Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stop this Train - Transitions and how they effect kids (and me)

Goodbye, Goodbye, GoodbyeI spent last weekend at "home" in Denver with my parents and my youngest two siblings, thanks to old frequent flier miles that my Dad found. It's probably my last time with them this year before they head back overseas. That means three times this year... which is pretty good when you have a spread-apart family like mine.

It was a great weekend. Mom and I did a lot of cooking for Dad's birthday, we took a long walk in their beautiful neighborhood with a view of the mountains, Dad's party was fantastic, mom and I spent hours helping my sister pick out a beautiful purple prom dress, and I got to spend time just chillin with the fam.

It's precious. Mom told me a story that I was thinking about today, something that struck her from a session with Matt's therapist after discussing how Matt can sometimes strongly cling to people.

The therapist asked my mom to tell him about the times my family has moved, so my mom told him. The therapist looked at my mom and said incredulously, "Do you not get why he clings to people? He doesn't know whether he will see someone again in a day, a week, a few months, or a few years. Of course he clings, it's a self-defense instinct after so much transition, and it just shows that he really likes this person and wishes they'd stay in his life."

A Goodbye
I chuckled when mom told me that, because I knew why she was telling me - I'd expressed the same thing to my mom many times. Goodbyes have been the great grief of my life as well, but I of course am older and developmentally more able to process through my own emotions about the whole thing. Matt is just acting on instinct.

It really IS hard to have said goodbye so many times. I think of American kids, who all leave home and go often college just like I did, so why was it such a bigger deal to me? Well, because "left home" in some senses many times before, and I also wouldn't ever be able to "come home" to the same town and people. Because of transitions, I too can bond super quickly and find goodbyes very very painful. On the other hand, I can put a guard on my heart and attempt to not care at all about a place or people.

The Thing About Goodbyes... [232/365]

So, I feel for my little brother, dealing with that grief in his own way. In a few years my parents will probably have to settle down in the US indefinitely with him, and I only hope that some of us siblings end up in the same place, and that there is some semblance of a family home. I hope that for all of us, because I know we all long for it. The parents want to be near their kids and future grand kids. Us kids want to see each other more than twice a year. I'd like to be able to just go out for coffee with my mom when I need advice.

I was thinking about all of that and Matt when John Mayer's song "Stop This Train" came on this morning. In my head I pictured my "leaving home" moment, which was in Bali after an organizational retreat we were at. My whole family, all 7 of them, along with two of my dearest friends Rach and Ken were gathered in the airport in a tangled head of arms and weeping eyes as I walked away from them through the airport lines, feeling very much alone. It was my goodbye. That was one of Matt's first transitions.


See once in a while when it's good
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
'til you cry when you're driving away in the dark.

Singing stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take this speed it's moving in
I know I can't
Cause now I see I'll never stop this train

Goodbye hugs

*except for the one of my family, none of these photos are my own. All the rest are from flikr, and you can click on them to find the photographer.


CM said...

The part that really stuck out to me was the choice you speak of where you can choose to bond, then face the pain when you leave, or you can hold yourself back. I have always tended to hold myself back, but now I find that the bonding is worth the pain... Then again, I haven't faced near as many or as dramatic transitions as what you have, so it's not quite the same.

Jen said...

This is making me cry because I SO relate. And even though leaving Bahrain happened 14 years ago, I still remember so clearly that day we drove to the airport.

Molly Sabourin said...

What a beautiful blog you have, Kacie! I was moved by your post - by your family. Blessings to you!


Alice said...

This is profound, Kacie. And I LOVE that picture of your family.

The Gypsy Mama said...

"Goodbyes have been the great grief of my life." Me too. Me too.