I'm already missing my oldest grandchild who left this morning to return to Pennsylvania. Her mother and siblings are still here for another day or two, but her leaving has left me with that empty feeling I get every year when they leave after their summer break here. My heart already hurts.
I sometimes wish we could return to the days when families tended to stay in the same place and you would always be surrounded by the people you loved. For so many years my ancestors were in East Hampton and it was a rare member of the family that left: My one great uncle, my aunt who went off to college and never returned. But other than those exception, my people were here. And I often wish it was still that way.
I think the world changed when we began sending our children off to college - or war - and they began to see the world as a bigger place than just their hometowns. New adventures opened up to them, and the world became a more exciting place. I get it. I just don't like it.
Of course I knew when I sent my children off the college they might now all return. And I know how lucky I am that three of them did come back to East Hampton and are raising their children here. Trust me - I know it. But that does not make me miss my daughter and her family any less. It breaks my heart every time I have to hug them goodbye and send them on their way.
So today is a sad day. But its also one of joy as this granddaughter - as are all my grandchildren - is growing into an accomplished young adult who needs to get back to her life and the wonderful things ahead of her. I'm so proud of them all. But I still want to keep them close. And that is the difficulty of life. Letting go and holding close. That's the dilemma we all face, don't we?