Saying Goodbye and Saying Hello

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It’s been a week since my plane touched down on British soil and I was home.  But with delayed flights, jet-lag and weekends away to pick up my much-loved pooch, it’s really only been a few days of being home for good.

Saying my final goodbyes on 4th July was hard.  I’d be lying if I said there weren’t tears.  There was lots of laughter and wine flowing and chocolate being eaten under starry skies and high porch ceilings the night before, but when the morning of departure arrived the laughter turned to sadness.  It was all pretty weird, truth be told.  As I ate breakfast with friends and all I could think was, ‘Tomorrow I’ll wake up in a different time zone’.  As we packed the car with suitcases all I could think was, ‘There’s a whole life in those cases’.  As I drove to the airport all I could think was, ‘This is the last time I’ll drive these roads’.  And as I hugged goodbye at the airport all I could think was, ‘I’m going to miss these people… my people’.

But goodbye happened, as it always has to.  The journey home was not without its stresses.  Bad weather in Orlando delayed flights, missing boarding passes and crowded departure lounges made for an interesting time in Boston, and it turns out the excess weight from America is not only being carried on my body but in several cases too!  But eventually, three weary people and six heavy cases made it to England.  I even got to watch some 4th July fireworks, albeit through airport windows.

Of course, I arrived home to rain and cold.  Just a typical British summer day!  And – don’t  roll your eyes at me – I’ll admit I felt the cold immediately.  Honestly, I’m still wearing jumpers and thick woolly socks.  I know, I know, I can already hear the Yorkshire voices telling me I’ve come back nesh 😉  After finding our lost taxi, we were home for lunch time.  And asleep by dusk.  I unpacked one case, left the others for later.   Mum cooked Shepherd’s Pie because it’s my favourite and I ate Reece’s to remind me of my other home.

Yes, goodbyes are hard, but they’re so worth it, because for every goodbye there’s a hello waiting.

I still haven’t said all my hellos yet and I’m excited for more hugs and laughs and ‘I’ve missed you’s’ over the coming days, but my hellos so far have been wonderful.  They might not make it into a movie script, but they were perfect for me.  Like picking my nephew and niece up from school, and a little, grown-too-much blonde beauty running towards me once her teacher released her, and her bumping into me all longer limbs and big big smile.  And her holding my hand as soon as our hug ended, sitting on my knee in the sunshine and telling me my belly got bigger, and her not letting go until she said ‘see you later’ when it was time to go home to bed.  And her big brother, who is too cool for hugs in the playground, who answers adult questions with a teenage-like shrug, actually letting me hug him and squeeze him and tell him how tall he had got, all while his too-cool friends could actually see.  And him telling me about football matches and holidays and showing me crazy kid videos on Youtube, and us practicing catching in the garden with his new baseball mitt and laughing together as if eleven months haven’t passed.

Or the hello I went to the shopping centre I hate for, the surprise for my ‘little sister’ at work, and sharing a hug I’ve been waiting eleven months for.

Then overcoming bad mobile phone signal to say hello to one of my ‘mummies’ in my favourite coffee shop in my second home at the seaside, talking and hugging against the sound of waves and seagulls until the door of the shop was locked and we were the only ones left.

And then there was the hello that took another three hour drive to make, a hello of howling and wagging tail and wet nose and fast paws, the hello from my dog who has listened to me on speaker phone and wondered why he could hear me and not see me for so long.  And him running back and forth to the others in the room as if to say, ‘Is she really home?’

Yes, I am really home.

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