Friday, December 28, 2007

Heading back to the Netherlands

'nothing deep or reflective today, just up at 5 am and packing to get ready for a noon flight back from Seattle to Amsterdam.

It's been a good visit, but full of events and short of sleep. I'm in the peculiar circumstance of living overseas while my family remained in the US: the kids are older and didn't want to leave their friends, and my wife didn't want to move when the opportunity came. There's a lot of strain between us, and we're progressively going separate ways. Time together feels wistful and sad.

My daughter graduates high school this year and has been accepted to colleges, so things are great with her. She gave me a whimsical picture of the two of us on the road looking at schools, and then came home with nostalgic stories about going down to the docks and remembering all the sailing we did when she was growing up. Time with her has been easy and fun.

My son bounced off college two years ago and has been working nights in the warehouse at UPS while he sorts things out. He wants to make a try at some classes; my wife wants him out of the house. It's hard to solve that size problem in a week, but I think we worked through to a solution for the next few months. Time with him has been a struggle and frustrating.

I try to catch up the house when I'm back: 'cleaned the garage, moved things to the attic, made a run of trash to the dump, did a lot of shopping and cleaning, worked through a lot of paperwork. We raised a family here, so it feels familiar but not so much home any more. My wife has new friends who only know me from stories (and I think that most doubted that I existed). The neighbors are always surprised to see me.

It's always an odd departure: I feel like there isn't really time to solve much, only to skim or disrupt things. I always get choked up at leaving the kids again: 'still looking for ways to get them over for a visit sometime soon. Europe is just not on their radar from Seattle. Spring, for sure...

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