It looks like Big Guy will be able to visit for a few hours on Thanksgiving. A social worker brought him over for a short visit today, and we have the green light. Snuggler and Little Guy were wildly excited to see their brother, whom they've only seen one since he left for his residential placement in September. The visit was shorter than anticipated and it was very, very hard for the kids to say goodbye. There are times I wish I had a rheostat for Snuggler's emotions and could turn down the flow; she feels things so intensely.
Eldest is one day away from being done with her whirlwind week. Her classes this term seem to clump exams within days of each other (as in today and tomorrow), she had a friend visiting for the weekend, a concert to sing in, two extra (fun) classes to teach, her job, and a list of homework that was so long it seemed to preclude sleep and eating and even the ability to construct a coherent sentence. But she's getting on a bus tomorrow night (after her 7pm exam) to come home for the holiday!
And so on Thursday all seven of us will be together for the first time since the end of August. It's been a long, feeling-the-loss-of-others time. It's been a time of adjustments, both emotional and logistical, a time of growing up and digging deep. I'm incredibly proud of my kids for how well they've done: Eldest, adapting to her first term at college; Big Guy, in finding his footing in his new environment; the younger kids, in re-shaping their lives with the older two away.
I'm looking forward to this weekend as much as the rest of my family. Yet reality often isn't as perfect as we imagine it will be. So I'm reserving energy to deal with the fallout of my kids' massive expectations, and for helping those who will remain at home cope with the pain of saying goodbye -- again -- after a temporary period of 'normalcy'.
Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving, and a long, long list of things for which to give thanks.