A single word I would use to describe my kids over the past 2 weeks: brave.
When I planned this 2 month long stay in the US, there are a couple things I didn't factor in. First, I didn't take into account how hard it would be for them to be without their dad for 3 weeks. I knew they'd miss him, but I thought they would be having so much fun that they wouldn't think about it too much. But, as Suzanne's daily evening meltdown turns into a Max daily meltdown, it proves that Papa is sorely missed.
Second, the relationship with the language. This one is obvious yet I didn't think it would be an issue for some reason. Suzanne has slipped easily into English and back into French when speaking to Papa. But Max had trouble getting into all-English mode and now has trouble getting back into French. Third, I didn't realize how overwhelmed I'd be even with the time away from the kids. When they come home in the afternoon, they are in full force and need my full attention. By the time they're in bed, I'm exhausted and just want to curl up. This point makes it hard because there are things I want to do and people I want to see. But I'm so tired that I can't even make a phone call.
Keeping all of the above points in mind, Suzanne started a second week of day camp yesterday. Last week, she was in a half day programme in town. But yesterday, she started a day camp at a nearby lake which entails taking the bus. As the bus pulled away yesterday, I had one of the worst parenting moments of my life - my daughter was waving goodbye while shaking her head no and crying. She was trying so hard to be brave and to pull it together. I knew she would have fun, there was no doubt in my mind, but it was hard for everyone. I didn't realize quite how brave my little girl was until I really started to think about how much change she's dealt with in the past 2 weeks. Even small things that I take for granted are different. For example, she keeps asking me why there are wires everywhere outside. She's talking about the wires hanging on the wooden telephone poles. She's never seen them before because we live in a large city and wires are attached to the houses or underground. Simple yet different enough to wonder why and to throw her off. And I'm not even talking about the stress of meeting new people!
Max has thrown himself full force into day camp after a rocky start. The first day, the teachers weren't sure if he spoke English. But now he's part of the group. I'm not actually sure how much he's actually interacting with the other kids, but I'm sure he's getting a lot out of the experience even as a lone wolf at the daycamp.
So brave. My kids are brave. And I'm so damn proud of them.