We've now been back in the States for just over a month. And in that month the children have gone camping with their cousins, we've had a play date with nineteen children (and only four moms), my aunt has come down for the weekend, we've gone to the local children's museum three times, my sister and her children have come for the weekend, we've gone to Krispy Kreme twice, we've seen friends from Dushanbe, and we have spent the day playing with friends.
It's been a lot of fun.
I'm lucky to be staying in the same house that I grew up in close to friends that I grew up with and family that (shockingly) wants to see me and my children. We've been so busy with friends and family that I've hardly had time to miss Brandon.
A few weekends ago, my sister came up to visit with her children. She is my only sibling with children and all of her four children were born within eight months of my own which means that, of course, the cousins are all best friends. Maybe in a different life where we bought a house, settled down, and didn't move for the next thirty years (my parents' life), my children would be less attached to their cousins (although I'm still pretty darn attached to some of my own cousins), but for my children who move constantly, their cousins are the only constant friends in their life.
So when my sister had a free weekend she brought her kids up to play. It was a perfect time to come - my parents were safely thousands of miles away in Australia, my sister's husband had to stay and work, and Brandon was thousands of miles away in the other direction - and we made good use of it. The children ranged in and out of the house, dressing up, playing games, tromping through the yard, and making the usual ruckus and melee that nine children make when they get together. My sister and I sat and talked and looked at purses online and did the usual things that sisters do when they get together. Nobody cooked anything - pizza delivery and frozen foods are amazing - and everyone had a grand time together. At one point my sister and I even ditched the children with a babysitter (yes, there are nine of them, but I'll pay you a lot of money) and went to the mall for some child-free shopping time.
The next weekend my aunt came down to visit. I had planned to go up to the DC area where she lives but when I got sick with a cold she abandoned her long-suffering husband to their two dogs and three cats so she could come and take care of me so I wouldn't be alone and sick for my birthday. We, of course, had a great weekend together. There was more pizza (can you ever have too much pizza??) and a visit to the local children't museum and doughnuts (because when you're in America and there's a Krispy Kreme on your way home you go to Krispy Kreme) and dinner at a tasty restaurant and of course, more staying much too late talking. And in the middle of the visit, a good friend from Dushanbe popped by to say hi and happy birthday with flowers and chocolates.
And the weekend after that the children and I went to visit another friend from high school who lives close to Raleigh. She had children the ages of mine (her fifth and my fifth were born three days apart) and also home schools with the same curriculum we do. So of course we get together whenever possible because it's always fun to have someone who indulges in pretty much the same kind of crazy that you do. We went down in the morning around ten, thinking we would spend two or three hours together, and finally left six and a half hours later when grandma showed up to babysit the kids. I love having friends that, after years of no contact, pick right up where you left off and just keep on going.
Next weekend my cousin, his wife, and their cute little boy are coming down to visit for even more partying before the nuclear bomb known as Baby William arrives. I'm looking forward to more late nights and talking and laughing and spending time with people that I just don't get to see enough of.
I'm so blessed and lucky to have so many people to see while we're here in America. Edwin, who doesn't see how people can ever be better than Legos and dinosaurs, asked me why we had to go an see more friends. "I just want to go back to Dushanbe," he huffed, "and then we won't have to see any more people. Everyone will just leave me alone!" But I can't agree with him. I know we'll have to go back to Dushanbe (and I'm sure I will be ready by then), but until then, the more people the better!