Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Surprising Day

It was a strange day, all the way around. Nina had been with us for ten days and it was time to drive to Boston so she could catch a plane back home to Brazil. We had a great time showing her America and in the process of having her under my care she came to feel like one of my own kids. As much as I looked forward to getting back to 'real life' I knew I would miss her sweet spirit. Watching her walk up the hallway to board her plane felt much like watching my own daughter. The connection I felt to her surprised me.

And something else surprised me that day. We decided to leave the two oldest boys home so the minivan would not be quite so crowded for the long drive. It always changes the dynamics of our family unit when someone (or several someones) are missing. On this day I felt it profoundly.

I kept thinking to myself, "so, this is what having just two kids feels like...." Our family feels so right with four. Each has their own personality and own place in our gang. But the sheer volume of people who pile out of the van on any given trip can make things a bit more hectic than say, with a family of only two kids.

Of course we had Nina for half the trip, but once we dropped her off we were down to just a family of four. Two parents, two kids. And two kids ten years apart, being different genders. Both factors that play into the scenario.

Our oldest and our youngest truly enjoyed each other. She took over babying him like she used to when he truly fell under the category. He soaked it up, with no big brothers to impress. She carried him piggy back and never complained that he was too heavy or too wiggly. He gave kisses and hugs freely, which has become more rare since he has officially become a second grader.

We stood on top of the airport garage and watched the planes take off. It was a nice cool day, overcast but breezy, and the peace we felt up there made us want to stay for hours. If there had been some deck chairs available we just might have planted ourselves for the evening.

But finally Nina's plane took off and we were free to leave the airport. Driving back home the car was quiet. Two tired kids vegged out with shared headphones from her ipod. Hubby and I had some nice conversation and then some nice long spells of quiet reflection.

We tried calling home several times, just to check on the two boys left behind, but the call would never go through. Hubby blamed it on my cheap cell phones. I suspected it was more than that.

Sure enough we arrived home just after midnight to find that lightening had struck the huge tree in our front yard while we were gone. It knocked out the phone and internet lines. The boys hunkered down together and waited it out until we got home.

Such a dramatic end to a surprising day. A peek into what life with two daughters might feel like and then a peek into what mothering only half of my children might feel like. And then, to top it all off, a full 24 hours with no phone or internet, to truly appreciate having the technology to keep us all organized.

It is nice to be back to normal chaos.

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