One of the fastest weeks I can remember has come and gone, and my stepdaughter Michelle is back home. Her flight actually got moved up several hours because of the approaching hurricane. We would have preferred that it got delayed a day or two, but she’s starting a new job tomorrow and thought it would be a nice idea to show up. She’s probably right about that.
It was an incredibly sweet, easygoing week. We went to a movie while Sam was at work, and the mall (of course), but a lot of the time she hung with me while I was stuck in bed. Very sweet indeed. Michelle is easy to hang with, there’s no awkwardness or “all about me” attitude that so many young people seem to have. The three of us had fun together too. Since I was kind of sidelined, we had a Big Bang Theory marathon and laughed like crazy, and a domino game that pretty much lasted all week. Not to mention eating way too much. Sorry Weight Watchers. We’ll be better this week.
But then there’s today, the goodbye. It’s hard for me. This week was the first time in three years I’ve seen Michelle and I’m not sure when I’ll see her again. Sam makes trips to Philadelphia to see her and Bryan but we decided a while ago that it was better for him to make more frequent trips alone than for us both to go. Now, however, with the change in our situation, he doesn’t even make frequent trips, and I know that if this goodbye is hard for me, it is painful for him. Even though it isn’t a true “goodbye”, we don’t know when we will see each other again. Sam will undoubtedly see her sooner, but it is hard to say “see you soon” when “soon” is an unknown factor.
I have known Michelle since she was 8 and Bryan since he was 7, because I’ve been with Sam since then. But that means that Sam has not been with them for that long, and I know that is something that hurts him every day. Sam is one of the best not-in-the-home dads I have ever seen. He calls each kid every day. Still. And he has gone back as often as he has been able – in the beginning when we couldn’t afford airfare, we would take any three day weekend and drive 18 hours one day from Illinois to Philadelphia, spend the next with the kids, and drive 18 hours back the third. And then go back to work.
My heart hurts today. I miss Michelle. I loved having her here. And I know how hard this is for the love of my life, and I would love to fix that, but I can’t. And if I start thinking about how hard it’s been for the kids, I will just spiral down and get very depressed, so I can’t let myself do that. They have grown up to be fantastic people, and I am going to focus on that, and hope that Bryan comes to visit soon. And look forward to going to Illinois to see my family in a couple of weeks. Yay!