Our vowel is moving. Elise Parsley, the “E” in KEM and our dear friend and critique partner, will ride off into the sunset with her husband, Jarrod, to experience new adventures in the far-off land of eastern Minnesota.
She’s become like family to us, so it’s painful to let her go.
Elise started preparing me and Kristi and her other critique comrades months in advance. “This isn’t good-bye,” she assured. “We’ll see each other again soon.”
I wasn’t so sure.
Her consoling words came to mind last night while I babysat my grandchildren. After story time, prayers, and last-minute water refills, I slipped downstairs to quietly pick up the house. As I washed the kitchen counters, huge five-year-old eyes peered around the stairwell.
I’m accustomed to at least one bed-time rebel. This one excelled in the charm department. She hugged my neck and sniffled as I carried her to her bed. “I can’t sleep. I’m afraid I won’t see you again.”
Little one still hadn’t succumbed to sleep when her parents arrived home. Instead, big tears welled up in her eyes. “I want Grandma to stay.”
“Oh, silly,” I said, as I kissed her soft, salty cheeks. “Wherever I go, I’ll be right here, in your heart. And, besides–this isn’t good-bye. We’ll see each other again soon.”
Then we planned picnics and play dates and parties. Just like Elise had promised me–picnics and play dates and parties–and so much more.
Today, I came across some photographs from a recent family excursion. This artwork adorned the walls of the Fort Meyers airport. The creative masterpieces put this moving business all in perspective.
We’ll remain in each others’ hearts. And our work will keep us close. We are aunties to each other’s book characters. And Elise has promised to keep in touch–no matter how famous she becomes. And there’s social networking and the old-fashioned cell phone and conferences and work shops and book signings and tours . . .
Thanks to Dr. Seuss, I, too, can go to sleep now.
Oh, the places we’ll go.
Oh, the stories we’ll tell.
We love you, Elise!
Photos of our farewell SCBWI-MN meet-up