Today we said goodbye to Grandma CoCo (she pronounces it Coco, as in Chanel. Cam pronounces Cookoo, as in clock. The name came from Grandma (who is French) coming over and yelling “Cou! Cou!” as she approached our door. It means peek -a-boo in French. Since then, “Grandma CoCo (ahem, “Cookoo”) it’s been.
(hold up….my son is looking over my shoulder as I write this and he just said, “Wait, what are you spelling?!” I asked, “What do you think I am spelling?” He said, “That says Cookoo!” I said “What does that say?” Pointing to what I’ve written above and he read “Grandma CooCoo”. Oh shit. He is starting to read. Crap crap crap!)
Ok back to my previous sentence…So Grandma CouCou was in town, she was here for a little over two weeks. The kids had a blast, my husband and I had a wonderful time together, reconnecting and communicating. And Grandma got to eat up a ton of time with her two of her favorite little people, Leah and Cameron. Oh! And we got a ton done to the house, including a new roof, and more work done on our bathroom remodel. It was a fantastic two weeks!
So today we drove Grandma to the airport and along the way the kids fell asleep. My mother in law didn’t want to wake them once we reached the airport, so she kissed them and said goodbye as they each snored happily. With a honk and a wave, and a tear in my eye, that was goodbye.
I felt a bit anxious. Not right. Like I had a lump in my throat. I was sad.
And then my son woke up.
I saw the look of panic in the rear view mirror as he let out a “GRANDMA!?” and searched the car for her. I quickly let him know that Grandma got to the airport and had kissed him goodbye and how she would call us so he could talk to her before she took off. That seemed ok to him. Although he was breaking in and out of tears.
My heart broke.
I was heading to Wendy’s for a square hamburger (it’s a treat…we don’t have one in our town) when my son woke up. I quickly wanted to get him a little toy to take away some of his hurt and sadness..I know I know, I am a softy. But the toys at Wendy’s weren’t up for the task. So not only did I buy myself Wendy’s I then ran to McDonalds to get Cameron a cool kids meal toy. Yes you could say mommy guilt was in effect.
We got to McDonalds and ordered some toys, I mean food, and then I saw that they had given my SON (all boy) a girls toy. Damn it…didn’t they know this was my “treat” to make his heartache go away from missing his Grandma CouCou? Damn you McDonalds!
As predicted, my SON, cried out “THAT’S a giiiiiiiiirrrrrrrllllllsssss toy!” in disgust and a woeful, tear jerking cry fest erupted.
Can’t a kid catch a break?
There we parked, in the McDonalds parking lot under the shade of a palm tree. I climbed in the back and sat squished between the kid’s car seats and together, through tears, we all ate our fast food. Grease flying, tears rolling, and me trying to remind myself that I am supposed to keep it together for them. But I just couldn’t help it. I wanted to let them know that it was ok for us to be sad. It’s a sad thing to say goodbye to people you love and like and care for.
After we dried our eyes and wiped our mouths we spent the next 45 minutes during the drive home, talking about the next time we will see Grandma. Making plans. Explaining how long a month was. And how it won’t be like a “million trillion years” as my son exclaimed.
And then we watched for whales. When the topic got too sad about being so far from family, I quickly shouted, “I see a whale!” I really did a few times…other times, well…
We moved to Hawaii to get an experience. To go out of our comfort zone and have an awesome adventure in Hawaii, to live in a new culture, a new land, and have a once in a lifetime journey. And it is awesome. But we didn’t move to get away from family. We were and are very very very close to them. So it’s almost odd to me that we took our kids to such a far away place.
I have to believe we’re doing what’s right, for us, for right now. But the goodbyes. They sure are hard. And as my children get older, their pain and sadness, it is 100 times harder than what I feel myself.
That is the bitter part of living in this sweet, magical land, of Hawaii….saying Aloha to family and friends as they head back to the mainland.