Walkaways

Two years ago today, I asked my children to leave everything they ever knew behind, again, follow us somewhere none of us had ever seen, again, and lay down the seeds of an entirely new life. Again. Two years ago, we opened the door to this house, held our breath, and stepped into come what may.

Where are you from they ask me, these new people I’m constantly having to learn. I can never figure out if they mean where I was born, or where I was the person that I used to be, or where I became this person I am now, or where I last lived, or where I would go if I had the choice?

I have no idea where I am from.

I am cheap ground beef.

I keep telling my children that some people go their entire lives in the same place, with the same people, living the same lives until they die, but they...oh, they! They have lived in countries, plural. They have seen things, touched lives, loved and been loved in return, I tell them, and they will be richer people for it.

I’m not certain any of us actually believe that anymore.

My children have a amassed an army of friends that reaches across the width and breadth of this continent. I lied about my kids ages so they could have Facebook accounts to feel connected all their Denverite and Canadian friends who's parents lied about their ages, too, and I don't regret it for a second, but I also don't think for one second that it will be enough.

What I don't want my kids to ever learn is that having all of those people out there in the ether, just out of reach, only serves to reinforce just how alone you really are. That every time you leave someone behind, the hole that is left in you is never big enough for someone new to fill. I watch my children play out front with the friends they are making here. They play basketball and build skateboard ramps and catch disgusting toads and ride bikes and talk about girls until well past dark. I smile because I think they can look at those kids and see their future. I am so terrified for the day that they look at their friends and think what I think: it's just a matter of time before you're just someone we're going to have to remember.

Are you making friends there they ask me, those people whom I've spent my entire life leaving. Well, there is that one  I say, not knowing how to tell them that I don't think I can anymore.