They hand you a baby in the hospital and forget to tell you that before you know it they’ll be grown and gone. It does go by so fast!
I wrote a three-part series documenting the details of this experience, but they were super sensitive and raw, and also I was trying to be respectful of Hayden’s privacy, so they are password protected. In this post I am sharing just the highlights.
Since time has passed and he’s doing so great, I’m going to look back on that time and share how we managed to get through launching our first baby. And not only into the adult world but overseas!
Hayden has always loved adventure and he spent five and a half very important years of his life in Germany. He made many good friends there and missed Europe when we moved to New York. He and his friend Madi (who lived in New Jersey but he met while we were still in Germany) decided to launch into adulthood all the way across the ocean!
We did a few farewell things for Hayden:
We went to Chuck E Cheese’s.
We went bowling: I loved seeing Hayden taking pictures of his siblings just before he flew.
Our pastor prayed over him in a special prayer time before church started:
We gave lots of hugs and snugs.
The morning of I posted this to a very small audience:
We took one last family-of-seven picture.
We all rode to the airport to say our goodbyes in person.
We arrived with five kids and left with four. The “small audience” comment is because I had posted those images privately on my social media.
I stalked his plane and cried when it turned toward Europe. Note the arrows pointing to his plane and to our home. It got real at that moment.
And then he landed… He was reunited with his best friend, his person, and all was right in his world again. I am writing this on 9-2-22 and I got to talk to him for 30 minutes this morning. He’s doing great, rocking the adult life, and about to shift into his third European home since March. His plans are going along very well. He lived in London, England for a while, then in Scotland, and is moving to Germany very soon… What a time to be Hayden!!
I will conclude by saying that I know I was fortunate to have my son (sons, really) stay home a bit past 18. I love having my kids home and I loved every extra day we had with Hayden, but we also know it was the right time for him to launch… and Europe was the right place for him to land. Our hearts miss him very much. Anna even says that looking at pictures of him makes her sad, but we do know he is where he is supposed to be and doing what he is supposed to be doing!
(If you are reading this and happen live in Wiesbaden… Hayden and Madi will be looking for jobs as soon as they land. If you have connections or even an extra spare room or two, let me know! They are hoping to make Germany home for the long term and are willing to accept any help you can offer. And yes, this is the city where Parker was born. Hayden’s going back to the place where we lived three of the most special years of our lives so far!)
Written 9-2-22 and backdated to 3-22-22.