All I did was dig through a few boxes for my new blog feature “Throwback Thursdays” which will start tomorrow…found some pictures of Livi and then all this happened.
I remember very clearly the morning I left.
Eyes exhausted, mind racing, throat sore from swallowing down my nerves, fears and sadness.
I scooped Livi up out of her crib and laid her on the floor to change her diaper. I was trying to avoid looking her in the eyes but they eventually met and with that the crocodile tears that I had pointlessly tried to keep swallowed down silently and heavily rolled down my face.
I forced smiles at her as I picked her back up and held her tight to walk down the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast.
There was a quiet and nervous energy in the house that day.
My car was sitting outside in the driveway with a tankful of gas. It was packed to the brim with all that I didn’t send in the moving truck, ready and waiting to transport me to a new city, new home, and new life.
We all shuffled around the kitchen, the entryway, the driveway until there I was standing with the drivers door open doing everything I could think of to avoid getting in.
Why did this feel so much different from when I left for college? Why did it feel so much worse?
Because I went to college 45 minutes away from home and saw my mom and family multiple times a week.
Because when I went to college I didn’t have a little sister.
People have always said about Livi that she is an ‘old soul’. Born three months early and at two pounds she started her life with a pain that most people don’t have to deal with until they’re much older.
She’s always been wise.
She’s always been knowing.
She’s always been able to look right through people in an incredible way.
It’s always been a little bit surprising and that morning was no different.
I’ll never forget the way she looked at me, barely two years old, knowing that something was happening but not quite sure what. So observant. So aware. She was somber, and quiet, which only made me all the more sad.
Standing in the driveway, I picked her little pajama clad body up and wrapped myself around her. She just laid her head on my shoulder, let me cry, and waited what felt like a very long time until I was ready to let her go.
I didn’t know what to do, I had to just set her down. My parents came next with hugs, tears, ‘i love you’ and ‘we’re proud of you’ and before I knew it I was sobbing my way down highway 9 towards my favorite boy and my favorite city.
Very dramatic I realize. But it stands out as one of the most vivid and memorable days of my entire life. I thought that my heart was going to shatter in two that morning.
Once on the road and nearing Denver, when I realized I was still living and breathing, I became very excited for my new life. But facing my family that morning and really truly leaving was astoundingly difficult. It remained so for the next…oh…six years.
I’ve been missing Miss Livi lately.
Since day one it’s been difficult for me to be away from her, but as time goes on, it really does get easier. But for some reason it was harder than it has been to leave her this time. I’m sure it’s due to the wonderful Memorial Day weekend we spent with her and my family in MN.
I used to truly believe that she could forget me. That she would forget me.
One of my second most vivid memories was after a particularly long time apart at the beginning of my life in Denver.
Jon and I were back at the lake and I had been experiencing INSANE amounts of anxiety that she would have no idea who I was.
Not even that. I was worried she would know exactly who I was, but that she would be nervous, shy, and uncomfortable around me.
I wouldn’t blame her.
But it would kill me.
I got the phone call that they were on their way.
I remember pacing the cabin.
I got the phone call that they were there which I knew because I had been nervously staring out the window for six hours.
It plays in slow motion every time I re-imagine it happening.
I opened the back door of the cabin and saw the tail end of my moms van sticking out. I watched her come around the edge of the drivers side, a quick wave, heading toward the back to let Livi out.
I was already nervous and on the verge of tears.
Livi rounded the corner and hesitantly started walking down the hill towards the lake.
I held my breath and powered forward, acting like I didn’t care, managing my expectations with every bit of self control I had.
She’s going to walk right past me. She’s going to cling to my Mom and not look at me. She’s going to cry when I try and talk to her.
Instead she broke into a run. She started running down the hill.
Oh my God it’s happening. She’s going to run past me. She hate’s me. Act like you don’t care, focus on your Mom, she’s just a two year old…who cares.
Instead, she looked straight at me, continued running down the hill with a grin on her face and LITERALLY leapt right into my arms.
It was right out of a damn movie.
I completely choked up, remained as still as possible while I just held her, like the day I left home, and let wave upon wave of gratitude wash all over me.
It was easily one of the best moments of my entire life. That little girl had NO IDEA how much I unfairly had wrapped up in her that day.
Anyways. I’ve been missing Livi.
Luckily for me I’ll be scooping her 6 year old self up in less than a month when we go back to Minnesota for the 4th of July. I’m pretty lucky to be her big sister. She’s an amazingly sweet and kind little girl and it’s been such a blast to watch her grow up.
As if things weren’t dramatic enough already, I’ve been wanting to post this video for awhile now. It’s a stunning music video for the band Gotye and their song (my favorite on the album) Bronte. It reminds me very much of Livi, it reminds me of how bittersweet it felt to leave that morning for Denver, but most of all it reminds me of our ‘Neverland’ back yard where my siblings and I grew up. Grab your tissues Mom.