It’s hard to believe we packed so much into six weeks away. We took the kids to the Kansas Arboretum, drove down to Texas for an awesome family reunion with my husband’s side of the family, saw old friends in Wichita, shot off fireworks with my family and James’ dad, learned how marbles were made at the Moon Marble Factory, ate at Liam’s two favorite restaurants (BJ’s and Fritz’s), saw the Mummies exhibit at Union Station, and I had a fantastic beach vacation at 7-Mile Island on Grand Cayman with my girlfriends. My dad made chocolate chip pancakes every single morning, and he cooked almost every meal we ate for dinner. We had a few play dates with old, dear friends, and the cousins played and played and played. Liam went to a spy class at Longview Kids College, and when the weather took a turn for the better, we took all of the kids to the zoo. We spent our last day at Loose Park, hugging our goodbyes, knowing we wouldn’t be making a return trip for two more years.
And now we’re back home…in Greece…sleeping until the mid-afternoon and up all night with my thoughts and worries. This lifestyle, this little adventure, it comes with a cost. It was easy to dismiss at the onset, but seeing the kids with their grandparents, their aunts, uncles, cousins…seeing the joy in my mother’s face when Violet climbed up into her lap unbidden…seeing Liam ride a four-wheeler and pal around so well with his cousin Colton…hearing cousin Evie beg and plead to spend the night yet again…all I can think about is all the time we’ll be missing with all of them while we’re here. Email and FaceTime are poor substitutes for a hug and a smile.
Four years is a long time. It’s the longest we’ll have ever lived anywhere. And after so many weeks away, Greece is feeling very foreign and decidedly NOT like home. Today I ordered groceries on my phone using an app called e-fresh. No need to dress the children and tear them away from the TV. I don’t think I could have handled the heat and the traffic that is August in Athens. What a relief.
1:03 AM. Still not tired. Hungry for dinner, actually.
My State Department friends, the ones who move every two years from one foreign post to another, I wonder how they manage this? Taking children in and out of schools, making all new friends, attempting to stay in touch with family from abroad. It’s exciting, yes, but it’s lonely, too. Learning a new language, new customs. Seeing famous sights, museums, getting a sense of the history. That’s all fantastic…and exhausting. Sometimes you just want to sit and have a drink with your sister.