Goodbye, Farewell, Aufwiedersehen, Adieu…*

I have been preoccupied with goodbyes since last August, and they’re wearing me out.

Moving our Boy three hours away one day and our Oldest 17 hours away two days later was a terrible wrench. Life completely changed, and I grieved for weeks. Hence “Mom Goes On” as a coping tool. It helps to write out my feelings. Some.

I hung my hopes on Christmas, when all five of us would be together again. Family time, old jokes, much joy. But Oldest Sister was only home for a week. We were lucky to have her that long, and I now have to face up to the fact that the life stage I’ve dreaded for 23 years has arrived. She will no longer call our house “home base.” When her week was up, we had to say good-bye again and re-adjust to a smaller household, a different paradigm.

The Husband had a big good-bye, as well. He packed himself up and headed off for three weeks up north for his new job. That was rough – neither of us has ever had a job before that requires extended periods apart. But it was a positive change, and we were happy. For three days, that is… when he discovered that he’d broken his rib and had to come back home. Another readjustment of paradigm, and now we have to anticipate that huge goodbye all over again once he’s healed.

Over the weekend The Boy headed back to college for his winter/spring semester. We’ll see him occasionally in the next few months (and I’ll steel myself against those repeated goodbyes), and then he’ll return for the summer when we’ll forge a new normal again. After that extended time home I know it’ll be another difficult goodbye and readjustment.

One anchor during this time is Middle Sister, who has chosen to live at home during college. I love having her with us. Her classes resume today and she’ll be out of the house and wrapped up in school most of the time, but sometimes we can share a meal, a joke, a good movie. I’m thankful that’s one goodbye that’s in the distant future.

I’ve dealt with plenty of difficult parenting situations over the years. There’s no getting around the fact that it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. Even when your kids are well-behaved, high achievers, and generally happy and healthy there’s always something lurking around the corner that forces you to think frantically on your feet, close your eyes, hold your breath, and hope for the best. Never any guarantees that what you’ve done will work…you just keep trying and keep hoping.

I had no expectations that parenting would be easy. Equally, I always knew that when this “goodbye time” finally arrived, it would be the biggest, most painful thing of all. Doesn’t matter what language you say it in…I hate goodbyes.

*Quite funny end-note: Spell check wanted me to correct “aufwiedersehen” to “undernourished.” Not even close…


12 thoughts on “Goodbye, Farewell, Aufwiedersehen, Adieu…*

  1. Saying good bye to your kids is hard. Praise God I got smart and began attending a computer class and got savvy with my iPhone 5. Heck , I can FaceTime and text.
    Bug my boys and grandson via smart phone. I love your writing and content…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We had a long Skype session last night with my son, currently in England for study abroad. He’s eager to travel while he’s there, we’re cautious about his study obligations. You can feel the pull of independence, even from further away. It’s always a tricky balance to know how hard to hold on.


  3. I feel exactly the same and its nice to read your words and know that someone else understands how hard it is. Sigh…. Life is never easy, is it?
    Wishing you a great day!!!


  4. Even now, years after the kids have moved out and have had kids on their own, the good byes are as hard as ever – now having to say good bye to the grandkids, too! All three children are out of state for me – makes it hard.


    • Funny, I always knew this would be part of being a mom, and I always knew it would be hard…and yet it’s still a painful surprise. Possibly that’s because as the kids grew up, every time I thought about how much I would miss them one day I immediately forced myself to stop thinking along those lines. Too painful even way before the time actually came.


  5. Undernourished is what it feels like when having to say goodbye over and over. One time when I was in Seattle visiting my daughter while she was in college, I had to leave her behind. I forgot something, and went back to her apartment to find her sitting in the middle of her bed crying because we had to say goodbye. That was a long ride to the airport with tons of tears. The memory of that day is as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

    I keep trying to hang on to their happiness, and turn it into pride and a semi-sort of happiness for myself, that they are achieving their dreams. Goodbyes are hard and I would like to say they get easier. They don’t. I feel your heartache. I hope you find some peace knowing that you are a wonderful mom who raised independent children who know how to live a full life.


    • Thank you, April. I can clearly imagine how heartbreaking that tearful goodbye must have been, and how you must play it over and over in your mind. It does help, just a little, to know that other moms like you know what I’m dealing with.


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