The end of the school year and raw feelings are rising.
Moves are looming and goodbyes are not far off. It is tough on adults but tougher on kids. There is no easy way to transition. There are tools that you can use but ultimately the tears will fall as the realisation dawns that life is about to change.
The Quote in the photo I have shown above comes from the fictional character Peter Pan.
"never say goodbye, because saying goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting."
I disagree with this completely. When you say Goodbye you do not forget. Far from it - you instead take away many memories of your time together and these add to the person you will become as an adult.
For me, at this time of transition, it is even more important to help my daughters understand that they are still in the first stages of the journey of their lives, and everyone they have met adds to a chapter.
This last week the feelings and thoughts of my daughters, aged eight and ten have been rising to the surface. It is always just before lights out at night time when they open up and let out their inner feelings and thoughts. It is so important as a parent to just be there for them and hold them and listen.
At this age there is no use pacifying with empty promises, what you need is an action plan, something to work on together. As they are old enough to know the score. To use the expression we learnt on our our last expat location - "this isn't their first rodeo". They understand that the move is happening, and soon. Time is running out.
They also know that they must say goodbye to friends they have grown close to. We prepare the tools to say goodbye at school - passing on contact details, emails, skype contacts etc and promises to keep in touch. This helps.
But they are older now, and they look back to what happened after our last move. The first year we did manage some Skype calls with friends. Then time zones and life got in the way and they have dwindled to nothing. Out of site out of mind has been apparent. But then the kids were all 3 years younger. Writing skills were not so adapt. We did have a wonderful meet-up with one family in Paris who made it across the Atlantic and it was like a day hadn't passed since we last saw them. But then when the farewell came again it was tear-filled and more emotional than the time before.
This time the move is not so far, so it is far more likely the friendships can continue as we will also be living in a location that many international friends have on their bucket lists to visit. We can also return for holidays far more easily to the region we are leaving.
Time to now just take a deep breath, give out many hugs, understand the emotions and make action plans to work our way through it. Roll on the weekend!
Is it more painful to leave or to be left behind?
“…more people are leaving this year, too. It raises up a difficult question: Is it more painful to leave or to be left behind?
In truth, I don’t think it matters. Tears are going to be shed from both sides and people are going to be sad and lonely, having to say goodbye to more people from our precious class. Our special ‘family’. No matter which ones of us are leaving, we all share the same empty feeling when we have to say goodbye to friends this close to us. We put it off for as long as we can, laughing and joking. We try to have fun while it lasts- because that’s just what we do. We’ll milk as much fun out of this for as long as we can.”