The thing about goodbyes is that most of the time you know they are coming. But that doesn’t mean you are prepared. As much as you’d like to tell yourself that it’s inevitable, it’s just not helpful.

And that’s where I am right now. My youngest brother has been staying with my parents for the past few weeks as he transitions from North Carolina to California. As I mentioned, he’s my youngest brother and somewhere along the way, to use a very Southern expression, I took him to raise.

Most of my family lives away, the majority are about 7 hours away, in fact. So, I’ve never had the blessing of just dropping in for a visit, or hosting them spontaneously. We’ve never been in close enough proximity to help each other out with the day-to-day parts of life. I crave that. I covet that casual time where you just hang out, help each other complete a project, join up for a little dinner and a chat.

The last few weeks have afforded me that. He drops in. We meet up. We have impromptu meals and take last-minute trips. We have unexpected conversations and I’ve come to know him even better in those little moments in between. I appreciate his humor. I understand his kind heart. I see his creative nature.

He’s leaving this week and I’d like to say I’m prepared. This day has been coming for a while, but I’m not.

Last night he “came by” to clean out his car and start packing it with the items he’d stored in our garage. I watched out the kitchen window as he organized and prepared. I watched as he packed up his entire life for a move across country. And my heart broke.

As excited as I am for him to be moving closer to his own family, I’m just as filled with angst over the journey ahead of him and his landing spot once he gets there. There’s that selfish part of me that also wants him close enough to invite over for leftovers, ask him to assess a painting project or simply hang out and watch “Orange Is the New Black”. I’ve been spoiled to his company. I’m not ready.

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