We’ve been back on NL ground for about 24 hours. In that time, you can imagine how we’re feeling- overwhelmed, tired, and bursting with what went on in the past week or so. I promised the boys that I would write it all down not skipping a detail for posterity.
What it’s all about
Many of the details are probably very similar to someone going to visit relatives and friends on a vacation. But- there’s a difference when you’re coming all the way back from overseas after a couple of years’ worth of absence (such as expat life). Fortunately nothing bad happened to us (unlike our attempt back in 2014 when we all were flu ridden) but Murphy’s Law and all that.
Wednesday June 22
Without much ado we landed safe and sound six hours in ‘the past’. The flight went awesome and after an annoying snafu with the rental car at the airport we made our way the 40 minute drive to see my sister and her family with whom we were staying. It didn’t take long to bust out the swim suits since it was hot- like 30 degrees warmer than it was in the NL when we left.
That afternoon we hopped in the car and made our first (of three) trips to the magical land of Target. I got very exciting things like cold medicine and Ziploc bags. I took the boys to lunch so I could have my Big Boy Slim Jim and when we went back to my sister’s there was more swimming and a visit from my parents. I think we were all exhausted and in bed by 9pm.
Thursday June 23
Since it was rehearsal dinner day- we had (what I assumed would be) a quick pop in to the dentist for a check up. I had no idea that when my husband was giving me ‘the look’ after being in the room with one of the boys it meant ‘Bad news’. Bad news indeed. Even though we’ve kept up with dental visits here (and had a visit the last time we were in the States) we were told there were many issues, two being emergency priorities. Linc had an abscess molar which needed immediate removal. Chase needed a crown. All three were riddled with so many cavities that they made up and action plan and set us up with follow ups to do what they could in case there were openings while we were in town. Chase needs to see an oral surgeon back in the NL since he has an extra tooth which hasn’t dropped and needs to be removed. The evil molar of Linc’s had to be taken out right away- so it was scheduled for the following day- which happened to be the wedding. What could go wrong?
Somehow we managed to get ourselves together and drive out to the rehearsal dinner location that night.
Friday June 24
Wedding day! My little brother’s wedding was about an hour and a half away by car so we knew that with traffic we would have to leave by 3:30pm. Linc had to be at the dentist for his tooth to be taken out and I had a salon appointment for some bonding appointments with my nieces and sister to pamper before the wedding. My nerves were already shot since I knew my husband would have to deal with the dentist alone- but he did it. The boys were at my mother in law’s and she got them all dressed and ready for the wedding (THANK YOU). By the time I picked them up- Linc was kind of in a haze and I doubted he’d even make it to the wedding. I hoped they’d all sleep in the car on the way to the venue- (which they did) and I rode in the back with Linc holding a tissue to catch his drooling blood. Meanwhile we realized that we completely spaced on the pediatric well visit we had scheduled for the morning. Oops.
Surprisingly, the wedding went awesome- the bride and groom had a perfect day- my kids experienced their first wedding and ended the night catching fireflies and having a ball. Linc had recovered by dinner time and I was thrilled. Whew.
Saturday June 25
This day was chock full from the get go. My husband had an early morning golf outing. After that his mother had planned a family gathering at her house for their side to see the boys. It was wonderful seeing their cousins, aunts and uncles. My kids haven’t lost the idea or sense of family (even with being so far away) but they still grinned from ear to ear when introductions were made over and over. I, on the other hand, was starting to drag. The afternoon slipped away quickly and my husband still had his 20th reunion that night (which he had organized) and had to leave by 5pm to set up. I had plans with old friends- but had to make an appearance at the reunion and hitched a ride with his buddies. Thankfully the kids were camping over at grandmas and were in good hands. Still, a late night and a few too many drinks made for a painful Sunday morning. We weren’t’ even close to having our ‘to do list’ cleared.
Sunday June 26
Omg it’s already Sunday?! Here we had an afternoon party at my sister’s with my family- and my out-of-town uncle who we see every 10 years or so wanted to put on an old-fashioned luncheon just like my grandma used to do. He had special ordered a hunk of brisket to cook for us all and while the kids swam we caught up. By 2pm I was bracing the kids for the fact that the day still wasn’t over and we had another party to attend- for which we were already late. My best friend Kelly was hosting a bash at her house- which was on a lake and had invited our good friends and kids over. Not to mention my other best bud flew in from Colorado and had coordinated his trip to meet my kids. Back in the car boys!
At Kelly’s the boys had a number of firsts: jet skiing, tubing, and hanging out with the awesome second generation of kids whose parents I had gone to high school with. It was such a fabulous day- we didn’t even realize how tired we were. Just keep going. Or in this case, just keep swimming!
Monday June 27
Home stretch. I still had so much to do. We had to get back to the dentist to get a spacer put in on Linc’s missing tooth, Chase needed a cavity drilled and a crown placed on top, AND there was me somehow getting out to see my Landmother Marilyn. She lived about 45 minutes away. She’s like my second mom- I lived with her before I married and feel she’s someone very important to me. Her and her son had come to the NL to visit us last fall and was dying to see the kids. Unfortunately because of the dental drama I had to go solo- but we still managed to pontificate like old times and before I knew it I had to get back in the car and fly through Detroit rush hour traffic and be on a boat by 6pm.
My sister had arranged to take the boys fishing for another first! It was a gorgeous day- hot as hell, but nice on the lake. My father, nieces, brother-in-law, sister and her in-laws were able to relax and enjoy our last full day together. By dinnertime we went back to my sister’s for more swimming and a big American BBQ and my husband managed to go out and hook up with some of his old buddies. Again, we all stayed up way too late but it’s what you do when you sign up for this!
Tuesday June 28
Going home day! I still had more on my agenda. My first real friend from elementary school I hadn’t even seen yet- so the stars aligned and we made a lunch date for 11:30 am. My husband being the rock star that he is- said he’d take everyone to the pediatrician since they had an opening to cover the appointment we had previously missed. One of my poor kids was due a vaccination which he handled like a trooper. I made an early morning Target run getting the last of the ‘must haves’ with my friend Kelly, and we then caught up over a two-hour lunch- and before I knew it I had to be back at my sister’s to finish packing.
My husband had a 4:30pm interview at the airport to finish his global entry application, and by the time that was over we had 40 minutes to be at our gate.
Talk about hectic. There are so many people I didn’t get a chance to see- things I wish I was able to do- so in the end you just have to be grateful for what you can manage to squeeze in. Additionally it’s extremely helpful when you have people in your life who understand what you’re facing when you come ‘back’. I’ve seen many expat articles over the years talking about how going back ‘isn’t a vacation’ and it’s not. But never once has anyone EVER made me feel bad- or that we didn’t try hard enough to arrange some kind of meeting. No one should make you feel that way- and if they do, you need to sit down and write out your agenda and be like- hey, I’m trying my best here.
Once you get home you have to be able to sit and process it all because my god- I haven’t even been able to digest the fact that my little brother got married, I saw my best friend who just beat cancer and that my kids had a litany of first time evers of their whole lives. Not to even mention how much fun my boys had with their cousins and holy heck their dog. I think Linc is forever in love with my sister’s golden Edison.
All in all I couldn’t have asked for a smoother trip- the whole dental fiasco aside. You just gotta keep going and tell yourself you can sleep when you get home. 🙂
I’d love to hear your experience of ‘going back’. And seriously- you need to jot down for future reference what it’s like. In 50 years from now you’re gonna wish you could have busy days like those again (and maybe be impressed by what a superstar you can be under pressure).