My bulging bags stand by the door, ready for another long international flight. Those around me are envious of me getting another pass through passport control, but all I feel is that familiar sensation of sadness.
It’s one I’ve felt my whole life, and as a kid with a life of revolving doors of hello’s and goodbyes, I promised myself I would do it differently as a grownup. But fait pulled on her impish shoes and kicked my future into an even more complicated algorithm of family and location. Instead of living in at least one of the 2 continents my parents make their home in, my prince charming came from a distant land over a great ocean. Now I deal with three continents. Three places where my heart yearns to be , three places that after millions of years of continental drift will never be close.
So my life is a rhythm of hello and goodbye, the joy of meeting, the sharp pain of loss.
You’d think after a lifetime of practice I’d be better at it. I urge myself to follow the whimsical wisdom of Dr. Seuss ; “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Growing up one of my favorite fairy tales was a French adaptation of a Grimm classic, The Six Swans. For years my imperfect French meant I watched the pictures and hardly caught the words spoken of the animated story. I watched it over and over, deeply emphasizing with the little princess who was separated from her family of many brothers. The many brothers, the isolation, even the skill she used to save them, resonated in my young mind. The fact that she saves them from the enchantment that separated them, that she ultimately had the power to change her circumstances, was deeply comforting.
We often speak of the fallacy of fairy tales, how there is no happy ever after in this modern fairyless world. But what about the journey of the character, the little lessons learned before they ride into the sunset.
So on this Sunday morning of yet another goodbye, I will pack not just my passport and plane ticket, but the perseverance of a princess.