Our two youngest kids are 17 months apart, both in high school, just a grade apart. And they each consider the other their best friend. The oldest is a boy, and has convinced his sister that the ability to play Call of Duty and to really understand football are elements that will make her the perfect woman someday. I am so proud of them, navigating high school with a sibling can be very difficult, but they have found a way to do it with respect and concern for the other.
Over the summer, our kids spent most of their down time together, along with a group of mutual friends. But our daughter had a couple of opportunities to travel over her break, and left her brother at home twice, two weeks at a time. It was pitiful; Coleman moped around the house, texting his sister, trying to talk her into coming home early! He didn’t play certain video games the entire time she was gone, because it wasn’t fun without her. She, on the other hand, had the time of her life, experiencing new things and meeting new people along the way. Watching our son feel the loss reminded me of something I learned years ago from moving so much: being the leaver is easier, the one left behind has a much harder time because nothing is new, everything is known.
Many of us are in a season of either leaving, or being left behind. We have children going to school, to the military, to college, to work. And we have friends who move away and start new lives in other parts of the country. If you are feeling left behind, try to be happy for the person you love who is experiencing a new adventure, let her know that you love and miss her, but celebrate with her that she is starting a new life. Be open to others who are new to your circle of influence, and invite them in. If you are leaving a strong network of friends or family, leave with the confidence that has been invested into you, honoring those who have supported you but understand that you have the easier role, and try to understand how hard it can be for the others.
No matter what, we need to celebrate the changing seasons in the lives of those we love the most, appreciating whatever time we have together.