Friday, July 31, 2020

Saying Goodbye

Over the last couple weeks, I've gotten to say goodbye to my friends here in Florida. The local ones, at least.

I was hesitant to have a big "going away" party, partly because of Covid and partly because I hate being the center of attention. It worked out nicely, then, that the pandemic made large gatherings impossible. Instead, I was treated to two small, outdoor get-togethers that left me feeling loved and appreciated. I need to give myself more credit - it seems people actually like me and will miss me!

Not pictured: my gracious host.

First, Stacey hosted a small dinner for me at her place. We all sat outside on her patio and chatted for hours over sushi and wine. Jenn and Jess couldn't make it, but my other closest friends were there. It felt wonderful to just sit and talk with some of my favorite people!

I had told Stacey how uncomfortable I was with being the center of attention, so the gathering was very low-key and casual. It was perfect.

Then a week later, my principal asked me if I'd feel comfortable coming to an outdoor, socially-distanced luncheon with our team. Although the gift-opening was a little more intense, the atmosphere was super laid back and comfortable. I felt so lucky to be acknowledged in this way.

I had been thinking of getting a necklace very much like the one they gave me, so it was perfect. Also, I am stocked up with tons of gluten free snacks for the road now!
It's silly. You're probably thinking, You've worked there 11 years, of course people are going to say a proper goodbye! But the truth is, I have it in my head that I'm not going to be missed. I feel like...have I really made an impact on anyone here? Do they care about me the way I care about them? Do they think of me when I'm away, or is it "out of sight, out of mind"?

I'm going to miss my other Musketurtles!

I know these thoughts stem from my difficult childhood move to Florida; these low-pressure get-togethers, thrown in my honor and without my asking, have finally soothed the emotional wounds I've been unconsciously dealing with for all these years.

Flashback to my going away party in summer '99.
I feel properly spoiled and loved, now, and maybe I can admit I deserve to be celebrated.
Yes, that is a decorated and signed toilet seat...truly the most unique gift I've ever received!
I'm going to miss my work family so much, and I'm going to miss my friends. I'm so grateful for social media, and I hope in time this pandemic gets under control and I can have some visitors up in Seattle. This feels a little bit like a do-over, a chance to leave the right way. I'm excited for what comes next.


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