It was tough to let her go. We've had such a wonderful couple of weeks, and I can honestly say, going forward, I don't know how I'm going to manage without her.
I'm sure SHE'S happy to be going back to the life of a "normal" teenaged girl, although from my experience, Hannah is FAR from the teenaged "norm". I mean that as an extremely high compliment, of course. She is lovely and kind and full of good humour and common sense. She is gentle and patient with children, but has a wonderful sense of silliness and an imagination that absolutely transfixes my three girlies. She is, as Lola (from our favourite TV show) would say, "our favourite and our BEST!"
The scene at the airport yesterday was a pretty sad one, all right. I was trying desperately to put on my "brave face", which I'm certain wasn't very brave at all-- especially when it came time for The Hug. Child Number One was downright weepy, and Number Three was sitting silently and grimly in the front seat of "The Bus" (our double stroller). Child Number Two was fully reclined in the back seat, looking pale and greebly, as she had managed to contract my gastro bug, and wasn't fully over it yet.
Poor Hannah. She had a rough final few days with us, with me being ill. She basically held down the fort while I was in bed. Her final week with us turned out to be FAR from the adventure-filled extravaganza that we had planned. But, I don't know how we would have managed without her, and as soon as I was able to stand up again, we started a list of things we all wanted to do with her NEXT year... Which I guess means she's willing to come back (this fact never ceases to amaze me).
As I write this, Hannah is home once again, and off on a camping trip with some of her friends. I hope she has a thoroughly splendid time... because boy, does she ever deserve it.
And as for us? Well, in the 24 hours that she has been gone, we have managed to turn her name into an adjective. During the drive home, I told the girlies that going forward, we would have to try extra hard to be kind and helpful to each other, since Hannah was no longer with us to jolly us along. One, Two and Three all solemnly agreed, and this morning, I saw the plan in action.
Whilst at the local mall, where we were stoically rounding up stationery supplies for school (CRINGE!), Child Number Three suddenly decided to throw one of those boneless, spineless fits that only a pre-schooler can throw. It was a sight to behold, people, and nothing I could do or say could coax her out of it.
And that's when her oldest sister stepped in. I can't even remember exactly what she said, but it was some sort of lovely promise that included doing puzzles and colouring-in and playdough games together, but the POINT was, that the fit would have to END in order that we should get home to PLAY.
And that's all it took. Child Number Three got up off the floor, grabbed her purse and popped one of her many pacifiers (CRINGE!!) into her mouth, found her tiny flip-flops and put them back on her feet, and marched off towards the nearest exit.
As we hurried to catch up with her before she hit the parking lot (DRAT those automatic doors that open on the push of a button placed at little-people height), I turned to Child Number One:
Mother: (in awe) Well! That was a very... Hannah thing to do.
Child Number Three: (proudly) Thank-you.
Yes, THANK-YOU, Hannah, for all you have done for us, and that includes all the things you don't even REALIZE you've done for us. We love you.
And we can't wait for next summer.
Let the countdown begin!!