter just graduated from college and it’s bittersweet to say so long to a place that has been a home for four years. Even more so to leave two roommates that are now family.
The girls have done much more than live in an apartment together. They’ve grown up together during the years when their families were far away. They shared their hopes and dreams, fears and traumas, joys and sorrows during a time when they were taking those first shaky steps as independent young women.
They’ve also shared the world’s traumas that were a little too close for comfort including the Boston bombing. Then there were natural disasters including the hurricane, which coincided with their move in day! And the record-breaking snowfall in Boston. As well as the countless days (over the past two years) where Bostonians were mandated to stay off the streets for their own safety.
They grew from it all. In the coldest parts of the winter, there was often a warm bowl of soup waiting when you got home. If the news was scary, there was another roommate on the sofa next to you. When school was stressful there was an open ear and heart at the kitchen table.
These girls were not just an amazing support system for each other, they were a long-distance mom’s best friend! If one of them wasn’t around, we moms could easily ask either of them, “Is she OK? “ The moms trusted their answers because the happiness of everyone in that little apartment meant something to each of them.
Their friendships were beautiful, real, wild and complex and also delicate. Living together brings all the little life issues to the bigger moments. It warms my heart to know that the girls weren’t alone and could walk into another room and find someone who deeply cared.
Last week, graduation was a happy and sad event as the girls are leaving Boston and scattering to different parts of the world. They’re starting new lives as they continue on their separate paths to make a mark, and a difference, in the world. There was the inevitable packing up of the apartment as they also put away their day-to-day bond. No, it will never be the same. As usual, time moves us along and people scatter. Of course, there are phones and iChats, but it will never be the same as walking in that front door and saying, “I can’t believe what happened to me today.”
This is another life lesson our kids learn. Friends will come and go. Bonds will strengthen and occasionally break.
How many of you moms reading remember an old friend you haven’t spoken with in years? Did you remember to keep in touch? Did you have time? Could you still reach out?
I shared with my daughter the importance of cherishing the beauty of close friendships as one of life’s true gifts, and the importance of adding action to those feelings. In other words, pick up the phone, make a plane reservation, and don’t allow too much time to slip by. She already knew this. She’s been an old soul. Always.
As I write this, my eyes are welled with tears as I think about one of my best friends from college and how we lost 25 years of precious time. We reconnected two years ago when her beloved mother passed on. Another friend from college reached out to me to let me know, as she feared I wouldn’t hear the news. I literally dropped everything and ran right over to be by her side. I would have traveled around the world to do so. When our eyes finally met, we agreed in an unspoken look (that only old friends know) to never lose touch again. We haven’t. And we won’t.
When the last box was packed in Boston just days ago, I hugged the girls and told them that I loved them. And I thanked them for being there for my daughter and for each other.
Ines (one of her roommies) left a little note in each of the girls’ rooms the last day reminding them to keep striving for their dreams and to remember that the other two are only a phone call away no matter where their journeys take them – and that they must vow to call each other.
I guess that’s how you say goodbye.
With a note.
And a promise.