Two months. That’s how long Elijah and I got to spend in the States. Just like in the case of his South African grandparents, Eli got to spend a wonderful six weeks with his Texas grandparents. We also got to spend just under two weeks with my brother and sister-in-law up in the beautiful little Western town, Medora, in North Dakota. It was a blessed time, full of many happy memories, and so, of course, the goodbyes were really hard. I have to admit, they have gotten harder to do since Elijah joined our family. Now, every time we say goodbye to family, we think of how much bigger he will be when we reunite again. We also know that we are not just leaving as “the two of us” anymore, and that there is an additional person whom our family will miss.
In a previous post, I wrote about Elijah catching some sort of nasty flu on the flight from Denver to Dallas, while we were returning to Texas from North Dakota. This made our last three days in Texas rather limited in activity. I had hoped to visit a couple of friends, or at least have some of them over for a last meal together. Our main goal, instead, became Eli’s health, and making sure that he rested and got well. My mother-in-law and I tried to run errands in the mornings so that Eli could be home to rest for the remainder of the day. He was a bit like a zombie, but he certainly was a trooper as we dragged him through Walmart, the Post Office, Hobby Lobby, and various other stories, buying the last few supplies that I needed before the journey back to China. Since, other than errands, we couldn’t leave the house much, I was able to complete a few projects, repack our bedroom, and prepare all of the items that I wanted to take back to Asia. Image on the left, I love making cards, and this one really made me feel all mushy inside. Let me rephrase that, I really love making cards in the States. So many papers, stickers, decals, and a never ending supply of materials to work with. I really did go all out in the creativity department in the last two months, and I loved every second of it! Image top right, I also went all out on the shoe-shopping for Elijah during the last two weeks. He is walking more and more now, and I am yet to see baby shoes that I like in China. So I stocked up on two sizes of shoes, and he should be good for the next few months, or until he has a big growth spurt. Those cute little sandals were only $3 – I love shopping in the States! Image bottom right, our notice board in our bedroom. We change it up a little every time we go home, and while we are away, Justin’s folks add any new pictures or cards that we receive in the mail. While I was packing, I added a few more memories from the last two months to the board.
The night before we left, just as they always do, the Torres family came over to the house to say goodbye. All of them were very eager to see Elijah, and they came with a bowling set for their god-child. All three kids, Aaliyah, Enrique Jr, and Elijah, had a blast playing with the pins and balls. It was good to hear them laughing and running around, and again, it was odd to think that the next time they are all together, they will be eight, six, and three, respectively. God-willing, we will even have another baby to add to the bunch. Who knows, maybe we will even have twins?! haha… A girl can wish!
Thankfully, our flight was late in the afternoon. A journey that starts very early in the morning, almost always results in complete exhaustion for me. If I know that I have to wake up super early, and be out of the door within the hour, I don’t seem to sleep very well. Fortunately, it was a restful night, and we were able to wake up and eat breakfast and relax until midday. While Elijah spend some quality time with Grams, I packed our last few belongings. Gramps came home around lunchtime, and once we were all loaded up, we left the house and headed out for lunch. We stopped at an “On The Border” near the airport, and there we enjoyed one last meal together. There is no doubt about it, Mexican is definitely the perfect last meal after two months in Texas. I even had a grande margarita… soooo good!
We said our – very tough – goodbyes to Grams and Gramps, and then started our 30 hour journey from Dallas, Texas, to Qingdao, China. It wasn’t until the very last moment that we did our final wave to Bryan and Sue that I could begin thinking about the fact that we were on our way to see Justin. That was when the butterflies started to form!
Thank you so much to my in-laws. Those two are truly amazing. Kind, warm, generous and so very welcoming!
Read about out Journey to Justin, also documented in Black&White pictures, here.