We had a big going-away party yesterday, just a little over a year after our house-warming party. It was a good party, with way too many desserts (which is the way I like it) and lots of kids playing in the pool. Sara raffled off our household electronics that won't work in Australia and we sent all of our left-over canned food to Dad's church. I didn't get to spend enough time with everyone who came, but then, I never do. These are the kind of people who never grow old, never outwear their welcome, because they are always interesting and fun to be around.
What I liked best about the party were the new connections that were made. Dad spent a lot of time talking to Sara's critique-group partner's husband about their common history on several continents. My co-worker's son discussed magic with some of my college buddies.
What I didn't like is that these new connections will be lost, now that I am leaving. Pool parties at my house were a tradition we had just invented, and now it's over. It joins the other traditions we are leaving behind: young people who realized that we had never missed a single one of their birthday parties. Thanksgiving with a friend in Phoenix for 20 years, where sometimes the members of my family outnumbered his. All of these traditions will be lost, like "tears in the rain."
Afterward, I wanted to stay.
But it's not canceling the plane tickets or finding a new job that carries me forward on this seaward current. It is Sophie, and the decisions we hope will lead to the best future for her. This is the first time I've given up what I want for her best interests, but it won't be the last.
So I keep packing, knowing that there are lots of people in Australia who are eager to recreate their traditions with Sara and create new ones with me. I know that man is the creature that adapts; wherever we find ourselves, we make the best life we can. It's just that the transitions are so hard.