Teaching to Say Good-Bye

As the time of picking my best friend and her husband from the train station approached, the butterflies of anticipation and excitement awoke that piece of my heart that I keep numb so that it doesn’t hurt when I’m not by the people who are big in my life but who I only see once a year if I’m lucky.

I have been away from Mexico and her for more than a decade and I have learned to see photos of important events without crying. I have learned to quiet down the need to be by my people back in my native land but I had not ever thought about how to teach this ability to my children.

As my family and friends are introduced to their lives, my children enjoy every opportunity they have with them. They love the attention, they take advantage of their time together, they really like taking many photos with our “guests” and their little hearts open up and fall in love with them.

They don’t understand why we have such little time with such important people who showered them with love and their little heads don’t comprehend why we must say good-bye and aren’t able to see them and hang out in many, many months.

It took me years of going back and forth from the States to Mexico to somewhat detach myself from my life before college. It took many wet pillows to learn how to numb that part of my heart that longs for my family and friends away from me. How do I then explain to my children that although they loved having their super fun “aunt and uncle” here with us, we have to go back to being just the four of us? How do I dry their tears and quiet their pleads: pero mami ¿por qué no podemos ir a México en el avión hoy? (but mommy, why can’t we go to Mexico on the airplane today?). How can I expect them to learn how to numb their hearts only after a few times of falling in love with someone and then having to live apart from them?

It has always been hard to say good-bye but it’s even harder now that I have two little hearts that also ache and two pairs of eyes that also get teary. It’s been tough to keep a positive attitude around the children and their questions but at least I’m thankful to know they are loving and that they too care a lot about the important people in my life who live away.


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