The Importance of How You Say Goodbye

Hospitality isn’t just about the welcoming. Sometimes it’s about how you say goodbye…

There’s this routine my granddaughter and I share. Hard to believe she’s nearly sixteen now, but we still come up with these things, just like when she was little. She lives just around the corner from me and likes to come over in the evening to do her homework and watch her favorite TV show. The special thing we do happens when she heads out the door to walk home.  

It’s pretty safe here in our neighborhood and she’s old enough to walk home alone but part of the routine is that I stand on the sidewalk and watch until she turns the corner. Her part is to turn around every so often to see if I’m still watching. One last glimpse and with a wave, she’s gone. 

But wait! Don’t rush back into the house because all the sudden there she is again — looking to see if I’m still looking. And there I am waiting for that one last wave, that heart-stopping smile, the final goodbye.

As a grandmother, it’s delicious. 

But she has a little sister. She’s 7. She likes to come visit too, but she’s not allowed to stay as late as her big sister. Her curfew is before dark and she just recently has been given the ok to walk home alone. It’s a pretty big deal.

So the other night, she hugged me (20 second hug – that’s my rule) and went skipping off down the sidewalk. I waited and watched.

Sure enough, she turned around to see if I was watching. A wave, more skipping, and then a fast walk with that unbelievable little girl wiggle she has. A look back – yep, grandma’s still watching.

Now she’s nearly at the corner; she turns, waves and speeds up to a run for the final few steps towards home. She’s out of sight. 

I linger. Wondering. Thinking of the routine her big sister and I share.

And it happens! Her precious little head pops back around the corner, checking to see if Grandma is still watching.

Yes, sweetheart, Grandma is here.

Watching and waiting. And loving. And praying.

That’s what Grandma’s do.

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3 Responses to “The Importance of How You Say Goodbye”

  1. Chris Brown says:

    How cool is this! You are so lucky to have them right around the corner. I have two granddaughters who live about 10 minutes away. One is 3 the other is 6 months. Our routine, the three year old and PaPa, is a little simpler. A required hug, a kiss, an “I love you.” and then she tells me a secret and I tell her one. They aren’t really secrets. They are just whisper sounds that sound like we are telling secrets to everyone within earshot. You’re right, the best descriptor is “Delicious”! Well put Mama. I also have a grandson. He lives 1,200 miles away. :-( We’ll figure something out.

  2. admin says:

    Hard having a grandchild so far away, Chris. I know what that’s like. Three of mine lived in San Antonio until 18 mos ago when they moved here. So grateful.

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