The countdown has been going on for a while. I bought our tickets in March and told Hadassah that day, "We're going to visit your grandparents in a few months!" She marched to the door instantly and said "I'm ready to go!"
She has repeatedly brought it up in random ways and places. Often I catch her smiling really really big and ask "what are you thinking about, Hadassah?" Her response? "I'm so excited to see my grandparents!!!"
I didn't start with the stickers until May. She keeps wanting to put on more than one a day, wanting to fill the squares faster so we can go!
At Bible study this morning, at least 4 times she held up her fingers and said "In 9 days I'm going to see my grandparents!!" It makes the price of plane tickets so so worth it. And while the thought of facing another LONG flight with 2 other connections is not thrilling (though Hadassah is always excited to go on an airplane!), this smile and the light in her eyes that comes every time she thinks about it makes it worth it.
I was talking to a friend at church who told me "I used to be one of those people who thought if you go overseas, you should stay at least 2 years without a visit back home - and then I had a child." It's so true. They change so much in just a few MONTHS that, while we were initially planning on waiting until a year had passed from our last visit, it was just so hard to think of not letting family see and experience our children, and see them build stronger relationships. My dad's continuing health journey also gives us greater reason to go back. Though thankfully nothing is imminently life threatening, the things he's going through reminds us that there are no guarantees for anyone. And we'd much rather have visited more rather than less were something to happen.
But living overseas we were a bit sad to think Hadassah might not have a close relationship with relatives as a result. Thankfully, that isn't the case. Weekly skypes and the necessity of doing longer visits (a week and a half at each parents' place is what we're doing this time, with jet lag and ticket prices making it worth it) have built in Hadassah an intense and lasting love. We praise God for it!
Almost daily Hadassah asks for stories of the last time we flew to see grandparents. And we'll soon be packing our bags and doing it again. In the words of Hadassah, "I'm so excited!!"