Bittersweet Goodbyes

Sunday morning, 6:15, bright and early, I was one of thousands at Dulles International Airport. I stopped at security to give my parents one last hug goodbye when I head a woman’s voice say, “Is she a girl scout”? I turned to look and sure enough this woman, standing there with her husband and tween-aged daughter, was speaking to us – inquiring about me. My mouth was agape as I turned to look at my parents before turning to her and telling her with humility and desperation that “I am 24 years old”!!!! She followed by saying, “Oh my – well, you look good girl”!! After one final goodbye I was smiling to myself as I headed towards security.

I was thankful for the humor as I’m never a fan of goodbyes. Despite Clay and I both boarding flights from Atlanta and DC for Hawaii, and having each other to look forward to seeing, it is always bittersweet to leave home and say goodbye again to our families. However, I realized that I am quite lucky. Just three weeks ago I was feeling nostalgic about saying goodbye to Hawaii and our friends here, and I realized that I had those same bittersweet feelings (as I of course would) about leaving my home, family, and friends in Northern Virginia. In fact, I realized that every goodbye in each place I have lived has been bittersweet, luckily so, because I had found a “home” in every one of them from the Nantahala Gorge, the University of South Carolina, Australia, Hood River, and now Vienna.

Saying goodbye to my family and home in Vienna was a bit different this time (actually a lot different) because the next time that I return “home”, it will be an entirely new one, as my family is retiring and moving to Tennessee. this visit home included cleaning out my closet and going through old books and stuffed animals to prepare for the big move. My parents are excited, nervous, and all of the other emotions that encompass big change. It will be a wonderful change, allowing them to be near sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, and of course Mamaw. They will be close to the mountains (yay!) and will make a new house home. I am excited for them.

Home is a funny word. To some people, it may only ever mean one place. But to me, if I have people to love and things to do that I love, I can find “home” in nearly anywhere. For now, I’m happy to be back home in Hawaii, and I look forward to discovering my family’s new home in the mountains of Tennessee.

Somewhere in the Smokeys

One thought on “Bittersweet Goodbyes

  1. Yes, home is where your heart is. ♥ That is such a beautiful photo – the one in the Smokeys! Happy New Year, Hayley! I wonder what 2016 has in store for you?!?!


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