If it weren't for a healthy dose of cynicism, I'd be a mess right now
Only 10 days remain until we leave for London and I should by all right be focused on sorting and organizing our belongings for shipping and storage Instead, I am up to my ears in social engagements as we try to fit in final visits with more friends and family members than I can count. Julia has playdates scheduled for every day, and on some days she's juggling two different sets of plans. Evan's got his share of dates set up as well. And as for me, I am doing drinks with one set of friends tonight, going out for dinner with a second set on Saturday and fitting in meals with 4 or 5 other sets of friends and family in the next week. I barely have time to breathe, let alone think about packing. And still, my phone keeps ringing and my inbox keeps flooding with requests from people to set something up before we depart.
I should be touched. I am touched, and incredibly appreciative of the outpouring of love and support our community of friends and family has demonstrated since we announced our impending departure. And yet, I'm also a little put off. Not by the fact that my life is full of such wonderful people, certainly; I'm incredibly grateful for that. But for every friend who I frequently see and whose presence I will honestly miss on a daily basis, there is another friend who I never see who suddenly must get together now that I am leaving. "Even though we rarely see or talk to each other, I consider you a very good friend and you hold such a special place in my heart," an email I received today read. It was easily the dozenth time I've read or heard a variation of that thought in the past month. And every time I read or hear it, I want to scream "well then why haven't I seen you for months or even years?"
When we were debating the wisdom of this move, one of the deciding factors for Paul was the fact that he never sees any of his friends any more. We're all so busy with young children and daily life that people who we used to see on a regular basis have become once-a-year engagements for us. "If we come home once or twice during the year and see them all, we'll be ahead of the game," he reasoned. As a stay at home mom, I naturally see my Mommy friends a lot more often than that, but I had to agree that he made a good point. I genuinely like and enjoy the friends I've made since my kids were born. But I know how easy it was to meet people through my kids and I'm confident that I'll be able to do that again in London. With a few notable exceptions, I suspect that even though I'll miss them, I'll get along just fine without my friends for a year or two.
It's hard not to feel sad during our current whirlwind tour of goodbyes. It's hard not to look at all of the familiar faces that surround me and mourn the distance that will soon separate us. It's hard not to wonder if we will be blessed with even a fraction of these friendships abroad. It's hard not to think about what I'm leaving behind. But it's also damn hard not to feel just a little bit cynical about the friends who are coming out of the woodwork, too. Yes, I'll miss them. Just as I've missed them for the past several years when I haven't seen them. London, New Jersey, it's all the same if we don't bother to pick up the phone.
Too cynical? No doubt. But if this line of thought keeps me from drowning in a puddle of my own tears as I say 10 days' worth of constant goodbyes, then it's worth it.