Thursday, July 28, 2011

Goodbye, Goodnight

I just got home from a goodbye/going away party.

I know, I know, I should be "used to" friends moving away, with college and everything, but I can honestly say that this person moving away is really getting to me.

I'm actually losing two really important people in the next few weeks. Joel, a tutor at Family Matters, is moving to the east coast on Monday. And, my coworker/boss/friend Jenn is moving to West Virginia mid-August. I'm sure I'll blog again closer to when Jenn tonight I'm going to focus on Joel.

Joel is the tutor I have always wanted. Haha, that sounds strange, I know, but I don't think I could sincerely ask for a better tutor than Joel.

I remember the first time I ever met Joel--he seemed different: nervous, intimidated, but eager to help at the same time. I met him quickly, and threw him into a room with his student. Joel had a particularly hard role to fill-he was taking the place of a tutor who had to leave suddenly. Joel was definitely up to the task, though I had my doubts at first. He checked in with me several times without his tutoring session--I was as encouraging as possible. After a few sessions, he and his student started to bond a bit more (I mean, as much as a 30something year old male tutor can bond with a 12-13 year old teen boy).

Both Joel and his student appear quiet to the outsider. They seem shy, maybe, or just...different. Looking back, I don't think we've paired a pair (haha English, I hate you!) better than Joel and his student. They were both procrastinators that realized the value in doing hard work to get yourself somewhere in life. Joel could follow a lesson plan to a tee, but he also knew how improvise when needed. Joel was also usually the first tutor to submit comments and recommendations to me for the following week's planning. Joel stayed on task, and on schedule. He let me know weeks ahead of time if he had to miss a tutoring session, and would reschedule on another night (convenient for both him and his student). Joel grew a lot as a tutor, and a person, during his time at Family Matters. When he saw how tight-knit a community we had the opportunity to be, he went out of his way to re-organize "Morseland nights" to try to build relationships between tutors. I can truly say that some of the best nights I've had have been spent with the Family Matters crew: Me, Joel, Jenn, Gretchen, Brad, (and later) Christian and Bridget.

Being at Family Matters, and with this crew especially, makes me feel at home. Even this summer, we had a great time playing frisbee (despite the fact that the first time we played, my hand turned black and blue and swelled up like a mofo! Excuse my French...), going out for food (and drinks), and tonight, at Joel's going away party. Tonight, I hadn't seen Gretchen, Christian, Bridget, and Joel in a long time, but we caught up quickly and enjoyed hours of conversation (and food and drinks...see the pattern here...hah). Gretchen and Bridget both gave me a big hug (Lana! How are you! We've missed you!) and Christian and Joel gave me the one armed "hey what's up" squeeze. It was so good to see them... I've spent most of my summer working, or waiting for people to get back to me on hanging out... and I guess I forgot how much I missed spending time to them, and how much it means to me to have such a cool group of people around. They even asked about the guy I was dating the last time we saw each other...which was a really nice touch, one that I appreciated greatly. It's one thing to ask about me--they know me--but to remember to ask about someone they've only met a time or two--well, it shows how much they truly care.

Wow, amazing how I went from singing Joel's praises to singing the crew's praises. I think that's mostly because I see us as a unit--a piece of which is moving away bright and early Monday morning.

I'm still sad--I don't know if I'll ever see Joel again. Isn't that crazy? We don't think about this too often, but "each time" you see someone could be your last. I didn't think that the last time I saw my poppy (Father's Day) would be the last...and alas, it was. I don't know which is better--not knowing, like with Poppy, or knowing--like with Joel. I can't guarantee I'll ever see him again, and I can't guarantee I won't, either. I do know that I'll always hold him in high esteem; a person like Joel is not easily forgotten.

The song that comes to mind most when I think about people leaving (especially people that have significantly impacted my life) is this one: here, "For Good" from Wicked.

"It well may be that we may never meet again, in this lifetime, so let me say before we part. So much of me is made from what I've learned from you. You'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart. And now whatever way our stories end, I know you have rewritten mine, by being my friend."

Goodnight, and goodbye, Joel. You've been a true friend, an amazing tutor, and an excellent role model. May you encounter only the best on the east coast.

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