Saying good bye is never easy. This is the one thing that I, in particular, was NOT looking forward to. I'm not good with goodbyes. Yes, the water works flowed - a few times - but suffice it to say the tears were not only about leaving loved ones behind for awhile. They were just as much about how moved I was, over and over, by the thoughtfulness of our friends and family as we departed.
It began at Meghan's final basketball game in early December. This team had gelled and were playing really well. Personally, Meghan had a fantastic game sinking her signature move, a 3 pointer, as the last play. The girls all ran out and gave her a hug and an impromptu group photo was taken. It was an incredibly special moment for a girl who did not want to leave this team, or the sport she loves so much, in the middle of the season.
Our dear friends wanted to host a going away get together for us. A great way for us all to be together. Although we knew it was in our honour, knowing this crew, I figured it was also a great excuse to get together and have some holiday cheer. As well, it was one of our friend's birthdays that night, so I figured when cakes were brought in they were in celebration for him. Well, the cakes were for us wishing a fond farewell (although we lit the candles and sang anyway - you weren't going to get off the hook Duke!!). It was a perfect send off - a low key night with laughs (usually at someone's expense as is typical with this crowd, no malice though), good food and fun.
We wanted the girls to have an opportunity to see their friends as well. So on the last day of school we decided to have a pizza and pj party at our house. We told the girls to invite their closest friends and with that, our list grew to 21 kids with our 2 included. Being the start of the Christmas break, we had prepared the girls in the event everyone might not be able to come but you know what? Come they did - every single child! Our house was filled with laughter, hugs and kids! It was fantastic! Our kids have surrounded themselves with such strong and kind friends. They are so fortunate!
At work, my grade 3/4 students took the one day I was away and, led by my amazingly thoughtful team partner, created a stunning work of art that included each of the children's names and fingerprints along with their well wishes. If that doesn't cause a teacher to cry, I don't know what will!! The tears quickly turned to tears of laughter though when they began to share their travel advice: don't get eaten by sharks, don't get hit by a bus, visit Winnipeg (?!) and don't worry about us, we'll be just fine. I know they will be.
Some people even made special trips just to see us before we left to ensure they caught us for all of the celebrations we'll miss in 2018. The last night in Calgary we stayed at the airport hotel (way easier with a 6 am flight). Our families joined us for a lovely dinner and a last play at the airport playground. It was just what we needed after the busy rush and many Christmas celebrations. We all had great conversations, lots of hugs (and many tears from me) and promises of connecting through FaceTime.
Although not every goodbye is captured here, the acts of generosity, kindness and messages of support from so many relatives and friends both near and far, reminded us again just how incredibly fortunate we are.
We truly have the BEST friends and family in the world.
Shoot - here come the water works again....
We're the Danchuks - follow our explorations and family adventures in a wide world (2018).