The Goodbye Girl

Her mother remembers that even before Julia was born, she was kicking to get out. Today as she leaves for Marine boot camp, we shared another of the many “good-byes” reserved for all parents.

It began on that morning at day care when she gleefully accepted the first of many adventures away from us. And now, separations later, we bid farewell once again to a child who has always been eager for a different place, a new space to explore and conquer.

There is no consolation for the loss of a child, whether it is from tragedy or the necessary leaving home they all must do one day. Even with their glib assurances that they’ll be back, we know better.

Our parents give good advice when they tell us to enjoy our children while they are young because they quickly grown up. What they neglect to say however is that they not only grow up, they also go away.

Each goodbye prepares for the next and each successive goodbye becomes more difficult because there is more distance every time. Perhaps it’s my age or the rapid departure of my children but I’ve put up a new sign on my office wall to keep me in remembrance of what’s important. It says,

Friends that are in the Lord never see each other for the last time.

For the moment it helps me deal with the departure of my goodbye girl.