Saying Goodbye

“You never leave someone behind, you take a part of them with you and leave a part of yourself behind.”

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Note:  Our daughter, by way of Norwegian exchange student, is returning to home and homeland this week.  This is my goodbye letter to her.

To Katrine,

We have arrived at “that” moment. We have talked about it since you first stepped off the plane, as if the word “home” would create a barrier around our hearts from the very beginning that would protect us when it was actually time.

I don’t know about you, but it didn’t work.

I almost can’t remember what it was like before you were a part of our family. The shy nervous girl who we picked up at the airport was a foreign stranger, and you – YOU – have been with us forever.

When we invited you in, I truly believed that by this point, I would be looking forward to having my space back. The third bathroom, the teenage schedule, Norwegian “planning”.

I was wrong. Your late nights and even later mornings have become as much of our family rhythm as my morning coffee. There is room to hear about three school days, room to manage three sports schedules, and plenty of room on the couch.

I will forever buy too many granola bars and bananas. We will still eat potatoes once a week. And I will probably pull in at Dairy Queen with an empty car.

Your “firsts” are written on my heart, next to Bella’s first words and Jonas’s first haircut. Yellow school buses, choir concerts, tennis matches, Dairy Queen, prom, a locker – too many to count.

You helped us all see the world we live in through new eyes. S’mores never tasted so good, the beach has never been more beautiful, and sometimes The Genius Bar actually can be helpful.

You have opened up a broader world for my children, and introduced me to the best chocolates. I will carry the Boller recipe on my hips for the next twenty years.

This week will bring bucket of tears, and a broken heart – and it was absolutely worth it. Part of you will always be here with us (and not just because all of your shopping won’t fit into those two giant suitcases!), and part of us will travel across the ocean with you.

Until we meet again – we love you, our Norwegian Daughter.

 

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