When we arrived Thursday night, Courtney and Chris announced that they were moving to New Zealand. They have always wanted to live abroad, and this was a great opportunity for them to do just that. We were all a bit stunned, but excited for them nonetheless.
We spent Friday morning getting ready for the midday celebration at Uncle Tellius and Jan's house, and then the rest of the afternoon eating BBQ and swimming with the kids. Amber and I resisted getting into our suits at first, but after about an hour of watching the guys swim while we sweated in the heat, we gave in. I borrowed a suit from Jan, and Amber changed into the one she brought.
As a general rule, the only person who sees my thighs without fabric encasing them is Trevor, and this time was no exception. I wrapped the biggest towel I could find around my waist, and then left it there until I made it to the pool edge. Then, and only then, did I quickly drop the towel and dive in at the same moment.
I don't have body issues or anything, ya'll.
We had a great time swimming, and then we packed up and headed back to Mama and Daddy's for an evening of Canasta and spades. Chris is an excellent card player, and although he had never played Canasta before, he picked it up incredibly quickly. Usually Chris is pretty quiet. He's the newest member of the family, and since they live in Denver we don't all get together very often. But this trip, he was all over the smart aleck remarks and witty comebacks for which my family is famous.
Or infamous. Whatever.
I enjoyed getting to know him better, and feeling like he was really part of the family. We stayed up way too late playing cards and then we had to get up early for the sailing trip that we had planned with Amber and David. We met in Mandeville at 9 o'clock in the morning, and went sailing on Lake Pontchartrain on their 27 foot sail boat. It was the first time the "kids" had been able to get away and spend some time together without the constant stream of kids tugging at sleeves and needing a drink.
We stayed out all morning and leisurely sailed around the lake while we talked and laughed. Trevor was a little green around the gills in spite of his patch for motion sickness, but he made it through the morning okay. We were having such a good time that it was a little disappointing to have to turn around and head back in, but it was starting to get hot and we were glad to get into the air conditioned car.
We spent the rest of the day doing pretty much nothing, which was fine with me. Courtney and I had lunch with Uncle Chuck and an old friend of his, but beyond that we just laid around and looked at each other. Sunday morning we decided to forgo church services so that we could spend some additional time with Courtney and Chris before we headed back to Texas.
Courtney and I spent the morning preparing lunch in between packing to go home and dealing with the kids. When Mama and Daddy got home from church, we sat down for burgers and 4th of July leftovers. As is our custom, when lunch was over Trevor and I began to say our goodbyes so that we could get on the road for our 4 hour trip. I made the rounds to Amber and David, and then found Courtney for a quick hug goodbye.
Mid-hug, we both realized that this was really goodbye. As in "Courtney is moving halfway around the world and it might be years before I see her again" goodbye. We had been discussing the move all weekend. We talked about web cams and email. We reviewed the cost of plane tickets and how often we might be able to see one another. But I forgot one important thing.
We would have to say goodbye.
As we stood there and hugged, we both cried and just couldn't let go. We both wanted to comfort each other and kept patting each other on the back and saying things like, "I'll come visit" and "It's going to be okay", but we were still hanging on for dear life. We pulled apart and then started hugging again. I felt like a little part of my soul was being torn away, and the only way to get it back was to not let go of her.
But since we are not physically joined at the hip, we eventually had to let go and finish our goodbyes. I hugged everyone else, and then gave her one more quick squeeze before I got in the car, holding back the torrent of tears that were threatening to fall. I made it just out of the driveway before they came. My heart was breaking at the thought of this being our last time to see one another for an undefined amount of time.
About 45 minutes into the trip, Courtney sent me a text saying that she had tried to send me a picture, but forgot that my iPhone doesn't do multimedia messages. (It is so tempting to insert a rant here about the stupidity of Apple for not including sending pictures in text messages as part of the software for a $400 phone, but this post is not about my iPhone) I texted her back to tell her that I was not adequately prepared for our goodbye, and that I wanted a do over.
So, as soon as I find out when they are moving, I am going to use some frequent flier miles and go see her one more time. This time, I'm going to be prepared for the goodbye.