Today, at their final play date, one of Isabel's best friends squeezed her so tight in a bear hug as we were packing up to leave that she made Isabel cry. At 2, Isabel doesn't understand the ferocity behind her 7-year-old friend's hug. She doesn't understand that they won't be right across the street anymore. She doesn't realize that there won't be any more late afternoon backyard play dates. She doesn't get that she won't get to spend a few hours or a day at their house while her mama runs errands or goes to doctors appointments. Meanwhile, her friend understands perfectly.
Last week, I gathered with the moms on our street in a backyard over sangria and hippy juice* and snacks and an ice cream cake that read "Don't Go".
Three weeks ago, with some of our church community gathered in our pastor's living room, we witnessed the looks of shock, surprise, maybe even some disappointment as we broke the news. Later, we wrote a simple email to the people on the various committees we served on in that community, spreading the news as needed. We had a chance to speak personally with a few people.
Every announcement, every conversation. It doesn't get easier.
On Saturday, we start a new chapter of our life as a family. It's exciting in the way change often is. I'm looking forward to all the good that will come of this.
I am all too aware that, on Saturday, while something new and potentially wonderful is beginning, something just as wonderful and so important to me is ending. Right now, it's hard to see past the ending to the new beginning.
* Virgin for me, of course.