This weekend my dad and Janet are moving to a place outside Tyler, about 2 hours away from us. They will be closer and we will see each other more. This part I’m looking forward to.
But I’ve also been really sad about their move lately. For the past couple years they’ve been living in a town just northwest of San Antonio called Boerne. It snugs right up to the Texas hill country, a small town with German roots. There’s a corner cafe that has a great morning glory muffin to go with your latte, and right behind the cafe is a kitchen store with every gadget you can imagine. We used to sit outside the cafe and watch the cars drive down main street, people walking their dogs and shopping. Afterwards we’d window shop and walk through the surrounding neighborhood.
My dad and Janet lived in a little cabin-like house. The dining room had a large window looking out to the surrounding blue-ish green hills, and often you’d see herds of deer cutting through the yard. I picture the live oaks covered in spanish moss with white twinkle lights wrapping their trunks, dangling from limbs.
I remember our first trip to San Antonio before we had Sayla: the botanic gardens and walking the river, exploring vegan restaurants. I remember our first trip to Boerne, when I was just a couple months pregnant with Sayla, still battling nausea: the cabin we rented at the RV park, walking to the gift shop down the road early one morning, our first trip to Bear Moon Cafe and those giant cinnamon rolls. I remember our first trip to Boerne with Sayla, when we wished half way there that we could turn around because she was such an awful passenger. And I remember Green and their amazing tofu, the best vegetarian restaurant I’ve ever been to.
The thing is, I’ve really grown attached to our Boerne visits. And it’s more than just the good times we’ve had while vacationing there; it felt like home, like when you go back home to visit your parents and where you grew up. Since I no longer have access to my original home, mom included, I’ve leeched on to that quaint house in Boerne, to evenings looking out that big window, to trips to Nordstrom Rack so Janet can buy yet another pair of shoes, to my dad and Janet watching Sayla while we go for coffee.
Obviously, there was a big hole in my life after my mom died, after my dad sold the home I grew up in and moved away, after I lost my sense of family. But Boerne helped heal that hole, and naturally, it tugs at my heart now to be saying goodbye again, so soon. I don’t want to start over.
Not all is lost, this I know. I still have the important things, my dad and Janet, and now they will be closer. But we forge connections with more than just people, with place too, and those places brand our senses and in our memories bed down. The sounds and smells, the angles of light, the paths we walk and meals we savor. It gets us all tangled up, mushy and nostalgic.
I’m the kind of person who feels sad on Sunday night because the weekend is over, or sad when I get back home after being on vacation. But I’ve been trying to see things differently lately. To let an experience be wonderful, embrace it as such, and then let it go. To be grateful for the opportunity instead of sad it’s over. And I’m trying my best to have this mindset as I say farewell to my Boerne days. There are new memories to be made: new cafes and restaurants to explore, new windows to gaze through, and new paths to walk along.