This week, the lid to my crockpot shattered. It quietly slid off the side of the crockpot and down the edge of my cabinet. I was pulling the chicken out of my enchilada soup since it was too early to eat dinner and I wanted to prevent the chicken from drying out. A more athletic individual, like my husband, might have caught the lid mid-air. Not me. After deeply inhaling in an effort to remain calm while accepting the intense undertaking necessary to clean up every single sliver of glass, I thought, “Oh well, I needed to replace it anyway.” 


I haven’t always been this sophisticated.

It was during my first few years as a “playdate” Mom that I grew to understand there is an art to “Goodbye.” You may wonder if I had to learn the hard way. It did require quite a few tears (mommy’s and son’s alike), a number of ultimatums along with general grumps and gripes to recognize a better way must be sought.

Many thanks to one particular friend who grew with me through this developmental stage. Though she and her young family needed community as much as we did, they were subjected to some of the challenges of our rocky wrangle-ups. We finally found a semi-sweet spot with a conversation before any get-together. 


“Remember, when Momma says it’s time to go, what do you say?”

“Yes, Mom!”

“And...thank you for taking me to play?”

[usually silence]

“What happens if you don’t come right away when I say it’s time to go?”

“We won’t get to play next time.”

“That’s right. I’m happy we get to go see our friends now. Let’s enjoy our time.”


Fortunately for me, I too had a friend many years later, who was still growing in this stage of her own life. I probably felt pride as I was able to witness her rocky wrangle-ups and realize it wasn’t just me that needed to learn the art of goodbye.


How can we navigate well the inescapable goodbye?


As a mom, I have learned that the best time to say goodbye is when everything is going well. “Leave on a high note,” I typically say quietly to myself as a reminder it’s better to be missed than witnessed amiss. That’s just my philosophy! What about you?

The Art of Goodbye
by Jennifer Lytle

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