Yesterday afternoon, after a busy weekend with tons of driving, we said good-bye to my brother-in-law ("K2") and his family by having a late lunch at K's family's favorite chain restaurant, Olive Garden.
Then we drove home in the snow while they drove to the airport where the snow didn't hold them back and they flew to Turkey then Egypt (we're hoping they arrived safely because we haven't heard from them yet!).
For almost exactly ten years we lived only a couple of hours away from them and we got together as often as we possibly could because we wanted our sons to grow up being very close. When they moved from Michigan their eldest boy was only five months old and our youngest nine months old, so these cousins practically grew up as brothers and they consider each other as best friends. Then they had another boy less than two years later and our four sons spent lots of time playing together whenever we visited each other.
That's why we were all so sad when we found out they would be moving across the world. And now we don't know if our boys will ever live close together like this again (they do plan to send the boys to study at the boarding academy close to us, but that's still many years in the future). It's definitely the "end of an era," one of those life changes that we need to accept and move on. That's why we didn't cry -- we need to approach this 100% rationally and see the positive sides even though it's hard and we know we'll grieve their departure and miss them like crazy.
In January they'll be back from a few days and we're already planning what we'll do together (in spite of the fact that our sons will be in school already). Now every vacation will revolve around their visits and getting the boys to see their cousins. Something tells me it will become harder and harder to plan spending time with friends who live far away (e.g. in Brazil). Sigh... this is part of life too.
Let's hope they will soon have internet access so we can be in touch -- the world is so much "smaller" now that we have the web, right? One more thing to be thankful for.