What a strange time

We leave Italy in less than a month.  In some ways I can’t believe it at all.  In other ways, it feels completely natural.  I could live here forever.  But it’s also time to go.

I feel like my skin is very thin.  Everything feels more intense.  Happier.  Scratchier.  Louder.  The highs are higher, but the lows are much lower.

Sometimes I get so caught up in all that we have to do that I forget to feel things.  Life is one big to do list right now.  Packing.  Dealing with the car.  Making summer travel plans.  More packing.

Other times, I can’t stop crying.  Everything feels like the last one.  Could this be the last coffee I have at this cafe?  The last gelato at this place?  The last time I will see this person?  My kids are quickly becoming used to tears slipping down my face at strange times.  We’re just at the park, Mom.  But what if it is the LAST time there?

I even caught myself caressing the toilet paper.  Trying to be present in the moment.  Trying to imprint this moment into my memory.  Before I realized this is BANANA PANTS CRAZY because (1) i t is toilet paper which (hopefully) will also be in all the future places I go and (2) it’s just TOO MUCH.  You can’t take all the details.  You just can’t.  Definitely don’t need to take up mental space on the sensation of the surface of toilet paper.  But this sort of sums up my mental state here these days.

I want to stretch our last time here.  I also want to hurry it up.  I want to skip the packing.  Skip the goodbyes.  Skip all of the hard parts.

I won’t.  Partially because I can’t, but mostly because it wouldn’t be fair to the life we’ve built here.  The amazing people we’ve met.  The wonderful experiences we’ve had.

I’m emotional about the boys right now.  This is where they were babies.  This is where we spent days together with no agendas or demands.  This is where we had our own little nest, protected from the demands of the outside world.  Never again will we have such a time as this.  School.  Activities.  It’s all coming.  And I’m happy about it and incredibly sad all at the same time.

I get choked up thinking about all of the wonderful things in Italy.  The food.  The hospitality.  The markets.  The coffee culture.  I thought I would mostly miss the people here, but Italy has gotten under our skin.  Now I find myself enjoying grocery stores with limited products.  I don’t want Italy to have Starbucks.  I’ve come around on many things that seemed impossible at first.

I’ve spent the morning running around trying to get ready, and I have nothing to show for it.  I know everything will get done eventually.  One way or another.  It always does.  But right now the path from A to B feels like it is uphill and around the bend and over the river, and I can’t see the end at the moment.

I’m coping the way I usually do on these things.  With a healthy amount of denial.  I refuse to say goodbye.  I will say goodbye for now.  Even if deep down I know it isn’t true, I can’t dwell on that at the moment.  If I accepted that we are leaving everyone and everything permanently forever, I would be curled up on the floor in the fetal position.  So I don’t.  It isn’t true.  I do not accept.

This is why I don’t like for other people to make such a big deal about it.  The leaving I mean.  It’s just too much.  Let’s just smile at each other and maybe hug when we wouldn’t usually, but let’s not say goodbye.  Just goodbye for now.

4 thoughts on “What a strange time

  1. Martha Whittingham says:

    My heart goes out to you. All our moves were within one country, but even then cultural differences existed and old friends were left behind. Focus on the blessings they have been and how enriched your life is because of your time in Italy. Know that the potential for even greater blessings await you in your next adventure…for every day with little boys (even as they grow up) is a new adventure. It is one for which God has well-equipped you and James. You are always in our prayers.

  2. Pat Hensley says:

    What a poignant time for all of you! When the boys grow up, they may want to read your blog and see your pictures so I’m glad you took the time to write about your time in Italy. I know it is hard to say goodbye and I know this will sound selfish, but I’m excited about saying “hello” to you again when I see you! 🙂

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