Saying Good-bye

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My heart broke today…

Twenty-five years ago I made the monumental decision to take my children, leave America and live the rest of my life as an expatriate, in Norway.

When my children were small I had to send them back to the US every summer to visit their father. Putting three young children on an Airplane heading for the other side of the Atlantic was never easy for neither him, nor me. Those children are now grown with children of their own, our grandchildren. As fate would have it, three of them live in Norway and two in the US.

Three weeks ago their grandfather put the oldest one, Maren (eight years-old) on an airplane, to visit me here in Norway. Today, I sent her back to him.

While waiting at the gate this morning Maren fell asleep and before I knew it, someone from the airline had come to collect her for boarding. I woke her, took her in my arms and started to cry. I could see a line of people waiting for her to go, so they too could board (unaccompanied minors are always boarded first). I had no choice but to let her go…

I watched the beast intensely through a nearby window until every piece of luggage and passenger was onboard. Then lost sight as it was taxied away. But in my heart I could hear its mighty roar, as it whisked down the runway carrying my grandchild farther and farther away from me.

I stood there a while groping with my emotions before leaving.

Such is the life of an expat.

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About maggiemyklebust

I grew up on the Jersey Shore and now live in Norway. I have also lived in Houston and the Netherlands. I have written a memoir called Fly Away Home.

Posted on August 8, 2013, in all things American, all things Norsk, Family stuff, travel, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I think I know of the feeling. I had a long distance relationship with my partner (now fiance) for over 2 years and every time we would see each other off at an airport, I would get that fierce pain that comes from parting. It’s not easy and never gets easier!

    I’m sure your grandchildren will all grow up to be hardy, intrepid adventurers for whom airports hold no horrors. All the best 🙂

  2. I can imagine how that must feel! It seems the story of my life as well: putting loved ones on planes back home. Hang in there and remember the great things you guys did this summer. Sterkte 😉

  3. Tearing you apart – those are the words this made me think of. It’s quite literally like parting with a piece of yourself, isn’t it?
    I wonder if airports ever become haunted because they’re places that absorb such strong emotional imprints.
    Big hugs Maggie, all things pass and soon you’ll be looking forward to planning the return visit. 🙂

  4. Life as an expat is all about “hellos & goodbyes” and despite what they tell you they never get easier especially with those with love and children. She’ll be back soon enough Maggie and she’ll be the envy of her classmates when she goes back to school and shared all her adventures with them

  5. ooohhhh maggie, she will remember this visit and all visits, as time spent on a wonderful adventure with her favorite grandma!! xo

  6. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    I’m not sure who has the more difficult time, the children or the adults. Blessing or curse, this is the life they have– with caring people at both ends, they will adjust.

  7. It’s heartbreaking to say goodbye to them, Maggie 😦 I had a long-distance ex and my two children would visit him on holidays. I remember breaking down and openly sobbing one day at the airport after saying goodbye to them and a lovely woman came up to me and gave me a hug and said, ‘They always come back’. I’ve never forgotten the kindness of this stranger and she was right – they always did come back.

    Maren will come back to visit you again *hugs*

  8. Someone once told me that we only “borrow” things – our home, our career, our cars – even our moments, for we move ever forward in our timeline. We seek Independence and yet, we are most suited to interdependence. In our existence, we are routed to time and location. That is why I am so very, very, very glad that we have the gift of memory. Our loved ones are forever engraved upon our hearts….

    A beautiful post.

  9. Jeannette from the CA coast

    I hear your grandmother/mother’s heart…parting is such sweet sorrow….even if it’s only for awhile. I used to cry like a baby every time I put my Mother on a plane to go home. I only hope I never have to do that with my grandkids, although that may be inevitable some day.

  10. My heart hurts for you….and then I think about you there as a child…..will she meet her future husband on one of these visits in the future? What wonderful memories, Maggie ♥

  11. My mother left her family behind in Germany and it was always hard for her to say goodbye when she saw them. On the upside your grandchildren have the blessings of being from two different cultures that will make them well traveled young adults in the future.

  12. Thanks for finally writing about >Saying Good-bye | flyawayhomebook <Loved it!

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