Family In, Family Out

In the last few weeks all of these happy people have been here and then gone again.

Family 2There is something wonderful about seeing family for special occasions, and there is something else that’s wonderful about seeing them for no reason in particular.  Typically we see our family about once a year when we descend on their homes, take their rooms, and dip into their lives full force for a few days or a week.  But it is good in a different way when they get to hang out with us in our daily things: bus rides, school runs, favorite dinners, nap times, daily dress up or lego building.  

Family 4It’s never been easy for us to leave our families, even if we have grown accustomed to it over the last decade or so.  But it’s becoming increasingly harder on they kids.  

For two weeks we had an influx of people that changed each day.  There were different combinations of people over for dinner, picking the kids up from school, hanging out in the living room, and staying over night.  It was great, sometimes a little tricky, but also deeply satisfying.  Unfortunately, the kids got used to people being around, and when everyone left they had to reacquaint themselves with the reality that their extended family is just not around on a day-to-day basis.  

For a few days after everyone left there would be comments at dinner like, “Wait! Justin and Tasha can sit in those seats!”

No, they aren’t in London anymore.

Mom, I’ll look out the window for Grandma and Chelsea to come back!”

This was for the next few days after we had watched them take a taxi to the airport from that window.

Family 1I used to try to distract the kids from being disappointed whenever we left family or they left us.  

I know you’re sad that we’re leaving grandma and grandpa, but aren’t you excited to get back to London to see your friends?  I know they’re missed you so much!

But I haven’t done much of that this week.  I don’t want to pull a veil over how enjoyable it was to have everyone around just to help the kids cope with disappointment now that it is over.  Instead I’ve just been letting them talk and affirming them when necessary.

I’m sorry you’re sad.  I miss them too.  That was really fun when we all went to the park, wasn’t it?  If they come visit again, what should we show them that we forgot this time?

Family 3Also there has been chocolate, the king of all coping mechanisms.  And naps.  Lots of naps.