Long ago, my very good friend Joanne, who is a fellow expat, told me that one of the hardest things about the expat life is that life happens while you are not there. People you love will marry, have babies and pass away without you being there for these momentous and life changing events. She was right.
This past weekend my best friend’s husband left this world unexpectedly and I was not there when she called and needed me. I managed to get on a plane two days later and held her hand through the grueling week of planning and putting him to rest, but my heart breaks over the fact that when I was most needed I was 3,000 miles away, instead of around the corner.
Being at home was so wonderful and I feel almost guilty for enjoying any moment of my time spent in Houston. But I must say, as we drove through the gates of our neighborhood and past all of the places that made up the days of my life, my heart was at peace and at home. To see the faces of all of those I love so much was an unexpected pleasure and I love them even more for being able to smile and even laugh through the tears. It was one of the hardest weeks of my life. Leaving broke my heart. Saying goodbye was devastating and the thought of once again being so far away when they still need me so much bothers me to the depths of my soul. I wonder if the benefits of this life truly outweigh the price….
Today as I write this I am on the plane headed back to Connecticut where I unceremoniously dumped my children on my mother, who has been my savior through this week, so that I could be the friend that I have always strived to be. She has seen the kids through vomit, head lice and separation anxiety and deserves canonization for her work while I was away. I am blessed to have such a wonderful family. I will spend the next two weeks making it up to her before I leave them with her for a week’s planned vacation with Chris. I only wish that I could send my overworked mother on one too.
I will leave you with a thought:
“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”
- Abraham Lincoln
Make yours count.