“Hello” was hard to say. Always the new girl, we moved more than most people who aren’t fugitives. I was awkward, hiding behind glasses and books. I was shy. It was hard to make friends. Becoming a mom, I thought my biggest challenge would be teaching my son to meet people and say “hello”. I was wrong.
It turns out the hardest part is explaining goodbye.
His dad and I separated when he was young. He doesn’t remember any other life. We are friends now and an efficient team. He speculated we broke up fighting over pancakes. I have no idea where that came from but I guess it makes sense when you are seven and breakfast is your biggest priority. It’s hard to explain the goodbyes he was too young to hear.
A couple of years later, he lost a pet. Our malamute was memorialized with a balloon release and he started to move on. Later, the memories resurfaced. I was reminded we never had a birthday party for the dog, so we had one posthumously. He was so young to be feeling loss. It’s hard to explain the goodbyes that come too soon.
As I dated over the years, looking for the perfect person to join our family, people have come and gone. Sometimes it’s expected: drifting apart, diverging priorities, or life circumstances thwarting the best of intentions. Sometimes there isn’t a why, it just is. It’s hard to explain the goodbyes that fall so short of expectations.
Recently he was confronted with the concept of miscarriage (not mine). I struggled to explain. He had a lot of theological questions I couldn’t answer. His hopes and dreams about a relationship with this baby were dashed in an instant. People in his life were sad. It seemed so unfair. It’s hard to explain how to say goodbye to someone we never got to meet.
I’m grown up and I’m still shy and awkward. I hide behind glasses and books. I’m not really from anywhere but I try to make friends. My biggest challenge as a mom has been explaining goodbyes but at this point in my life, I’m finally ready to say “hello”.
This piece originally appeared on Mombabble.