One year ago, life felt like it was a 10,000 piece puzzle that was near completion. But then, out of no where, ripped completely apart, with the pieces thrown every where. Here's a peek of what that looked like...
Packing for this new adventure was an adventure in and of itself. Questions flooding our brains. What would the weather be like? What clothes, shoes and non Southern California items do we bring? What toys, books, snacks and clothes should we pack for the little one? Do we bring our car seat or rent one from the car company? What city do we stay in and where the heck is that city in comparison to his new school and where She was residing? How do we do fun things without spending a million dollars and what is there to even do? Would a one bedroom suite with a pull out couch be more 'comfortable' for my Mr.'s mini or a room with 2 beds side by side?
After much researching and reading different blogs, I THINK I came up with a game plan.
Upon arrival to this rainy city, it was quite apparent that there was no guessing how this weekend would go. For starters, the car seat was an XXXL version of his infant seat. How uncomfortable would it be for our 5 year old, who usually sits in a booster seat, to now be stuck in a ridiculous version of one he outgrew long ago. A stupid thing to complain about, you're probably thinking, but we were trying to keep any and every little thing that we had actual control over as "normal" as we could. Needless to say, that was the last time rented a car seat and we planned on just bringing his from home, going forward. Once school let out and we were waiting to pick up our child with the utmost excitement, it was obvious the little one was beyond confused. No amount of planning could EVER prepare anyone for the magnitude of uneasy, uncomfortableness that seemed to flood the entire state, within the first hour. Let me tell you, uncomfortable is NOT the feeling you want for your child, let alone, not be able to fix it. It wasn't the start my husband wanted, especially in a situation he didn't create and that he had no control over. He was greeted with a very confused little boy who once used to run right over and jump into his arms.
It then turned into 20 questions. "Are you going to take me back to 'Canafornia'?" "Where is your car and who's car is this?" "Did you go on a plane?" "Can you move to seattle?" "Am I going to live with you?" "Where's my car seat?" "What is a hotel?" "Do you get to keep me?" It was clear that this little one was not being assisted much, if any, in his new 'temporary' situation. And there is only so much that can be done verbally, over the phone, 1200 miles away, to a 5 year old. Heartbroken, sad, mad, confused, irritated with what we could not control and mostly just devastated that this was happening to a little five year old and to the relationship with his dad; were among a few of the feelings bubbling inside me. But love and 'excitement' for a new land, masked those deep rooted feelings and kept them hidden from The Mini.
I'm SO thankful I married the man I did. He is beyond amazing in his love for his mini. He is overwhelmingly (and often irritatingly) wonderful at taking the high road and not including his son in the adult mess. A mess so grandiose, that it just feels like we're all swallowed in this hurricane of emotions, love, sadness, hurt, and no 5 year old should be thrown into a hurricane of this magnitude. You will see my husband just gaze at this little boy who is exactly like him, with this look of pure love. As I gaze at him, gazing at his boy, it's so blatantly obvious how much this little boy's dad is just dying inside. But to his child, his dad just wants to make him comfortable and loved, like nothing has changed.
That being said, we did our absolute best to make our hotel room like a little boys dream and turned it into a construction zone. We tried our best to continue our old routines and habits in how we were raising this tiny soul and brought in new traditions as well. We opted for a room with two beds, assuming that would be the best road to take for this first trip. From the moment She informed their child, in September, that 'they were moving to seattle and he wouldn't see his dad anymore because it was far away,' this sweet boy has refused to sleep on his own. Every time he was in our care, he was in our bed within hours of being put down in his own. Completely snuggled between the two of us. We decided a couple years ago that we would not go down the path of allowing him to sleep in our bed with us for a couple different reasons and we have stood by that... Until September. Well, this weekend brought out a side to our son, we could never wish upon anyone. I think we all probably slept around 8-10 hours total this weekend. Tiny was more restless than ever. Tossing, turning, having strange dreams, wanting head scratches, asking to sleep with us even though he was a couple feet away, becoming angry, and just not able to sleep. Talk about feeling defeated and helpless... Ugh... My eyes are filled with tears just reliving it.
This game plan I had thought I created was no where in sight. Between the need to be there in the moment for Mr. Littles and the 'excellent' weather seattle seems to provide on a regular basis, this weekend seemed like an unmanageable storm.
We did go to the movies to see How to Train Your Dragon 2, explored Alki beach and took advantage of the fun pieces of drift wood that took over the shore, and allowed our growing boy to indulge in his favorite treat of "cream" (whipped cream) with a chocolate chip cookie below it. On Sunday, we went to Woodland Park Zoo and if you're ever in Seattle, I highly recommend you visit. We got there before it opened, left when it closed, and the entire time in between was filled with these grand animal exhibits, cool animal interactions, and new play areas that filled Tiny with so much joy and laughter, for a length of time, we all forgot how different this weekend had been for our little family.
But then, all too soon, Sunday night was upon us.
Since the order the judge created was so vague in the time allotted to us, my husband decided a 7:30pm drop off time was best. We were able to create memories and love on the little man the entire day and he still had some transition time before bed at his moms. After the zoo, we got dinner. To continue with the weekend theme of uncomfortableness, this dinner had this unreal presence of just that. We hadn't even divulged any information for when we were to take him back to Her house and the amount of time that would take place between our visits, but he sensed it. He knew something was up. More questions came of "Emmy, are you going to cry? Please don't cry." "Why can't I live with you?" "Can you guys move to Seattle?" "How long till you get me?"...
My tears flowed... The little guys' tears flowed... My husband desperately trying to hold them back. Not wanting them to drop in front of his little man and forcing them to hangout like little pools in his eyes. This dad, just trying to be a strongest dad he could for his family and yet completely gutted inside.
It was equally as hard leaving him this evening as having him taken away from us so abruptly, on October 10. Although, no amount of time can ever prepare you for any of this, I certainly wouldn't wish this upon anyone. This little boy, only 5 years into his life, may not be my blood, but he is one half of my husband and a total replica of the man I married. Therefore, making it impossible to not love him as though he were my own. And then here is this 30 year old man, fighting against every fiber in his body to remain filled with love, comfort, hope and strength for his son.
The drive back to the hotel after we dropped the little man off was silent and filled with tears and sadness and we just held each others hand.
And almost immediately we were making arrangements for our trip back there in just under two weeks...