I remember our first two weeks in China. It was fall ’08 and Kai was 2 1/2. “Mommy, can we go out and make new friends today?” Either he’d heard me say it before, or it was his little way of telling me he missed his friends Micah and Maddox back in Ohio. Probably both.
Watching our kids say “hello” and “goodbye” is one if not THE hardest part of cross-cultural parenting. Because my experiences as a teen living cross-culturally I often wonder why in the world we do this to our kids. BUT because of the outcome of those growing up experiences I know it’s good for our triplets.
One of those sad goodbyes was a couple weeks ago. Josh and Kai have been good buddies for almost three years. They’ve had hours of fun playing Wii, Legos, Wipeout (with living room cushions), and at the castle playground. At least once a week I heard, “Mom, can I go to Josh’s house today?”
Josh and his family left end of May. They plan to be back for short trips, but the bulk of our lives will not intersect again. It is one of those friendship where not only the kids get along well, but Kev and I could sit and talk with Chris and Sarah for hours. There never seemed to be enough time.
Kai and Josh said good-bye and it didn’t seem to affect Kai too much. I’ve been wondering what’s going on inside his mind. This week he suddenly got intensely interested in snowboarding. I’ve tried to communicate that snowboarding in summer is not possible here in our city. This has not deterred his adventuresome spirit and he’s resulted to using a folding chair and “snowboarding” off the couches. Eeek! Why all of a sudden in the middle of summer the interest in snowboarding? Then it hit me.
Snowboarding is one of the links he has to Josh. Josh’s Dad is an avid snowboarder and Kai knows they would come back during snowboard season. So, he’s getting ready, a year and some in advance, to race Josh down the mountain. Kai even drew Josh an invitation to the snowboard race and keeps asking when we can send it. More than once I’ve been tempted to put a stop to the dangerous snowboarding-off-couches routine, but it’s his way of processing and not in a million years do I want to take that away from him.
The day they left Sarah posted this quote: “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore” (by an Andre Gide person). It’s true, but for those of us still standing on the shore…it’s bittersweet. Blessings of faith and grace, friends. We love you!!
P.S. For extra cuteness here are pictures of Kian and Zachary (Josh’s younger brother).