This has been a week filled with farewells and final moments. We had Gracie's birthday party last Saturday, which allowed us to say goodbye to our friends. It's been a long time since we were all together...Kenneth and Kellye, Chris and Ali, Mike and Heather...with all of the kids running around under foot and having a great time. We enjoyed visiting with everyone and being able to open our home one last time before the move.
Then Friday my friends from work took me out after work for lunch and to hang out. We went to Chuy's (mmmmmm) around 1pm and didn't leave until almost five! They gave me an incredibly generous gift card that enabled me to purchase a Kindle 2 from Amazon. I can't wait to get it next week!!! It was so much fun to be with these women that I have come to love and respect. It's not often that we are given the opportunity to work with a group of people with whom we can also be friends. These women that work closely with every day...Mary Ann, Linda, Sam, Mary, Gayle, Janet and Chanda...make getting up in the morning worth it. I never dread going to work and I am constantly laughing and being encouraged while I am there.
These women have seen me through my pregnancy with Grace and her birth, the deaths of Gramps and Uncle Tellius, and all the ups and downs life has thrown at me in between. They have been faithful to tell me when to mind my own business, and when I have stuff stuck in my teeth after lunch. I count each one as my friend, and know that no matter how far away I may move that they will always be there for me. I've never been so sad to leave a job, knowing that I'll probably never be able to recreate that sort of perfect workplace chemistry in my lifetime. But it was good while it lasted, and I have the best memories of them to pull out from time to time and revisit when I am homesick.
Then Saturday we had 22 of Trevor's colleagues over for a party so he could say goodbye to them. It was sort of a joke because the name of the party was "Let's All Experience Trevor's Daily Commute". For those of you familiar with the Houston area, we live about 45 miles east of Houston, and Trevor works at the Beltway and 290.
If he were making that commute during rush hour (oh I laugh at the singular usage of that word), it would be about an hour and a half one way. As it is, he leaves the house each morning at 5:15 am to avoid all of that, and so that he can get off early enough to pick Gracie up from the church in the evening. So all of his friends made the journey and they were all appropriately appalled at how long it took.
We had a really good time playing games and eating. Three friends stayed until about 9:30 pm because we were out on the deck with a box of Trivial Pursuit cards just asking the questions. The entire thing went off without a hitch, and I was able to meet Trevor's boss from Russia, who did not speak a lick of English. Trevor taught the kids to say "hello" in Russian, and I think it pleased him that they tried.
So, today we dismantled the swing set. We knew that we couldn't take that massive thing with us to Oklahoma, and so we decided to give it to Will and Charly so that Nick and Alex could enjoy it. Once it was out of the yard there was just this big, empty space out there between the two pecan trees. The place where our kids spent hours swinging, climbing and imagining the day away was suddenly gone. I didn't think that it would bother me, but it did. Just like seeing our fireplace without it's mantle feels like a little death. (Amber took it home with her to Louisiana...Gramps made it when the fireplace was built, and she wanted to use it over her fireplace)
The last straw was when I ran out to the store for a few groceries later in the afternoon, and then dissolved into tears as I approached our driveway. I've known for a long time that we were leaving, but seeing the house sitting there expectantly waiting for me to come home was more than I could bear. I just sat in my car and cried for a few minutes. I've been pushing all of this down as I've made plans and kept moving forward, but now that planning is over and all that's left to do is say goodbye.
It's turning out to be harder than I thought.