Denial. Not just a river in Egypt.
Okay, the oldest joke in the world. But I’ve been swimming in denial for a few months now, and am just feeling ready to talk about it, because it’s really going to happen.
Michelle is really leaving.
Michelle is my little sister, the baby of the family. (She hates to be called that, but to me, oftentimes, that’s what she is.) At the same time, for most of my life she’s been my best friend, strongest supporter, fiercest defender, disher of tough love. She has an amazingly gentle heart and incredibly strong shoulders. I hope I’ve been somewhat the same for her.
Next week she’s leaving the East to embark on a journey West, to the land of big skies, of wide open spaces, where she’ll work on a ranch for six months, leaving behind the fast-paced world of corporate America, Blackberries, deadlines and cafeterias (but thankfully not her blog, email or cell phone, come on now.) This position been a dream of hers for years now. The move is a courageous, joyous one, not lightly made or softly planned.
I couldn’t be more thrilled for her. Really. And since we live so far apart now, it’s not like we’re ending our weekly lunches or daily workouts together. Live the dream. It’s not about me. Go for it. All that stuff. I know there’s nothing to be upset about.
But there’s something sad about the change. What if she won’t be able to chat on the phone 95 times a day like we do now? Or email at the drop of a hat? What if the kids want to call her and leave a song message on her voice mail?
She says it’s only for six months. “Imagine I’m going to college,” she says. “The time will fly by.”
Sure. But when she went to college I was gone too, and we were too young to be sad at goodbyes.
The kids, particularly Mitzi, grow teary at the thought of Shelley far away. In comforting them, I remind myself of things:
Look at your auntie. She is brave. She is taking a chance to fulfill a dream, risking a comfortable and certain present for an unknown future. And, kids, make sure you ask her how alive it makes her feel to do that. Ask her if colors seem brighter, the wind a little sweeter.
And always remember, my babies, I might think to say, remember that the unexamined life is not worth living. You only get one go-around. Make it count.
No matter where you go, you can always come home.
Michelle, you too.