My dad's least favorite job in the "dad" department is taking his kids to the airport.
It's not the traffic.
It's not the distance to the airport.
It's not the expense of gas.
It's not the inconvenient time of departure.
It's the having to say "goodbye" part.
Those are never fun.
I have rediscovered recently, though I've known this for a long time about myself, I am much like my dad in this regard - I hate saying goodbye. This primarily deals with people, but even things - classes, opportunities, jobs, etc - have this effect on me. If you give your all to something, then saying goodbye and letting go of it isn't easy (I'm thinking of dance teams I've been a part of, study abroad opportunities, my mission, certain callings, etc - intangible but meaningful things). It's particularly bad because I am what you might call a human version of an "M&M": hard candy exterior, soft interior. There aren't too many things that crack that outer shell of mine, but having to say goodbye to people is definitely one of them, which leaves the interior in a bit of mess. So in addition to saying goodbye and realizing that I have to come to grips with some sort of parting - temporary or permanent - I also struggle to maintain some kind of composure so as not to freak out other people who are simply going about their everyday lives. What can I say? I don't love dramatic spotlights.
I guess this is on my mind because I've had to say a lot of goodbyes to my two favorite people over the last couple months - Steve and the Bug. They came to see me in Bloomington this weekend, and even though it was a very quick trip, I loved every minute of having them here. They just left (gotta time the departure for optimal napping...it's a pretty substantial drive with a one-year old) and I feel like the gas left in my "goodbye" tank is just about spent. Fortunately, this was the last goodbye for the "Dutch 2013" adventure. My program finishes this Friday and I'm heading back to C-bus on Saturday. There are families, parents, kids, siblings, partners, etc. out there who have to say much harder goodbyes more regularly than I do, and I tip my hat to those people and wish them continued strength to do what they have to do. However, I never want my family to think that it's easy for me to say goodbye - that I'm hardened to the effects of saying goodbye because we've gotten good at it lately. It's still not easy for me. The two-week stretches between seeing them, and the "goodbyes" of every-other-weekend visits that came to an end much too quickly have become poignant mile markers in my life that have made me realize how valuable time with loved ones really is. If there is one thing that I rarely take for granted, it's time spent with loved ones. Numerous close calls on the Irvine home front taught me long ago that time is precious - even mundane, ordinary, day-in and day-out kind of time. This experience has only added further understanding to something I already knew, and I'm grateful for it. Regardless of saying goodbye for a couple hours, a couple days, a couple weeks or even years, I sure hope I never take for granted the time I get to spend with my loved ones leading up to the goodbyes that will inevitably come.
And on that happy note, I will say that Bloomington has treated me very well. Updates with photos will come soon - just have to survive some final presentations and final exams....in Dutch! Tot ziens! =)