On Sunday, my mom and Dana left. Dana had been here for five weeks, my mom for a little over a week total (spread out over two long weekends), and our house has felt empty ever since. Even before Dana arrived in mid-June, I knew it would be hard to say goodbye at the end; For fifteen years, my entire adult life, Dana has been a great dad. But I guess you can never anticipate what it actually feels like to say a hard goodbye. For the first time, Julia seemed to "get it." She started asking my mom and Dana when they were coming back well before they left, and would say things like, "After Nana and Dana drive home, they will get on an airplane and come back." Even Kenai has seemed a little sad, and is still sleeping in the guest room.
Scott, Julia and I went to a birthday party for 2 of Julia's friends yesterday afternoon. I was talking with another mom, and when I asked about their summer, she said, "It's been great so far, with the exception of this past week, when my parents were visiting. They left this morning, and I'm totally exhausted." It couldn't have been a greater contrast to how I was feeling. Never, in the five weeks that Dana was here, did I feel like it was an imposition. I never once wished for a few hours alone (though, with an extra adult here, I got much more quiet time than usual). We quickly fell into easy, nice routines: coffee and breakfast all together, lunches and check-ins in the middle of the day, a dinner routine where I prepped, and then Dana grilled while Scott and I put Julia to bed, and then we all ate outside, lingering long after the sun had set.
It would be easy if I could say something like, "Well, it was great for a short time, but I'm glad to be back into our routine," or, "I love spending short periods of time with my family, but I'm glad to be a plane ride away," but the truth is, having Dana here only confirmed what I have known for a long time: I miss my family. I wish we lived nearby. And so, we will keep doing what we do: daily phone calls, frequent Skype sessions, visits as often as our always-accumulating Southwest Credit Card points will allow. And in the meantime, we will enjoy our beautiful deck, and a beautiful summer, and start counting the days until our next visit.