I felt a pang of sadness as we pulled up to the airport drop-off area. I had just spent three days with some of the most amazing women I know. It didn’t feel like enough time. But the reality was I had to go home. I missed my children and my husband. Conflicting emotions filled my heart. “I don’t want to go,” I told my friend as my eyes began watering. “I wish things were the way they used to be. It was so fun hanging out when our boys were little. I miss it so much.” She said she missed it too and gave me a huge hug. I could always count on her for those hugs. I finally got out and we said our goodbyes and I love yous. As I walked away I had to push those thoughts out of my mind or I would never make it to my plane.
It has been nearly three years since I moved to Oklahoma City and left behind a home I thought we’d live in forever, and family and friends I thought I’d live nearby for life. Our first year in OKC was the most difficult year of my life for a number of reasons. Along with a new pregnancy came debilitating depression and multiple health issues. I used to cry and wonder why I had to go through this. I thought moving would be a breeze. I was so wrong. We had moved before…but this time was different. This time I left my best friends behind.
Let me just say: I have come to really love my life here. I am so thankful that first year is behind me and I have found my footing. I am happy!
But it has truly surprised me how hard it is to say goodbye to my friends again and again as I’ve had the opportunity to visit them. I go back, and things are exactly the same and so different at the same time. Talking and laughing with my friends feels as if I never left. These moments are so joyful and cathartic, and bring so much peace to my soul. These ladies get me. I don’t have to explain myself. They think the best of me, even when I’m wrong or acting crazy. It’s so comfortable.
Then I look around and realize how much has changed. Children have grown older, the roads and landscapes are different, and new people have moved in that I don’t know. These are unwelcome reminders that I have missed so many moments. The world does not stop turning in my absence. Coming face to face with the facts is somewhat of a rude awakening. In these moments I wonder what life would be like now if I had never left. I feel cheated because I have lost that time with people I love so much. It’s a reality that I don’t like and don’t want to acknowledge.
Eventually my thoughts turn to how much I have grown and learned from this experience. I am without a doubt a much stronger and more independent person because I had to leave my best friends behind. Moving to a new place made me painfully aware of what it feels like to be the mom without a “tribe.” I realized that I never want to let anyone feel like that. I see newcomers in a new light and I try to be much more empathetic.
Being forced outside of my circle of friends made me stretch. I had no other choice but to try and reach out, develop myself, and pursue new hobbies in a way that I never needed to before. I would not have become a Child Passenger Safety Technician, or be writing on this blog unless I moved here. And when I look back and see how much I have accomplished since moving, I am filled with joy. I never imagined I would be where I am, but seeing how things have played out reminds me that God knows what He is doing. If I had never moved, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
I will always miss my best friends. They truly accept me and they’d do anything for me. That is rare, and that is special. I consider myself lucky to have these women in my life even if I am not as physically close to them as I would like to be. But the miles between us haven’t diminished the bond we share. Although I can’t stop life from changing (which is a hard truth to accept), I know that to have these kind of relationships even just once in a lifetime is a blessing. And I’ll take that bittersweet blessing all day long.