I have an amazing grandmother. She is a gifted woman who loves to sew. Years ago she volunteered to make me a t-shirt blanket using old shirts I had accumulated. The first one had a conglomeration of shirts from sports I played, camps I went to, girl scout crafts and the occasional favorite printed tee that had seen better days about 200 washes ago. Time went on, as it does, and now I have three of those blankets.
The original, another that is a time capsule of all things high school and the most recent which chronicles my Carnegie Mellon experience. I whipped out one of those blankets to sit on at a concert recently and I remember thinking how fun it was that this shrine to my high school days was now being spread out and shared with friends equally as important, but completely unrelated to, my high school experience. I’ve since been thinking more about the tangled web of relationships that grows with time.
Before moving to DC, I could neatly contain each era of my life. I had the years where I was growing up in Parchment and then Fowlerville. I had my four years of boarding school at Culver and then I had my four years at Carnegie Mellon. Each time period meaningful, but separate…contained. Then I moved to DC, a place where pieces of each era of my life collided. Two years later, I have this unique community that I so dearly love. I’ve done quite a bit of leaving in my 24 years, yet this one has been different. Both because it’s been drawn out, and because I’ve realized that in the last two years I’ve been blessed with some of the most amazing friendships of my life.
As I began writing this post several days ago, I felt the sting of tears behind my eyelids. The welling up of emotions that turned into what felt like a clawing beast trying to push its way out of my chest. An inescapable lump forming in my throat that couldn’t be ignored. All of this was the uncomfortable pain that encompassed the goodbyes that infiltrated my life last week. Hands down, this has been the most difficult seven days since making the decision to move to Haiti a couple months ago. In the midst of all the goodbyes, my favorite nugget of wisdom that I clung to was this: “These tears are something to celebrate because it means that this community affected you deeply, it touched you and allowed these people to become a significant part of your life. You let them in and it was worth it.”
Amen to that. I let these people in and they made me better for it. I can only hope that this is goodbye for now and the beautiful web that has been woven over the past few years of my life will only continue to grow richer as time marches on. Each friendship, each experience, each goodbye is adding it’s own square to my life t-shirt blanket. With each new season I get to smile as I think of all of the love and sweet moments being stitched into each square of my blanket full of fond memories.