Sometimes in life - at least on this journey of ours - things don't go exactly as planned. Today, we had to say goodbye to Papa. We'll see him in a few weeks' time, this time in Dubai, but it's still hard to go our separate ways.
Believe me, I am truly terrible at goodbyes, but I know that my being emotional will only prompt the boys to do the same. Today, we said goodbye in a shopping mall (was that really my idea?), and despite my best efforts, I cried for a couple minutes. I don't think Lukas noticed it, but I'm sure a couple of passers-by did. Not that that matters. As I'm quietly snuffing and sniffling, I hear snippets of what Lukas is cheerily saying, "...we're a family together again..." and "...but I have the best Mama and Papa in the world..." which, of course, made it even harder for me to put a stop to the tears.
Anyhoo, here are my tips for keeping everybody's chin up when it's time to say goodbye.
1) Do something fun during goodbyes. Last time we drove to The Netherlands, and this time we headed off to get some ice cream after Papa left. After we left the mall, I took Lukas to the store to pick out a movie (and snack) that we could watch together this afternoon.
2) Make sure you have lots of distractions planned throughout the period that Mama and/or Papa are gone. In our case, I want to bring the kids to the zoo, take Lukas to the movies without his little brother, possibly go to The Netherlands for a long weekend, go swimming, etc.
3) When things are tough, make a care package for the person that has left. We haven't done this yet, but are definitely thinking about it (I can't say too much, otherwise we'll spoil the surprise for Papa). :)
4) Surround yourself and your children with people that care. Whether it's Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles, or just special friends, knowing that the are loved makes all the difference when the going gets tough.
And above all, shower them with your love and affection and remember that, this too, shall pass.