April 9, 2013 by Julia
No one suspected that my younger sister Lisa would be the one to move away from home. And not just out of state – out of the UNITED STATES. And not just out of the country, but OUT OF OUR HEMISPHERE. And not just out of our hemisphere, but OUT OF OUR GALAXY. Just kidding. She moved to Australia. (And not just Australia! But the boondocks of Australia, a three-hour flight from Sydney!)
The four of us kids have never even moved out of our parents’ state, so this is huge. My siblings and I attended college fairly close to home, and all of our places of residence have been within forty-five minutes of our parents’ house. But Lisa has been the homebody-est of us all. She is the enforcer of our holiday traditions (do not dare to cross her), she is the determiner of what is “best ever” or “worst ever,” she keeps her old falling-apart dollhouse in my parents’ basement and forbids them to ever get rid of it. And I think she has actually said that she could never move far away from our family.
So what has prompted her to make such a drastic move? True love.
True love has sent Lisa across the world! The guy’s name is Thomas. He used to live here before transferring to Australia last year. He and Lisa dated for almost a year before he left. There were several signs along the way that he might be THE ONE:
Sign No. 1: He wants to go to the same kinds of events and places that Lisa does – namely, art galleries, museums, concerts, parks, etc. Culture, people! You gotta have it. This has always given him a “Best Ever” stamp in Lisa’s book.
Sign No. 2: He surprises Lisa with thoughtful gifts that show how well he knows her; he pays attention and understands that certain details matter a lot to her. Perfect example: a silver envelope necklace that opens to reveal a removable silver letter scripted with the words “I love you.” Lisa loves tiny things. She also loves things that open up, secret messages, and unique silver jewelry. I think he gets her. That means a lot coming from me, her big sister.
Sign No. 3: Lisa brought Thomas home for Christmas Eve. It was the biggest sign of all, considering that she was breaking one of her own cardinal rules by bringing a non-family member to CHRISTMAS at Mom and Dad’s. The whole family was reeling! We were like, whoa. This must be love.
Sign No. 4: When she went to visit him for a month in Australia (again, out in the boondocks), they could have potentially driven each other crazy. It just sounds so intense to me…a LOT of one-on-one time, especially when they haven’t seen each other for many months beforehand. But instead of coming back home in March with her bubble broken, she announced that she was going to go back and marry him. She seemed simultaneously excited and at peace.
Sign No. 5: When I was visiting with the kids this past Friday at our parents’ house, Lisa went to Skype with Thomas, and mom said it was the third time they’d talked that day. Ahem lovebirds ahem.
Also, and this is not really a sign per se, but I get a good vibe about Thomas. I wish I’d been able to hang out with him more before he moved away, but what I have seen and heard from Lisa tells me that he is a person who meets her high standards and challenges her, a guy who can be trusted with her heart, a person who loves her deeply. And she is all those things for him, too.
They are going to get married a month after her arrival. Just a civil ceremony in Sydney, and then when they move back to the states after a few years, they will have a larger ceremony here with family and friends.
I asked my parents what it will feel like to have all of their children married off. I can’t remember their exact words, but it was something along the lines of happiness, and strangeness at the passage of time, and relief, although my mom has been freaking out about the long distance thing. Did we cry during our long weekend of goodbyes? Heck yes, we did. We’re a bunch of softies. My brothers are usually the first to start. I love to call out “Ben’s crying!” the second I see his eyes get red.
The worst part for me was when Lisa had to say goodbye to Jack and Fiona. Kids make goodbyes much harder…maybe because they are going to change so much in a short time, and you don’t want to miss anything. Yeah, I was a blubbering idiot. You’d think I was the one saying goodbye to them.
We don’t really know what it’s going to be like. Lisa only left yesterday, so it’s hard to tell so far. We kept waiting for her to freak out herself before getting on the plane, but she never really did. I think it’s because she has so much to look forward to – and it’s easier to leave (especially for a new phase of life) than it is to be left behind.
At least she’ll be coming home for Christmases. And it’s a good thing, because who else would keep us in line during the biggest holiday season of the year?