Have you ever sat down and tried to figure out how many people you have said goodbye to over the course of your life? I’m not talking about casual meetings, but people who really meant something in your life and just drifted off, maybe because they moved, or they didn’t work where you did anymore, or they got married or had kids and became submersed in their family.
And when you’re a parent, that multiplies, because you miss the kids your kids have drifted away from. I tend to love my kids’ friends, and it can be hard when they wander off to other friendships.
Then there’s the internet. I had a great e-friendship with a woman once who was upset when her son was diagnosed with dyslexia. I had answered a post on a message board and told her all the good things that come with being dyslexic–they see multiple viewpoints and angles easily and are very empathic, so they make great friends and diplomats and marriage counselors. I told her my daughter’s dyslexia was a gift as well as a curse, and that I wouldn’t want her any other way. She had never read anything positive about the condition and was thrilled to connect. But eventually, we ran out of things to say and drifted apart.
My kids are entering the college years. Rachel is twenty and in college, and I feel a little guilty that I talked her into living at home. Did I really do it for financial reasons, or did I just want her here a little longer? Nick is about to start high school, and I know he’s going to gradually slip away into the big bad world. And of course Sheri, the rebel, does everything first. She’s off on a several-week long trip.
I hate it. I walk around my house sometimes and imagine it empty, and I can’t stand it. The backyard is already empty — no swing set, no trampoline, no little house, no big red dog. It’s bunnyland now.
Time moves on, and so often I’m left behind, grasping at it, trying to hold it back, adding one more person to the miss-list.