We leave in less than two days. Things are getting raw. We’ve said final goodbyes to nearly everybody, we’ve eaten at our favorite restaurants one last time, and nearly everything is packed except little odds and ends that will be furiously thrown into empty boxes in the morning.
We keep saying that we’re leaving Arizona to move near family, that we don’t have any family here. That’s not entirely true. We have always had family here. Maybe not “family” in the traditional sense, but there are people here that we have struggled to say goodbye to, that we have cried to leave.
Ryan’s godparents …
Kelly and Mike … You were the first two people that Ryan ever met, besides his parents and some nurses. You have shown up for holidays and for random Saturday afternoons. He told me recently that he wants to “play with friends tomorrow, Auntie Kelly and Uncle Mike, ok?” You have been so present in his life, and that has been so, so important for him. So important. You are our family, now and forever. I cannot tell you how much we’re going to miss you and how much we appreciate your friendship (the road trips, the backyard beers, the leg kicks) and how much we appreciate the love you show our kid. He adores you. We do, too. Let’s Skype a lot, ok?
Woman, you’re amazing. You are
several a few years younger than me, but I look up to you because you have shown more grace in this past year than anyone I know. You’ve taught me so much. Not only are you are a fantastic mother, but your sweet little boy made me a godmother, and I adore him and his sister beyond belief. (The picture above is my favorite of us because you’re baking my godson and looking freakin’ beautiful while doing it. Kudos on that.) Your friendship is among the most treasured things I am packing in my suitcase and bringing with me to Pennsylvania.
The Nesties …
It’s been awesome to have support from a group of strong women who also happen to have little kiddos close to Ryan’s age. We’ve been able to swap advice on teething, fevers, feeding, child care, tantrums, and on and on. We’re a unique group. We’re different in a lot of ways. We birthed our babies and we adopted. We fed them formula and breast milk. We co-slept and we cried-it-out. But at our core, we are exactly the same. We love our kids and want to raise them to be happy and healthy, and we support each other on that journey. I will miss you all and the wonderful chaos of our get-togethers.
Of course, that’s not everyone. There are lots of others who live here now or who lived here at one point and moved on, the way we’re moving on. Friends we played kickball with, went on road trips with, worked with, drank beers with, celebrated milestones with.
What it boils down to is this: We are sad to leave. And while that makes it hard to leave, I’m also grateful for the sadness because it means the time we spent in Arizona means something. It means we built lasting relationships that we’ll cherish no matter where we live. That we had support, that we had fun. That we have something here to come back to and visit.
It means Arizona truly was home.