As the school year comes to an end, my daughter is readying to say goodbye to some of her friends. They are preparing to set off on journeys of their own, and she will watch them go as she remains here for a time.
I see myself as I watch all their lives unfold, tales unwritten and stories untold.
I see myself at six years old saying my first goodbye to my best friend Courtney when she moved to Tennessee. I said goodbye to my best friend Melissa when I left private school to attend another. Then the goodbyes rolled by like years, and I was nineteen when my cousin left the state to start a new life. She was more than family; she was the best friend I had ever had.
In the presence of such loss, words poured from my heart onto the page as I paid homage to our friendship. On August 3, 1998, I penned the words below:
You are a jewel in the crown of my life / precious and rare you shine / truly a gift from our good God above / a blessing for a time. / I clasp you to my heart so near / thankful for a friend so dear / you are beauty in my life / blessed is he who calls you wife. / God is calling / you must go on / here we part / now you’re gone / but remember... / You are a jewel in the crown of my life / you bring out the best in me / though our paths are different / I know that a friendship like ours / was fashioned for eternity.
It is in this spirit that I hope my daughter says her farewells. People come and go from our lives like the ocean tides. Like the waves which leave shells upon the sand, people leave parts of themselves behind, even if it is only the memory of their time with us.
The Eleventh Doctor from “Doctor Who” said it best to his friend Amy Pond: “You’ll remember me a little. I will be a story in your head. That’s OK. We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh; because it was, you know. It was the best. And the times we had, eh…. In your dreams they’ll still be there.”
Like Amy, I carry stories in my heart. I remember.
When I walked into the girls’ gym at Gentry Junior School to cast my vote in the bond election, twenty-five years fell away. I could almost see my eighth-grade P.E. class line dancing to the country music that blared from the speakers and the girls milling about the gym. I could see myself sitting in the stands with the Christian Student Union, smiling for a photo. I wanted to linger there; but as I learned long ago, one must move on.
I walked out of the school and drove forth on the path before me.
May my daughter and her friends do the same.
Stacy Parent is a lifelong resident of Baytown.