Change is never easy. It doesn't matter if it's something you've been working towards for a year or something you've avoided for a lifetime. Change is hard. And goodbyes are even harder.
Two weeks ago we emptied our townhouse in Fairfax and made the move 2 hours south to Richmond. It is something I've wanted ever since we moved to Fairfax 6 years ago. But my kids? Well, they weren't looking to make any changes.
They had been through multiple goodbyes. They had their last day at school, they had their final playdates and sleepovers with close friends, they had their last games and performances, and they spent their last day on Wedgeway place mostly at my neighbor's house. My awesome, super-woman, neighbor who can do it all. She kept my dogs all day while the movers loaded the truck. She brought us lunch. And she entertained my kids while all of their belongings were packed away.
We put the last few items in our cars and I walked over to her house to get the kids and the dogs. I knew this would be the hardest part. And as I watched her daughter throw her arms around Ainsley and cry, I couldn't really hold back the tears either. I watched as two almost 10 year-olds said goodbye to their oldest friend, and it crushed me.
Ainsley didn't cry when she said goodbye to any of her other friends or at the last day of school or when we said goodbye to the townhouse. But as we walked out the door it all came out and she climbed in the car trying hard to catch her breath.
Then, with fresh tears, I walked Freddie the opposite direction to say goodbye to his neighbor friend. He mumbled goodbye and gave him a hug and I struggled desperately to keep it together. As the door shut, Freddie's face crumbled and I added him to the car sobbing.
And not to be left out, Cohen picked this time to lament the loss of his daycare friends and teachers. It was rough and in that moment I wanted to reverse it all. Say never mind. Unload the truck and stay in that little townhouse forever.
But you can't do that. You can't stay in the same spot forever because change is scary and painful. You can't avoid blooming because you're afraid to grow.
I stood in the driver's side window watching hearts break and tears fall and I wanted to take all of that pain away, but somehow in that exact same moment I knew this was exactly what we had to do. Life does not remain static. Life is ever evolving. That is an agonizing, terrifying, and wonderful thing to learn.
I could keep my kids in the same spot forever, but life would still change. Cohen would eventually leave his beloved babysitter for kindergarten. Every year my kids get new teachers and new classmates. A favorite neighbor or best friend could move away. Then there is always the inevitability of a child leaving home. Life is never going to look the same year to year, or even day to day. And even though that's a hard thing to move through, it's also exciting and amazing. To know that you can move forward in life and have new experiences and unexpected adventures, but still have those people and places to return to if you want or need to.
In the two weeks since we've left the friends and school and neighbors that we know and love, we've made new friends. We love our new house. We've had new adventures. It doesn't change how much we love and miss our previous life, but it doesn't mean we can't enjoy this new one. We can do both.
Down the road, when my kids are settled and not missing Fairfax so much, I hope they remember the awesome adventure. I hope the pain of the heartbreak fades. And I hope they learn that good or bad, this too shall pass - so enjoy the good and don't dwell on the bad. Life can change in a moment and it could all look different in the morning.