The Beginning of the End

by Amelia Kanan

Tonight I began my week of goodbyes and I realized that this is going to be harder than I thought. Being back in Los Angeles, I can feel a change. I feel like a visitor, as though I don’t belong and am anxious to get back to Detroit where I can jump into my new life however, no matter how mentally ready I am for this new chapter it doesn’t make saying “goodbye” to the people I love any easier.

Tonight, after I hugged a most precious little 5-year-old girl , who I’ve watched grow since she was 19 months old, I had to turn my head, so she wouldn’t see my welling tears. One of the things that makes this 5-year-old so special to me is because we share many similarities. Not only is she a Capricorn and has brown hair like moi, but she also makes similar facial expressions and is more than a titch on the imaginative side. I’ll never forget a particular Spring day when she, her mom and I were all sitting outside. She was a new 3 and came up to us and said “I’m going to jump high. So so so high. One day, I’m going to jump so high, I’ll jump onto the roof and then bounce off into the sky and fly so high. So so high that I won’t (sniffle-sniffle) come back” She began to cry and her mom hugged her close and said “You don’t have to fly away if you don’t want to, Sweety” and she looked at us, through her tearfully gleaming eyes with a grin and whispered “Shhh, I want to pretend I have to go one day”. Immediately, I died. Not only did I know what she was feeling, wanting and executing but I felt as though I was seeing myself how others see me. A little odd, crazy, funny and amazing but not like anyone else. Her brother, is a few years older than her and he was 5 when I first met him. He was the snuggliest and smartest  5-year-old I had ever known. He began playing scrabble very young and began beating me and his parents quickly after by using 7 letter words I had never heard of before. When I hugged him goodbye and goodnight, I told him how I much I loved that he was still so snuggly after all these years and he said “I’ll always be snuggly for you”. Again, I had to bat away the tears.

After the kids were in bed, the parents and I finished our wine, talked about life, change, religion, music, movies and politics. We laughed and told stories of growing up and with crazy parents. It was so fitting. We talked about all the things that had bonded us when we had first met. I love the fact that after all these years, I still look up to them.  Seeing them in action, even when they feel they’ve lost their patience or ran out of ideas, I remain in constant awe of their perspective on life, their parenting techniques and their own relationship with one another. Their openness, encouragement, guidance and listening ears created a foundation for me that has been essential to my survival here in Los Angeles. They welcomed me into their family, made me believe in my talents and never stopped supporting my ventures. Not to mention, they had me for breakfast, lunch, dinner and sleepovers whenever I wanted! Their kids are extraordinary and it’s been a gift to have watched them grow, learn, achieve and be shaped into their own little people selves. I’m going to miss all of them so much, it’s really beginning to hurt.