One of the post-move things that will always rip my heart out is watching my kids say goodbye to their extended family after spending time with them.
Goodbyes are not fun.
They weren’t fun when we first left to move here, and they still aren’t fun about two years in.
Grace is a hot mess. She is very, very good about giving everyone hugs and kisses and wishing them well, but she eventually runs over to me and buries her head in my neck. And sobs. And sobs. And sobs. Which then makes me cry (I hate to cry!). I am pretty sure her utter sadness also makes Kenny fill up with tears. She is that heartbroken. Every time.
Gavin keeps his cool when the actual goodbye-ing is happening, but will later do what I can only categorize as “guy feelings things” like ask me for extra long hugs, randomly reach over and grab my hand, or ask me if I miss gram, pop, this uncle, that aunt, and so on. I love that guy. It’s going to be interesting to see how he matures and handles things. Sometimes – like when saying goodbyes – he seems to be able to control his emotions well. And others – like when things go off plan – he goes absolutely off his rocker. Haha.
A few things I have realized:
1) I feel terribly guilty that my kids don’t get to spend nearly enough time with their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. They really do love spending time with everyone. They really miss their family. It makes me happy and sad at the same time – haha. Before moving, I was worried they were too young to remember or care, so the fact that they DO care and miss their family kinda makes me happy. (Maybe not happy – maybe relieved?) It makes me sad because it’s hard to live so far away from your family – and it’s sad that their little hearts have to know what that feels like.
2) I am beginning to think that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Lately, I’ve been wondering if the distance between my kids and their family makes time spent together that much more precious. Like do my kids make the most of it? Do they understand it’s special and, therefore, don’t take family time for granted? They are probably too young to really tell just yet, but I kinda got the sense that they do realize it’s special after Kenny’s parents’ visit in May and then again over this past week with my family.
3) My kids “count down” to family visits. I decided to take advantage of this when Grace was melting down after this recent round of goodbyes: I ran through the list of things we have to look forward to in the coming months to help her get a sense of how “soon” she’d get to see her family again. (“Soon” as in a few months – ha!) That only sorta calmed her down. So I took it one step further and said, “Hey, I have an idea. When we get home, let’s make a calendar where you can write in all the important things you have coming up, and have count downs to everything you are looking forward to – like your next visit with your family.” She slowly lifted her head out of my shoulder nook and nodded. She asked if she could draw pictures on it. Yes. She asked if she could glue pictures of her family on it. Yes. She asked if she could use any colors she wanted to. Yes. She calmed down after that. And has asked no less than 10 times when she can start her calendar – hahaha. (We’ve been home less than 48 hours and had a ton of laundry and food shopping to do! :))
I did find a cute printable calendar that I will work on with her tonight. Gavin even wants in on the action. Maybe this will bridge the void (in some small way!) between visits with family. I know a paper calendar can’t compare to real hugs from Gram and Pop, etc., but knowing just how soon that next hug is coming will (hopefully) alleviate some of the burden on their little hearts.