The windows are wide open and the fresh air is pouring in. Abby and her friend Alyssa (flew in from California -- but who was with us in Cairo!) are next door enjoying s'mores at our neighbors' house (also friends from Cairo, you know) and I can hear them singing songs while they enjoy the chocolatey marshmallow treat.
You'd almost never guess that just three weeks ago, it was snowing here. But Spring has finally, FINALLY!, arrived.
Abby turned nine (yes, NINE!) at the end of March with the final winter snow. We celebrated with an ice skating party, Chuck E. Cheese, and a sleepover with some of her friends. They were friends who were with us in Cairo, and who live in the area now. It was pretty close to perfect. Of all of our kids, Abby's the one who connected most with Cairo, still occassionally referring to it as "home." She's doing well here, but really misses her friends from Cairo. We're so grateful for FaceTime - most of her closest friends have it, and she's able to keep in touch with them using it. But actually getting together with them in real life is the best, of course.
And that's exactly what happened for our kids tonight.
Remember the craziness of last summer? When the kids evacuated from Cairo, but I was still in California? The fab hubby had to start his new gig in D.C, but I was still on the West Coast. The Toddler happily went to the grandparents' houses for the five weeks we had to juggle before I would be finished with my contract and military commitment. But the big kids? What to do with the big kids? The big kiddos flew out to be with me in Los Angeles. But keep in mind, I was contracted at an ER and working most days of the week.
This is where it gets really awesome. My amazing friend, Krista and her fab hubby took in our two oldest kiddos for nearly three weeks. Despite the fact that they have four kids of their own (who are close friends with our kids) AND despite the fact that they had just left Cairo themselves (and were in the middle of accepting their UAB and HHE), they allowed Abby and Owen to hang with with them at Camp Pendleton (San Diego area) while I finished up my RN contract in Los Angeles.
Thus making it the kids' greatest summer ever, as all of the kids (ours and theirs) got to enjoy the rest of summer together, even going to surf camp. But when it was time to leave? So many tears, from all the kids. It was heartbreaking.
BUT. Fast forward to tonight. It's now been eight months since the kids have seen each other. After a lot of planning and a lot of United miles points (maybe I should stop grumbling so much about United??), Krista's two oldest kids flew out to D.C. to spend our kids' spring break HERE!
It's been an epic reunion for all. And I really couldn't be happier. I love listening to their laughter, as they catch up with each other. S'mores time is now over, and the kids are settling in for the night. Owen and Josh are playing XBox and the girls are playing with their American Girl dolls. It's a perfect Spring night, as they really, truly, fall back into the friendships they've managed to pick up where they left off at last summer.
|That's me and Krista at the Marine Corps Ball in 2012 in Cairo. I miss her.|
The only thing that would make it better? If only I could have seen my awesome friend Krista, too. Because the hardest part for me is also leaving my friends every time we move. Sure, we're good about keeping in touch - phone calls and texts and Facebook and more texts. But it's not the same as actually getting together.
But I won't dwell on it! Because I know that just like our kids, the next time we see each other, we'll pick up right where we left our friendship at last summer. Because we're good at that, too.
But this Spring Break?! This Spring Break is ALL about the kids. And it's going to be the best Spring Break ever.
|Owen waiting for his friend to arrive. Because they are unaccompanied|
minors, we got to meet them at the gate. Such a sweet moment.
|Josh and Owen. Abby and Alyssa. All together again!|
|The car ride home. My head still hurts from all the noise. |
(But I loved the ride home anyway.)
|Krista and Alyssa worked on these jammies together. So cute!|
Of course, the requisite trip down memory lane for the recent birthday girl. Abby when she was just four years old. We were living in Ohio and she was outside playing in the rain. So cute!