My beautiful wife, Holly, has a saying about those uncomfortable moments in life -the ones that we hate to deal with but have to confront. Her saying is that it's best to "just rip the Band-Aid off". It's a cute saying.
At some point in our lives, we have all had cuts or scrapes that required a adhesive bandage...and at some point when we pulled the bandage off, it hurt to do it. So we lightly tugged and ever-so-gently pulled at the bandage, wincing and grimacing all along the way. The pain of removing the bandage was
invariably as excruciating as the wound itself. Had we just pulled it off quickly, it would have only stung for a moment, and then would have started to feel better.
Sometimes in life we have to do things that are not fun. Things that we certainly don't look forward to doing. Things that we don't want to do, but know that eventually we will have to do anyway whether we like it or not. Our natural inclination toward these events is to put things off, drag them out, deny that they are happening -basically, anything we can to procrastinate and not be forced to deal with the inevitable. What we should do is go ahead and "just rip the Band-Aid off".
Holly and I recently took our younger daughter off to college. We helped her move into a cute little rental house that she will share with two of her friends. Since our little one graduated from high school back in May, the entire summer had been building up to this event. We helped to gather items needed for the house, purchased furniture, purchased needed clothing items, made lists and checked them many times over... It was one of those things that kept snowballing into something bigger and more expansive every day. It seemed like the more we needed, the more we bought; the more we bought, the more we realized what we forgot we needed. I think we're still thinking of things we forgot to pick up.
We gathered, packed, hauled, un-packed, placed, arranged... I, for one, assembled a bed with drawers in the pedestal, a large headboard, a bedside table, hung curtains, AND I installed a new dishwasher. The girls unpacked boxes, and put away things. There was a lot of work to do, and we all chipped in together and got it done.
Then, eventually the moment came when it was time for us to leave; leave our little girl, at her new place, without us, for the first time.
I could see what was happening. It was getting late. We could have stayed over for one more night. However, the work was done. And, I could see the look in our little girl's eyes...the one that let me know she was wondering just how much longer we would be staying. Not that she wanted us to go...she was simply looking forward to her first night there without the parents.
I could also see the look in Holly's eyes, and hear the tone in her voice...she wasn't ready to leave. Not that she wanted to stay. She simply was trying to avoid the inevitable for a little while longer.
We said our goodbyes, and left. It was a rough drive home. I'm sure that I would have been more of an emotional wreck than I was, however, being a step-dad, I simply do not possess all of the memories that Holly has with our sweet girl. My beautiful wife, cried almost all the way home. Tears of sadness; tears of joy; tears of reflection; tears of hope. As I drove us home, and watched my sweet wife have a breakdown that at one point was beginning to resemble that of Sally Fields in "Steel Magnolias", I began to realize what it was that was going on...
Rather than the proverbial "apron strings" being cut, and with very sharp and exacting nature, those "apron strings" were being slowly untied...and our trip home, and all of the tears shed along the way, was very much the same as "just ripping the Band-Aid off". It stings a lot right now...but only because we just did rip it away.