The morning of April 22, 2011, marks one of the most surreal moments in my life, and it involved a remarkable goodbye. Having gone through 23 hours of labor and yet still a trip to the operating room for a c-section with the birth of my daughter in 2008, my OB-GYN and I had settled on a planned c-section for April 22, unless the universe indicated otherwise.
And the OB's hospital rounds and operating schedule meant my hubby and I had the most unexpected goodbye – we weren’t due at the hospital until 12:30 in the afternoon! I had previously only heard of stories where friends arrived before dawn to get things underway, but we had hours awake (no eating for me!) to hang with our big girl, wait and anticipate. We didn’t get to tuck her in to dream away the night, sneak out before dawn and come home with a brother. We had a morning like every other.
Our then-three-and-a-quarter year old daughter had been talking in full sentences for years and thus expressed a pretty clear understanding of what was to come with the birth of her baby brother. So we packed her princess-clad backpack and got her ready for a day at preschool, as if the day wasn’t any different than the days and weeks prior.
But if my enormous belly wasn’t an indicator that this was really happening imminently, the goodbye on the morning of April 22 sure was. We told her that when we talked to her after school, her brother will have arrived. We explained that mommy and baby bro would spend a couple nights in the hospital to get extra special care from the doctors. And we said that daddy would come get her from home for a visit as soon as possible – and that she should be sure to remember the little green dino blanket she’d bought for him the weekend before.
What we couldn’t possibly explain to her was that when we said goodbye, kissed her and sent her off for her day, we also said goodbye to her little world as she knew it. Even with maturity beyond her toddler years, she could not have possibly conceived of how much this was going to rock her world.
To this point, we were a magical trio – she was such an easy baby and toddler that we still ate in great restaurants, had fun adventures as a family, and she got all the attention from all four of her grandparents (first and still only grandchild at the time!). Goodbye that day was indeed the end of a remarkable era, for all three of us. Certainly our baby boy was a gift and a blessing, and he indeed completed our family, but the goodbye that morning was surreal, indelible and a moment where I felt intensely happy and uneasy for her at the same time.
Goodbye that day was happy, sad, remarkable, joyous, blessed, terrifying and every emotion in between. But what was even more emotion-packed was the hello we shared when our girl came and met her baby bro, and our family unit was complete. Before gratitude was trendy and long before I embraced the Grateful Girl persona, I felt intense gratitude for her, the gift of a new baby and the joy my family gifted me. These tiny human beings and our little family are completely and entirely my most cherished things in my life, and thankfully they continue to spur gratitude each day.
Goodbye that day was an end, a beginning and, most definitely, a hello to a new era that has not surprisingly turned out to be just as magical and remarkable as those first few years. Goodbyes have many descriptors, but happy, sad or anything else, they’re certainly a powerful force.
Thoughts on a remarkable goodbye? This topic was part of a ChicagoNow Blogapalooz-Hour challenge where this question was posed with one hour to write and post. Would love to hear some of your thoughts and experiences. Please comment here, follow Grateful Girl on Facebook, share, comment, LIKE.
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