Tales of a Whatsapp Auntie - A Plethora of Goodbyes

Sometimes it's harder to say goodbye than others... this time I wondered what the ramifications of not getting on my flight would really be



For any nanny who has packed their bags and travelled to another county to start their career - there are a number of different emotions that happen when you say "goodbye", and I have to say every year those feelings are a little different.

The early years

These years were harder for my family than they were for me. I was excited about what lay before me, and while I know I was saying "goodbye", it wasn't meant to be for more than a few months. I knew I'd be back before they knew it and that I had an adventure in front of me. 

However, those months became a year, or two years as I went to University, and got full time job and spent my holidays travelling with the families I was being a nanny for, rather than heading home. 

As the years went on and life at home went on without me, those goodbyes got harder.  I had lives in two places that were completely separate - this made the goodbyes at both ends harder. 

The Goodbye hugs

Now I've been told that not everyone hugs the way my family does - although we've managed to convince a few family members who weren't sold on the idea that they're a good thing! There are many different hugs, but the good-bye hugs tend to last longer than they should, because they are easier than saying the words you want to say.  They tend to be tighter because you know that when you let go it could be quite a while before you can embrace that person again. And there is something about a good-bye hug that leaves a little bit of your heart with the other person. I love these hugs and I hate these hugs. 

The goodbye tears

I always start goodbyes with good intentions.  I will not cry this time. But, let me tell you - this never happens. At best, I'll make it through the hug, and then I'll try to speak and my eyes will well up, my throat becomes restricted and by then, I just lose it.  It's not a pretty picture, but it's how goodbyes make me feel and I won't apologise for it. 

This year was the hardest

Good-byes happened in waves this time, and Bradley was the first to leave... well not on his own, it was really the goodbye hug with my brother that got the tears flowing - because there was a new emotion involved.  I'd always been proud of my brother, but being a dad has made me feel closer to him than ever before.  The sense of love I had for my sister in law was different now two - I can't explain it but Bradley had changed who they are and who we are all as a family. And, I don't think Bradley really understood what was happening... he was just excited for the road trip ahead. 

Then it was time to say goodbye to my little brother and his wife - after spending 10 days together laughing and crying and watching Bradley jump, and jump and jump some more, we'd all bonded. They too live a long way from home, and it had been interesting to hear how they felt about being so far away too. It was nice to be able to share those feelings with someone. 

And then, my parents. They have been my world since I was born. I couldn't ask for more loving, and accepting parents who have supported me through all my choices in life - even the ones that take me further and further away from them. They are the ones who have had to experience more good-bye hugs than anyone - because they are always there at the airport, no matter what. 

When do you decide that its time to move back?

For the last few years I've had this sense that maybe it's time to stop leading a double life and return to the one that waits for me back in Canada. Is this the year I'll decide to pack boxes rather than bags? Or is there still more to experience before I make that final trip back home?

Michelle Barr, Whatsapp Auntie

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