I cram more things into the suitcase, carefully wrapping breakable items in shirts and sweaters. Piles of our life slowly disappear into the large box that will zip closed and be wheeled through the airport. The items of our life pushed and squeezed into 10 pieces of luggage: We are leaving tomorrow.
I have trouble carrying the weight of this.
We’ve known the date for 12 weeks and yet it still seemed to surprise us in the end. The rush to buy the last-minute items, to see if we had all that we needed. Did you buy a gift for that person? Do you think we need an extra one of these? The careful planning and eleventh-hour buys all jumble together, pushed and prodded to make space.
Then the backpacks for the plane ride. A change of clothes in each one, in case motion sickness gets the better of us and we end up wearing our lunch. A book to read, a stuffed animal to snuggle, a small snack. Find all the containers of liquid (hand-sanitizer, lotion…) and put them in a ziplock baggie. Yes, you can pack your journal and yes, please pack your headphones.
Leaving: Ready or Not
We are leaving tomorrow and I am ready and I am not. The time has been so sweet, the visit so right.
Yet my life, our life, is somewhere else right now and we long to return there. This would all be much easier if we didn’t have to say goodbye.
A fitful sleep, an incessant alarm, and now we leave today. Find all the small details, the hair bands and playing cards. Make sure to clean up and straighten and organize. Eat a good meal, probably should be vegetables. Pack the toothbrushes in a carry-on. Did you pack the charger?
WHEN LEAVING IS HARD
We’re leaving today. And as long as I only think about leaving, I will be sad. When I think about the going-to, what we are returning to in the place where our life really exists, then I have something to look forward to.
One last photo all together. Then a quick photo of the suitcases, just in case. We ride to the airport and we say again what a great time this was.
Next the suitcases, with all our things and our best-laid plans, are checked away. We are left with our backpacks, literally the packs on our backs, and our toothbrushes, and the hope that it will all turn out alright.
We say a last goodbye. It’s okay to cry, liquid emotion as evidence that this is hard.
The leaving doesn’t get easier. We always miss those we love.
We are going now and now it’s only forward. We wind through the maze and chaos of the security check and empty our pockets, everything x-rayed. Then we find our gate and wait to board, remembering to stretch and use a normal bathroom one last time before the next 10 hours.
When we are in our seats, seatbelts buckled and safety instructions playing, we really know we are leaving.
We’re going home.