I’ll get right to the point…I’m not a fan of them. This past weekend I was caught off guard, daydreaming about my 24 hour getaway to San Diego, when the place of “so long” sadness snuck up on me. Before I knew it, I was surrounded with the “airport adios”…those damn curbside goodbyes. Pulling up to the curb triggers an immediate lump in my throat. Maybe it’s the heavy rotation of drop offs I’ve had in my life. Maybe it’s my all too sensitive soul that just can’t help but take it in.
Whatever the case may be, curbside goodbyes are the epitome of the heart pulling “see you laters”. Long hugs, sweet kisses, pats on the back and the dreaded post tear-up for the one left behind. If you really watch what’s going on, it’s enough to move the most hardened heart. I wish I could wear blinders or be brazen to human emotion. But I can’t. So I’m sitting there watching perfect strangers say their goodbyes and the scene has me hooked all the way through the sliding door moment when 9 times out of 10, you’ll catch the glance back. Stab to the heart. The glance back kills me every time. What are they thinking? When will they see each other again? Why do they have to leave?
Curbside sadness is second only to days of past when people actually said their goodbyes at the gate. Do millennials even know about this, or have we skipped an entire generation that will be clueless to gate-side goodbyes? They were a symphony of Kleenex commercials no matter where you looked. Just when I thought we were an all business, callous crew of gate goers going at it alone in this shoes off please, strip anything metal and you better have no more than 4 ounces of liquid with you kind of world…I was caught off guard waiting for my flight to board.
I sat next to a mom and her young daughter. It seemed harmless at the time. I noticed the mom was wearing an “I’m not traveling, but allowed beyond the checkpoint” kind of credential. They were struggling to say goodbye. The girl finally boarded safely but her mom was left in a puddle of tears. I couldn’t let her suffer alone. I struck up a gentle conversation and quickly learned of her recent divorce and the hope that her daughter would get a well deserved break with her grandparents. Uggggg. I got it. I had lived it and related, but for crying out loud…wasn’t this the kind of goodbye limited to curbside? Hadn’t we put the kibosh on human emotion this side of security? Of course not. No matter how strict, limiting and ridiculous we all look taking off our shoes, unbuckling our belts and being wanded…goodbyes sneak in beyond the guarded ropes.
Here’s the truth. My emotional antennae might be up and in tune for perfect strangers, but I struggle with my own goodbyes. I prefer quick and dismissive. I’d rather pretend they don’t exist at all. They’re too much. I loathe them. For a girl who loves looking at life through rose colored glasses, goodbyes are an interruption to my happy scene. I typically rush them, try my best to not really think about what’s happening and block it out immediately. So it was true to form when I said adieu to Mr. 1960 for the last time.
Here’s how our goodbye went. Pause in the living room…click off the lights. Stop in the kitchen…click, click, click (because there’s a triple set). Make sure the stove is off…a gas leak would be tragic. Peak in the backyard. Walk through the master, the master bath and turn around. My attitude was basically, “peace out Mr. 1960. It’s been real.” It was like we had just finished a showing or wrapped a decent open house. My goodbye was no different. I locked the door, hid the key for the new owner and drove away. How could I be so cold? I had poured the last 6 months of my life into this guy. What was wrong with me? And then it hit me.
This goodbye was the perfect kind. The kind you know is coming. You can prepare for it. It’s not one of those that happens so fast you’re standing stunned trying to figure out what just hit you. Mr. 1960 and I had it right. Our expectations were clear from the start. We laid out the plans, everyone reviewed and understood. There was no surprise, no blindsiding. No pain or sadness because saying “goodbye” was always the ultimate goal.
I didn’t gush a goodbye and I might have even denied Mr. 1960 a glance back. It doesn’t mean I didn’t love him completely. I’m great at hellos, love the during but let’s be honest, finales aren’t my forte. I’m searching for the next “hello” right now. There’s nothing better than seeing each other for the first time. That’s the moment we should ingrain in our minds. It’s hopeful, happy with all the possibility in the world. Hold on to your “hellos”.