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Worse Than The Slow Removal Of A Band-Aid

We’re leaving on Saturday for our
new life in Texas, and I’ve spent what feels like the past
month slowly saying goodbye to everyone, one painful scene at a

I had a little party at the studio where I work(ed) to have a
chance to bid all my clients goodbye. This was sad and sentimental,
but not too much so since I’d never come back from maternity
leave and they’d all by and large moved on to some other
sadistic trainer. Then we’ve had little parties and
gatherings – a house church dinner, a brunch with good
friends, that sort of thing – that have been ways for us to
say farewell one piece at a time. This has by and large been good
for me, since I can always think, “Well at least I
haven’t yet said goodbye to (blank)!” But each scene
gets a bit tougher, each time feels a little harder, and a piece of
me wants to just rip the band-aid off already and get the pain over

I’ve also been snatching time where
I can to say goodbye to my beloved New York, which isn’t
easy. I do love this city for so many things, even as I can feel
myself becoming the tourist rather than the native here. I’ve
had lovely, unexpected opportunities to revisit forgotten
favorites: my hair dresser moved to a new neighborhood and I had a
chance to walk through a section I haven’t been to for ten
years, and when our house closing ended up being in Brighton Beach
(I know! All you other New Yorkers are sympathizing!) I had a
lovely unexpected gift that day – one more opportunity to
drive past the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. I love
that drive.

Of course, I’ve been eating my way through farewells, also
– chowing down on all my favorite foods. I think I’ve
personally bought out all the chocolate babka that Zabar’s
carries over the past month, and we’ve revisited all our
favorite takeout menus this past week.

Sunday we had the hardest farewell as a family – we said
goodbye to our church home of twelve years. With half the
congregation getting up to pray for us and a service almost double
in length so my husband got to sing all his favorite worship songs
one last time as worship leader, I felt like I went through a three
hour emotional wringer. To say my church has been my home and my
family here is not an understatement, and I feel the cutting of
those ties that bind even as we’re sent out to our next
church home, wherever that may be.

And then the toughest goodbye of all – seeing my best friend
Abby one last time. Abby came over on Monday to help pack and
wrangle kids and have one last hang-out with me, and I spent almost
the whole day dreading the moment she’d walk out the door. I
naively had visions of us sitting on the kitchen floor languidly
wrapping pots and pans in paper while digging in for one last deep,
heartfelt, face-to-face conversation, when the reality ended up
being that Abby corralled and entertained both kids while I ran
frantically packing everything I could.

Which is what I needed, but not what I needed, ya know?

And I know we’ll still be in constant touch through email and
phone calls; truthfully, we only see each other once every couple
of months right now as it is. But it’s the knowing that
she’s there if I need her that I’ll miss; she was at
the birth of both girls, on the other end of the phone when
I’d call at 2 a.m. in a post-partum panic, and meeting me for
brunch in the city just to cheer me up.

I’m a bit resentful of being a mother at this point, since it
forces me to stay right in the moment and not look at the bigger
picture of what’s going on; every day is a struggle from one
minute to the next, trying to find clean bowls for breakfast and
get the girls fed and space on the table to eat and favorite toys
to play with while simultaneously changing addresses and closing
accounts and arranging movers and packing. So I know that I’m
going to wake up on Saturday and go straight into survival mode:
get the girls up. Get them dressed. Make sure everything’s
packed. Make sure the cleaning lady’s got supplies before we
leave. Will the car be there on time? How do we get the cat through
security? I’m going to be drowning in the minutiae and
suddenly look up and see our plane’s landed and feel like my
whole grieving, my emotional goodbye to New York, has been robbed
from me. But no time to think about it, because we need to find our
bags and get a key to our new home and get air mattresses set up
and . . .

All these goodbyes are made tougher when you add Maddie into the
mix, of course. She understands we’re moving and is excited
about going to Texas since we talk it up madly and mention all the
cool things about our new house, the new parks, and so on. But
she’s having a hard time grasping the permanence of it and
keeps saying things like, “When we get back from moving to
Texas, I’ll see Naomi again.” I try to explain gently
that we’re not coming back to New York to live, and her chin
begins to wobble. One time, she wailed, “But I love New York!
And New York loves me!”

Madeleine’s hit that age where she really understands friends
and gets into playing with other kids instead of just next to them,
and it’s going to be tough to leave her friends. I’ve
made her two photo books – one all of pictures of her and
Naomi, and one of pictures of her favorite places in New York: the
museums, the zoo, the parks, and so on. Hopefully they’ll
help with the transition and make these goodbyes easier for her.

I know Madeleine will bounce back very quickly from this move;
it’s just the nature of kids to recover fast. I, on the other
hand, will need some time.


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