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fond farewells

All good things come to an end, and the best, it seems, reach their conclusion faster than most. We’ve tried to stay in the moment these past six weeks – enjoying the summer in Maine, catching up with friends and family, savoring our last few weeks alone with Munchkin, and then soaking up the newborn snuggles after Junebug was born. Alas, we have run out of moments, and D has begun the return journey to Rwanda while S and the kids will remain stateside for another month.

We are not quite in agreement as to which one of us is getting the rawer part of this deal. Even with her mom’s help, S is not looking forward to single-parenting. Her parents are a huge help with Munchkin, but S still has to do all the nighttime feedings by herself, and without D to help change diapers and soothe Junebug back to sleep, each feeding will take twice as long, leaving S feeling like a sleep-deprived zombie.

For his part, D is not exactly thrilled to trade in his carefree summer days and family time for a return to the office half a world away. And the break he gets from childcare in no way outweighs the sadness he felt handing Junebug off for the last time, knowing that she’ll be more than twice as old the next time he sees her. D offered to take Munchkin back with him to Kigali – this way, he reasoned, each of us would have one child and it would be easier for S to take care of Junebug without Munchkin pushing her buttons at the same time – but S quickly and definitively nixed that proposal.

Munchkin frequently mentions Kigali, asking about our dog Emmie, and pestering S to return to “our brown house.” S had promised him that we would go back after baby sister was born, and now that Junebug has arrived, Munchkin rightly asks when S will fulfill her part of the bargain. Even so, he is too much of a mama’s boy to want to be apart from her for an entire month.

Normally, Munchkin loves to wave bye-bye to the cars when the time comes for our visitors to leave, but the excitement drained out of him when he saw D’s dad pull the car out of the driveway en route to drop D at the airport. Munchkin just stood there, unsure how he should respond, his arms hanging at his side, his furrowed brow reflecting the wave of sadness that washed over D as he waved good-bye. We firmly believe that life tends to even out over the long haul, and our forthcoming month of separation might just be life’s way of evening out the joy of the last six weeks.

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