Sunday, September 4, 2011

Au Revoir Mais Ne Pas Adieu

Now that we're pretty much settled into our new home (this means the majority of the boxes are unpacked and those that are not are hidden in closets), I'll take a moment to reflect on our departure from Durham; the hard part, the "saying good-bye" part. And, also, post a few pictures from the last family get-together we held in the Durham house.

It seemed fitting that, despite the fact the majority of our worldly possession were packed into cartons and boxes, we had the gathering at our house; back in 2006, many of the same folks were with us celebrating our purchase of that house when all that was there was a table and chair set we'd recently purchased and a few boxes we'd brought in a U-Haul. That night, December 19th, 2006, we slept on blankets on the floor in our bedroom; me, Mr. B and our now departed Clyde. That was before Lucy; before the cat colony, before a lot of things. Ah, memories, they can certainly be bittersweet.

And, so, almost five years later, our family gathered, as we had done many, many times throughout those five years, to hang out in the kitchen and visit, share food and drink and watch the children play. Of course, that first time, there were not yet any children to watch play. Yet another significant change that time has brought.

Thinking about this, I am struck by the similarities of a time many, many years prior. The year was 1969 and we, my mom and dad and my sister and I, were staying with my maternal grandparents on the eve of our departure from Indiana to move to San Diego, California. Earlier that day, we'd taken the obligatory "good-bye" pictures in front of their house and later visited with many of the extended family. The next morning, we were up bright and early; and I can still remember sitting at my grandma's kitchen table eating those small Hostess donuts covered in powdered sugar with my grandpa.
Grandpa and Grandma with Mom Summer 1969
Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, (a quite little) Mrs. B and Mom

I wonder what, if anything, my brothers's children will remember from their last visit to Aunt Mamie's and Uncle Mark's North Carolina house?
Mrs. B AKA Aunt Mamie, with Sophie (left) and Holly August 2011
Sophie and Jacqueline
Mrs. B with Holly, her bros Jon and Doc and Mr. B
SILs Analee and Shannon
Doc checking out the dwindling B's booze supply
Kendal and Grandpa

My mom told me years later that leaving her family in Indiana was extremely difficult, especially considering how close they'd been, how frequently they'd seen one another and how unlikely it would be that they'd see each other any more often than once a year. Of course back then, there was no Internet, no email, no instant chat, no Facebook, no Skype; in fact, even phone calls were quite expensive. Folks had to rely on the good old US Postal service to facilitate much of their communication. And, certainly, it wasn't as affordable to travel, either. It wasn't "adieu"; but, it was a pretty long "au revoir".

Which brings me to an explanation for the title of this entry.

Many, many years ago, I took French in junior/senior high school (and later, college). As happens, I don't recall a lot; "J'oblige beaucop de ma francais!" but, there are certain things I'll never forget; one of which is the difference between two salutations which mean "good-bye". Unlike English, where "good-bye" can refer to all sorts of situations, the French are much more specific. "Au Revoir" is used when you WILL see the person again, regardless of the length of time between meetings. On the other hand, "adieu" pretty much equates to, "This is IT; we'll never see each other again, EVER".

Leaving our NC family was tough, to be sure. My heart ached for both Mr. B and The Kid as they said their farewells and even I, tough old step-mother broad that I am, found water in my eyes as I gave her a big hug and kissed the top of her head. I've already blogged about the emotional good-bye I shared with my youngest brother and also the tug of the heart strings when I stood next to my mom for our obligatory good-bye photo.
Mrs. B and Mom August 15th, 2011

Unlike with her and HER mom, however, it won't be a year before I see her again and I can also reach her much more often via cell phone, email and the like. Still, it's tough, it always is, to leave; to walk down a different path and turn your back on the one you were just on.

But, I remind myself frequently, this is "au revoir mais ne pas adieu"; "good-bye, but not for forever".

Mrs. B


Mr. B said...

Yes, it was emotional leaving Durham, and especially Cailyn.

Very nice blog post, honey.


Doc said...

It's not the same.