|Proud of her packing job the night before|
|At the airport bright and early|
|FaceTime with Annie during their layover in Charlotte|
|The first airplane trip she'll remember|
|Landing in Providence, RI|
|The BEST photo|
|A wan smile because they're headed home|
Highlights of their four-night stay included a big family cookout, another one with old friends of Tim's, a slumber party with her cousins, and a lot of swimming.
Throughout the day and especially in the evenings, I would wait eagerly for Tim's updates on how things were going, and how much fun Delaney was having. She was certainly having a lot of fun, and at times, too much. Sometimes Tim would tell me that she was "completely exhausted, done.. never seen her this way.." Then after all that she wouldn't even sleep well. I almost think they needed to stay longer, so it wouldn't be so much in such a short amount of time.
As for how Annie, Timmy and I did with them gone.. well, things were a little different. Bedtimes were quiet. No arguing and loud noises coming from the girls' room. The morning after their first night gone, we all got up at 8. The second morning it was around 8:10. And the third, about 8:20. I would hear a little noise, look at the clock, go 'wow,' and then walk across the house to see what they were up to. Annie would be just sitting on her bed with a goofy grin when I opened her door. Timmy would be lying in his crib making little noises and sucking his thumb. They might have been awake since 7 for all I knew; but without Tim and Delaney there to motivate them, they had no need to bound out of bed the minute the clock turned yellow. So that was nice.
Annie was a little bit lost without her sidekick. We went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner the first night, and Annie was excited to go into the playroom there, when she was done with her food. When I told her she could go, she took off her sandals and stood there, shifting her weight from one foot to the other, unsure of what to do next. I led her to the room, and she played, but only for about five minutes.
Annie was glad when it came time to pick them up this past Tuesday at around noon. She chattered happily all the way to the airport. I had been warned already by Tim that Delaney was sad to be coming home, but I still thought she'd be a little bit glad to see us. I was not prepared for what I saw when I pulled up to the curb to pick them up. There was Delaney, shoulders sagging, feet dragging, wearing the biggest frown. She looked like a person resigned to prison for the rest of her life. She wouldn't even look at me when I was buckling her into her carseat.
The rest of the afternoon was horrible, just horrible. She whined, fought with her sister, and told us more than once that she just wanted to go back to Massachusetts. I knew she would miss everybody there, but geez, I didn't think it was that bad here.
Today was only a little better. It's like a cloud is hanging over us. I never dreamed when we were imagining how much fun their trip would be, how chaotic and stressful their first couple days back would be. Bedtime is war again, worse than ever. Delaney has had more time-outs today than in the last six months (two, I think). Her offenses have been whining, being disobedient, and not using her manners. I want to pout and whine too.
I guess it is impossible for a five-year-old to understand that you can enjoy going places and seeing other loved ones, but you have to be able to understand that home is home. It is not easy for any of us to be deprived of our big families, but we make the most of it. I think we do a really good job. I really and truly see home as wherever we the five of us happen to be. We are comfortable and happy and healthy, and we have each other. We have a lot. It is too much to expect for a little girl to have that perspective. I know I shouldn't take it so personally how devastated she was to be coming back here, and how moody and difficult she's been since. She is just a little girl.
Maybe tomorrow will be a normal day, and she'll be her happy-go-lucky self. I hope! I wonder if I ever gave my mom grief after staying for a few days at Aunt Mary Lee's wonderful house with a pool, fancy perfume bottles, Cracklin' Oat Bran, cousins, and as many pretzels and pop in front of the TV as I wanted. If so, I'm sorry for that.