Having lived in six countries in the past ten years, I am familiar with the pain of saying goodbye to friends. Friends who became family. Friends who supported me as I navigated new countries and settled into new cultures. Friends who have shared so many of the ups and downs.
In a few weeks I am saying goodbye to another, a true soul mate, who is going to leave a wide gaping hole. But the reason it is so much harder this time, is not only the impact her departure will have on me, but also the loss that will be felt by my children.
When we left our last location, over two years ago, they were too young to comprehend the significance. Now my daughter understands the magnitude of this goodbye, and we are both dreading it.
Why? Because this great friend, Cissy has been the most significant "external" (out of home) role model for my daughter to date. She has had a profound impact on her view of the world. She has been there when I couldn't, encouraging, inspiring and supporting her. They eat dumplings together, go on adventurous road trips and have conversations that are beyond me. They practice Chinese, freeze plastic dolls in the freezer as science experiments and gang up on me in the nicest way possible.
The most important thing is she has proven to me how important it is for our daughters to have strong role models who are an integral part of our life. The everyday role model, not the actor, the musician, or the athlete, but women we know personally, who make the time to connect, to share to educate and to encourage our girls.
We don't need to do this parenting game alone, after all, they say it takes a village.
Who is your daughter's other mother?