My parents left me last night, heading home to Boston. Our last day together in Buenos Aires was spent pretty selfishly, as they took me around town buying me some new clothing that I needed. They wanted to go to the leather district in the Balvanera neighborhood, but by the time everything was settled with me, there wasn't really any time for them to do shopping. So we went back to their hotel, had a coffee by the pool, and then I watched them get into their shuttle to the airport.
This time it affected me. I was clicking my heels with joy when I left for Spain as a 20 year old, living abroad for the first time. Before leaving for Ecuador I was definitely a bit uneasy, but more for myself and what lay to come, yet I faced it strong-willed and determined to succeed. And by the time I left for Argentina, it was nothing to me. Just another time leaving home and going to live in another country. As always, my mom would cry and I would tell her to stop.
This happened again yesterday, only for the first time I really felt it hard. Previously, I was leaving home for a semester, or a year, or undetermined. But now I'm looking at another year and a half before seeing them again, and maybe for the first time the reality of how long that is and what it means has hit home. My parents are getting older, and I could see that on this trip. Not that they are in wheel chairs, but the time when they could outdo me physically has long passed, and there's no turning back.
This trip was long and though difficult in stages, very enjoyable. But it was also a continual reminiscence session, with them bringing up memories from my childhood and adolescence. Aside from winter and summer vacations, I really haven't lived at home since I was 18. Now I have my own apartment in Buenos Aires, a full time job, and a life going in a different direction than Sharon, Massachusetts. It's a hard pill to swallow, but they see that too. I don't see how I could ever be a boomerang kid.
For two weeks we spent almost every moment together, and now suddenly they are gone, and I'm alone again. It's a harsh transition, but I've made difficult ones like this before. In a few days it will be easier, and I have my friend Lauren visiting from Ecuador on Thursday. But there is still something haunting in the face of my mom as she got in the car to leave. Something more than her simply saying goodbye for a while. That's part of the price I pay for living abroad, and unfortunately I make my friends and family pay it too.