We had the absolute best foreign exchange student we ever could have hoped for. Kiwi was always willing to try new things, she had a great attitude and melded into the fold of our family perfectly. She was not used to being part of a large family and I think the jump from living as an ‘only child’ to one of 5 kids only slowed her down for a minute. But today, she headed back to Germany. We all went to the airport with her.
For the last week or two I have been worried about how I would handle her leaving. I am not good at good byes. I told her that I would probably cry and she said she would too…. And seemed relieved that she wouldn’t be the only one. This morning I was in a strong denial mode. We went to the store and I imagined that it was not the last day. As the morning and afternoon wore on it got harder and harder to pretend we weren’t leaving for the airport soon. Everyone was quiet at the airport, but still in a bit of denial. The kids all raced each other on the people mover, laughed at Pete when he went up the escalator (while everyone else waited for the elevator) because he had his headphones in and gave each other wet willies while we waited for her to board. I had decided to be strong. It would only make it harder if I cried too. Great thought. Didn’t work. I cried, but not as much as she did. The kids all sort of hugged and looked stunned as we watched her walk toward the plane.
I had not planned on the hardest part. Dill… our 7 year old was heartbroken. He sat in the car on the way home holding the headphones Kiwi had given him like a rosary and watched out the window at all the planes flying away from the airport. I could hear him softly crying and see him in the rearview mirror as I drove. For as awful as I felt, with my adult brain and heart that had gone through loss and change in so many ways…graduations, job changes, moves, both of my parents passing away, my first love dying way too young, people that came into my life and left… what could my little boy be thinking?
I knew I could try to reason with him. Tell him how great our time with Kiwi had been. I could tell him she would come visit. But I knew he would look at me with his ‘old soul eyes’ and just know that it would never be the same and it would not lessen the pain he was feeling one bit. Macy leaned over in the car and just rubbed his shoulder and when we got home Dori walked around and gave him a hug and just held him. We are in the house now. All huddled in the living room eating junk food and watching Spongebob. It feels like a funeral parlour in here. Pete sighed a minute ago and said, “There is nothing I want to do because Kiwi is gone.” I know son… loss hurts like hell. Love is a tough thing…