And last week, she started an incredible, challenging, life-changing job overseas...in Iraq.
My kid sis. In Iraq.
Just last week, she was still living four blocks away from me, a stroller walk away. A trip to the cupcake shop away. A movie away. But this job offer came into her path, and she and her roommate Kathy applied for and got it. Something about reconstruction/engineering/blah blah blah. So in a whirlwind of applications, immunizations, physicals, and background checks, within a month of applying for this job, Beckie has been whisked away to a small military base in northern Iraq to spend a year trying to make a little difference. Kathy, too.
And the only thing that makes me a little uncomfortable with this new experience is that it is in the Middle East. Besides that little detail, I think this is the chance of a lifetime for her.
On the other end of the reaction spectrum, the more selfish end, is how I feel about what I'm losing. I am happy for her. I am hopeful this will be a deeply influential life experience for her. But one of my very best friends is now as far away from me as she can possibly be. In a scary place. Alone. I ache for her and for me and for Noah, her little nephew she has gotten so close to. It makes me so sad- to think of the many many moments we'll miss together while she is away. And though it IS only a year, a year is a long time in Beckie's nephew's life.
At lunch, I made sure she got as much Noah-time as possible. It was bittersweet seeing them interact like nothing was changing. And I could tell that the future was weighing heavily on Beckie's mind. I mean, how could it not?
And me? Well... I'll be okay. I'll miss her terribly. Deeply. I'll regret fleeting moments we could have been doing things together, laughing. But I'll be okay. And a year is short, in the grand scheme of things. And email is good. Care packages to Iraq even better. And she'll hurry back at the end of a year and reinstate her campaign to be Noah's coolest aunt... like she had never even left. And we'll all be okay.