I seem to have been saying goodbye forever. Well no that’s not true, but quite a long time. In fact, I have ended up feeling a little embarrassed about the goodbyes. It seems our departure has been a long time coming (we announced our intention to go travelling over a year ago) and I have wondered more than once in the last couple of weeks if our friends might be thinking ‘Have you not gone yet?? Hurry up and clear off!’
The goodbyes started for me a month ago when I spent a few days with my work family at BridgeFest. I was signing off work for a year. I’ve never done that before. In fact, apart from my three maternity leaves of around 9 months each, I’ve had a job ever since I was 12 (and have announced this to the girls on several occasions when explaining why I feel I’m overdue some time off – they are not impressed). Saying goodbye to my friends at work felt a bit like going off to have another baby and so was vaguely familiar and reassuring.
Having left work, my focus in the last month has been on packing up the house (we are renting it out for the year we are away), preparing for Keith’s 50th birthday party (which we had at home for 100 people three days before moving out…) and the girls leaving school – particularly Lola who was finishing year 6 and leaving her much loved friends and teachers at Marshgate. All of this involved many goodbyes; to our house, our belongings and creature comforts, to our wonderfully supportive friends, to the Marshgate community and finally our family.
Following an intensely emotional and exhausting last week with Keith’s party (5am finishes take a lot longer to get over these days!) leaving home and finishing school, we now find ourselves all cried out, living at our friends the Van Dyks, having said goodbye to almost everyone but still with four days to go until we get on that plane.
Although it feels a little strange – almost as if we are caught between two different times and the return of autumnal weather in July is testing our minimal travelling wardrobe, I am grateful to have this time to decompress a bit, get some sleep and prepare to step into our adventure on Friday.
There will be no one here on Friday morning to say goodbye to. And I think that’s exactly how I want it.