Sometimes the goodbye is harder the second time around.
This afternoon we got an unexpected visit with the Krause family (Bloom School owners) while they were here in PDX for a swim meet. With busy family schedules, I knew better than to tell the boys about the visit until we had the logistics confirmed, so it ended up being a post nap surprise: "Let's go see Stephanie, David, Caleb, and Elijah!"
Owen was thrilled. Just the other day he said out of the blue, "Do you know who I miss more than anyone else in Bend? Caleb."
Josh wanted to make sure the details were clear. "Stephanie?" yes. "aaand Dave?" yes. "Let's go!!"
Ironically, Josh was then particularly shy in those first moments with David, but didn't hesitate to hop up on his hip for the trip inside the pool building. Afterwards we joined the swim families for pizza dinner where Caleb and Owen played at top pace and Elijah watched out for Josh among the big kids. And then... It was time to go.
Josh dispensed multiple rounds of hugs and high fives, while Caleb and Owen sulked. It seemed pretty par for the course. Owen hates goodbyes. Thankfully, Stephanie and David have a wee bit of experience with 5 year old emotions and didn't take it personally when Owen wouldn't even make eye contact. And then, the sniffling began, followed by quivering lip, crocodile tears, shaking shoulders, and devastated wail of a very, very sad boy collapsed in my arms.
I hurt watching my son hurt. The heartaches are definitely worse than the physical bumps and bruises. Obviously some of the emotion was driven by the general excitement/exhaustion cycle of the day, but I also know that Owen does feel loss from our move and watching the Krause Family walk away reaffirmed that loss in that moment.
On the other hand, I would not trade these chances to reconnect with our Bend people when they are in Portland. PEOPLE are the reason we were so sad to leave and PEOPLE are what keeps drawing us back.
So, I hugged my kids a little closer tonight, reassured them that it's okay to feel sad, and promised that we will have more fun afternoons with old friends before the summer is over. We'll make sure a visit to Bloom school is on top of the list our next time back in Bend.