A child arriving home from summer school is once again a perfect delight. The child departing for college for the first time is also, once again, the perfect angel. It’s a precious time of appreciating the best in each other. Irritations become querks you love. Frustrations evaporate. Complaints are forgotten. The annoying ‘small stuff’ is irrelevant. We can only see the good.
The arrival is full of excitement, relief, hugs, laughter, chatter. It’s simple. It’s joyful. Words of love and delight flow easily. We’re pretty good at this part.
The departure is often a mixed stew of uncertainties, unknowns, and questions. What will it be like when they are gone? Will the quiet space they leave behind seem too loud? Will the tidy room seem too empty. Words of closure and love get stuck. We’re not as good at this.
To cope, we build a bridge to the next visit. We fill goodbyes with plans for the next hello, instead of proper farewells. No need to get so heavy. We’ll see you again soon, right?
There are milestone farewells that deserve more than a see-you-next-time. We mustn’t miss these. They may not pass us by a second time.