As I've written before , we're on the cusp of a cross-country move. Because of our usual summer research routine, in which we work at a west-coast research biology station for two months, we've been in transition for a long time now: living not at our old home, but not in our new home either (although I must admit, the biology station is familiar, welcoming, like a second home). Today we packed up our summer abode at the station to head back east for three weeks of packing our old home. Saying goodbye to summer friends is something we do every year, but I found this year especially hard, perhaps because it is a harbinger of sadder, more permanent goodbyes soon to come.
I'm interested in my two daughters' different approaches to the goodbyes. My younger, energetic nine-year-old looks forward. She's excited to see friends at home, excited to travel, can't wait to reunite with her guinea pigs and hamster that we left behind. My teen daughter looks back, taking last minute photos of the little girl she babysat over the summer, making sure she connects with everyone before she leaves, lamenting the places she didn't get to this summer and the activities she didn't do. The different visions are partly age-related, but my daughter's personalities and way of dealing with things shine through in the difficult process of saying goodbye.
I'm ready for this slow-motion transition to be over already. I'm questioning our decision to move our family via a 8-day car trip across country at the end of August, and just started looking into flights and car shipping companies... Although this drive sounded romantic and adventurous last June, and though I'd love to see Glacier, Mount Rushmore, and Yellowstone, I now think that seeing these sights in transition will take a lot of the charm out of them. After a summer of in-between, we need to take our next step forward. We have a lot to look forward to, and I know a lot of looking back is going to happen for years to come, but doing these things from a middle ground is not for the feint at heart.