My mom and dad visited us this weekend.
Last year during our husbands' intern years - for the first time living far from our families - a friend told me: "Sometimes I wonder if the pain of saying goodbye to family after they visit is actually worse than them not visiting at all." I somewhat agreed at the time. My mom had spent two days helping pack our home, driven across two states with me when we moved for intern year, and had stayed for a day to help me unpack in our new home. I was eight and a half months pregnant. I cried and cried when I dropped her off at the airport. I could not believe the feeling of despair and emptiness as she waved goodbye and walked through the airport doors.
It was painful, again, to say goodbye to both my mom and dad yesterday at the airport. But, I would never trade this weekend with them for anything.
Upon arrival, my mom commented on how clean my house was and how I should not clean so much - she and my dad are the best guests ever. They oo'ed and awe'ed over our new home during my 3-year old son's tour, and his subsequent demonstration of riding his bicycle around in circles inside our garage. We took a short road trip to visit other family. We talked and talked. My kids jumped on our trampoline, showing off their tricks - with their grandpa.
We ate ridiculously delicious (fresh) salmon sandwiches and perfect fruit from a farmer's market for lunch. We talked and looked out across the water and enjoyed the sunshine. My daughter fell asleep on the couch, cuddled up close to her grandma. My parents went lake kayaking for the first time while my kids yelled helpful tips to them from the shore.
We laughed. My parents talked intently with my daughter about her friends, her kindergarten experience, her artwork, and her love for pink. Our family celebrated together with relatives and friends while my 8-year old son was baptized and confirmed. My kids cuddled up to their grandpa while he read them library books before bed each night. My dad woke up each morning with little bodies climbing and jumping around his head. My 3-year old disappeared for the weekend while attaching himself permanently to either his grandma's or grandpa's hands and attentions. My parents insisted on taking us on a shopping spree to Costco. (We should have lined up the kids, with one shopping cart each.) My 1-year old played an endless game of 'chase' with his grandpa. We squished into our minivan and went driving around looking at real estate on the water. My parents cheered on my 8-year old while he played in a soccer game, and later, meticulously built Lego creations. Late one night, my kids taught my exhausted parents how to play mario cart on the Wii.
My parents love to laugh, they are easy-going and kind. They constantly look for ways to encourage and improve the lives of those around them. My kids learned about their grandma and grandpa, they learned how much their grandparents love them, and their love for my parents was strengthened. My 8-year old hid one of their suitcases while they were preparing to leave for the airport. No one wanted them to leave. We stayed up late - too late - talking about life, parenting, current stresses - theirs and mine, future plans, loved ones struggling, past memories, and the little, important secrets to happiness. Twice, I laughed with my mom, so hard that I cried.
Yes, it is hard to say goodbye. I love to be with my mom and dad. I miss my brother and sisters and their families terribly. It is hard for me to live so far from them. But, I'll take that tearful goodbye at the airport any day - if I can have another weekend - just like this one.