Yesterday, after a ten day jaunt across the Atlantic, my mother-in-law flew back to the land of town-halls and home of health care debates. It was her third visit to Portugal, and we (present company, son-in-law included) had a wonderful time.
We packed an entire year into almost no time at all. We took a vacation – three days near a quiet northern beach. With decorations, we celebrated everyone's birthday except maybe mine and the president's. We had Christmas, although without decorations. For the sake of maintaining the appearance of sanity with the neighbors, I drew the line at a glowing fake Fraser Fir resonating from the window in early August. We played. We worshipped. We loved. And, of course the night before it all came to an end we cried. Especially the kids.
They bawled and moaned. They yelped and blubbered. They groaned and sobbed, and finally when all of that was finished, they sniveled and whimpered and wept a little more.
The thought of Mimi leaving and not coming back until spring made them almost hysterical. No, it did make them so.
To a pre-schooler, eight months might as well be eight long years. It's like a prison sentence only without an early out for good behavior or any chance for parole.
Skype is great, but it just isn't the same as a warm hug or the fullness of a belly laugh.
So ever since she left, I've been wondering if it gets any easier? Don't get me wrong, with God's magnificent grace and abundant provision even in the worst worldwide financial crisis in almost a century, I don't have any real blues to sing. We have a nice home, rice and beans on the table, comfortable beds, and plenty of love one to another. We have many friends who love us dearly here.
Yet, with such great uncertainties regarding both time and possibilities of future family visits, will it ever become less difficult to say goodbye to Nanny and Pawpaw? To Gramps or Uncle Danny?
I don't think so, but neither do I want it any other way. I want to teach my kids that life is never fair and some sacrifices are well worth with it.
I believe that children should be sheltered from wickedness but not necessarily from heartache. Yearning, without instant satisfaction produces much in the way of gratefulness upon fulfillment. Pain is a valuable and important emotion that brings with it maturity, strength, and an appreciation for joy when what is hoped for finally arrives.
Daily, my family lives a fish-bowl existence. At school, the kids are those of a “married priest” from a “strange religion.” They get peppered with questions and constantly battle stereotypes. It will just get worse and worse as they grow. That's what makes these excursions so important to us. We have a little piece of Americana for a few days. Personal attention from Mimi makes everything better. Little Debbie's, kool-aid, and Laffy Taffy serve as a wonderful balm. Then she leaves, and the lessons begin. It doesn't ever get easier, but we learn a lot along the way.
Written by Michael Andrzejewski