“See Ya’ Later, Alligator…”

Whenever I visit my nieces, (who happen to live 2,000 miles away) I always have such a great time. They are so innocent and joyful and playful and just a complete BLAST. After a few days of bliss, it is actually very difficult to leave. The thought that the good times have to come to an end, that I won’t see them for a while, that the next time I visit, they will have grown and evolved into a different phase of their development, and that I will simply just miss them, can be pretty hard to bare. However, my oldest niece has a way of lightening the mood. She has a carefree way of looking at the situation. Interestingly, she doesn’t get all sappy and overwhelmed with the departure, almost as if she knows that we will indeed see each other again, that we will talk on the phone, that we will exchange Christmas/birthday gifts and messages and that we will embrace the next phase of our growth and celebrate it. She gives me a big hug and I simply say, “See ya later, alligator!” and she retorts, “See ya’ soon, baboon!!!!” 😂😜😜

After 11 years of living in the great state of Georgia, teaching some of the best students, working alongside brilliant colleagues, worshipping with the best church family, sharing space with awesome neighbors, cheering in the stands with some of the most amazing parents, and bonding with the best friends I’ve ever had, our family bids the most sincere, heartfelt and tearful “See ya Later, Alligator.”

Our journey takes us to Arizona, where my son will attend Grand Canyon University to pursue a degree in electrical engineering and technology, my husband will transfer his same job but greatly reduce his commute, my daughter will complete her final years at a pretty great neighborhood high school in our area, and I will pursue some new adventures as well.

We have been preparing for this departure, understanding that it would be difficult, but not processing just how much. We have truly made the most amazing relationships and memories throughout this phase of our journey. We were even fortunate enough to live in our own little slice of heaven the past four years, fully equipped with amazing friends, schools, and landscape. Leaving may have been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

Thankfully, the first leg of our transition has been a success. We have been in Arizona for a little over a week now. Of course it wouldn’t be true Harper fashion if we didn’t make it an adventure.😊 We broke up the 30-hour drive into a few days with hopes that the beautiful scenery and the promise for the future would outshine our feelings of sadness and exhaustion from packing, loading and moving. Though we are not all the way settled, we are on our way. We are looking forward to building, growing, living, loving and adventuring in the great Valley of the Sun.

As time moves on and my heart heals from being away from the beautiful people and way of life I have come to love, I hope to take on the spirit of my amazing niece. I know I will see my friends again. I know I will talk to them and exchange on social media. I know we will share holiday messages and celebrate all the growth and great things that are to come. I know this is not the end. So with that, I send the biggest virtual hug ever given, and instead of goodbye, I will simply say, “see ya’ later, Alligator!” Here’s to exciting adventures on this leg of your and our amazing journey… I LOVE YOU. 😘😘😘

22 thoughts on ““See Ya’ Later, Alligator…”

    • Paula, I thank God our paths crossed. You have been an inspiration in so many ways to me. With your warm heart, kind words, your love for your family, how well you treated my family, and that do it yourself kind of life. — Moving can definitely be tough, as I experienced the toughest move before of leaving a Texas. That was a place where I gave my everything to God and began to grow in grace and I met friends who today, Facebook brought us together forever.
      I’m excited for you and your family and way to go Cole!!! I love you and your family.
      While you say see ya later alligator — my response is after while crocodile😁

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    • I’m just SO grateful you have your in my life Kamilah!!!! SO grateful we have shared such an important part of our journey together! I can say it wouldn’t have been the same without you!!! Looking forward to our girl get-aways!!! Until then, sharpen up your design skills, you KNOW you are about get 2,000 “what do you think about this?” texts!!!! 😁😁😁😁😎😎😎😘😘😘😘

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  1. I’m very blessed God allowed our paths to cross while you taught in Georgia. I hope to always keep in touch. Thank you for all of your kind words and endless support. Good luck to your family on your new journey in Arizona!
    It’s not goodbye, just see you later!

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    • Aww my sweet sweet Janna!!! Thank you so much!!! I’m SO glad we are able to stay in touch. I LOOOVE seeing you rise and shine!!! You have ALWAYS been a blessing to me! I look forward to exchanging all the ways God continues to bless us both!!! Until then, See ya’ later beautiful gal!!!! 😘😘😘😘 Keep being GREAT!!!! 😘😘😘

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  2. Paula what you wrote is exactly how I felt this past year. It’s crazy how emotional the move can truly be, but I’m trusting in God to do some remarkable things in your family as well as mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Yes. And Yes!!! I so appreciate your encouragement! You and your family know first hand how difficult it can be!!!! I’m glad to see the success you guys have experienced on the other side!!!! Thank you so much for reading AND for sharing your journey as well. You are and always have been a blessing to me!!! 😘😘😘😘

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  3. Man..I didn’t know you guys left but I am praying for you all. I respect Mike soo much the time I wad about to connect with him musically. He’s one of my alltime favorite musicians not just because he’s a monster player but also his heart and spirit. You guys are mentors of mine and you don’t even know it. Love you and pray continue blessings for you guys.

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    • Awww!!! Mike thank you SO much!!!! I know it was no accident our paths crossed!!! We love Team Jones and are so grateful for our time together!!!! I so enjoy hearing your amazing talent and watching how God will use it throughout your journey!!! Thank you for your encouragement throughout!!! We hope to make music together again some how, and until then… We will see you and your beautiful family again!!! Blessings to you!!!

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  4. Harper’s I will truly miss you guys but I know that when you are following the leading of Holy Spirit you must obey. One day Ronelia and me might be knocking on your door to visit you guys.
    See you later alligator.
    Bro Ron

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    • Aww!!! Brother Ron, you and Sis. Ronelia have been blessing our entire family throughout our entire time in GA!!!! Thank you for being so kind and a great example to us!!! We would LOVE for you to visit in AZ!!! Until then, SEE YA LATER!!!! 😁😁😁😁

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  5. Harper,
    Words can not express what a joy and blessing it has been to have you here in my life for the past few years. Your energy and spirit always lifted me up and your smile and enthusiasm and unending encouragement is the stuff of greatness. I have learned from you how to be a better friend and I look forward to a girl’s trip to AZ in the future!!! xo Jen

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  6. Congrats Paula this is great. Peter and I left everything we’ve ever known in MI and moved to Connecticut. And we did it separately for lots of wise reasons, we dropped Saudia’ off to college, he and the kids came here in September, and I came in December. God’s Grace is sufficient because I look back on it and sincerely don’t know how we did it except, But God! He’ll do the same for you as He always has. Love and miss you, Shelika 😘

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    • I SOOOOO appreciate you Shelika!!!! It has been WAAAY too long!! We need to connect and catch up!!! Until then, I am grateful for your encouragement. Thank you so much for reading and sharing with me!!! Major congrats to you and Team Tate!!!! 😘😘😘😘

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