understanding change

Parker had some really hard moments during our visit to Montana. He had been anticipating the trip for months, he had been talking about going to visit since he returned to New York after Matilda's transplant, and he hasn't stopped telling us about all the adventures he had while he was there.

The night before the trip he could not sleep, his level of excitement and anticipation was so strong. And as we drove to Syracuse in the dark of the morning, he recalled the last trip - with Matilda in the ambulance. He was so young, but his memories are all there. Although he might not have been able to express his emotions as a two-and-a-half year old, he still felt them. As a four year old, all of those emotions came rushing back, and the grief it brought him was apparent.

He was not himself the entire trip.

Change in particular was really hard for him. His cousins looked older. His puppy was now a huge dog. My brother's kitchen was remodeled. All of those changes confused his memories and made him feel uneasy.

He didn't want to talk with anyone. Only choosing to whisper in our ears that things were different, and that he didn't know anyone. It was hard for us to watch. And I felt sad that he could not enjoy himself - that our relatives didn't get to see the Parker they know and love; that he missed out on what he has wanted for so long.

Parker was affected so strongly by what happened with Matilda. All of our lives were changed. And so, instead of getting upset or annoyed, we held him tightly. We told him it was okay. We showed him around and explained who people were. We told him that we loved him. That everyone loved him. And just as he began to feel comfortable, it was time to leave.

That is the most frustrating thing for me. I want my children to know and love their family. To know their houses, to play freely, and to open cupboards looking for food. I will never be okay with living so far apart because no matter how hard I try, I don't feel complete. And I know my kids feel the same way.

One day. One day, we will return back home.

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