Leaving On A Jet Plane, Again.

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“I miss your brother,” Freya commented about an hour after we dropped him back at his hotel. 

He had flown to Holland from the US on business and had popped over to Norwich for two days on his way back. We’d had a lovely time with him but, knowing it will be a while before we see him again, I was certainly feeling a bit maudlin.

“I miss him too,” I said.

“It would be good if he could live in Norwich.”

“It would,” I agreed, although I know that’s not going to happen. His life (and family) is there.

“We could see him all the time.”

“Yes, maybe.”

“You could do things with him.”

“I could. We all could.”

“And now he’s gone.”

“Now he’s gone,” I agreed.

Then, with typical five year old aplomb, she shrugged her shoulders and said: “Circle of life, I guess.”

Not quite, little one, but it certainly made me chuckle.

~

You’d think I’d be used to him leaving by now. He has lived in the states for many years. At first there was no FaceTime and phone calls were still expensive so we really only caught up when I went over to visit each year, pre-Freya.

If it was just me – and not my parents too –  he would pick me up from Dulles International and, in a bid to stave off jet lag, we would drive to the local Barnes and Noble, in whatever neighbourhood he was living, and I’d look at pretty journals (you couldn’t get them over here then), browse the books and enjoy a hot chocolate at a certain coffee shop chain (also not over here then).

If you know me, you know I’m addicted to peppermint hot chocolate from that very chain (now practically everywhere) but I’ll let you into a secret; at least part of the reason I always like going there is because it reminds me of him. It’s the little things.

I’m lucky in that although he is gone, he isn’t gone. I can still email him, send him quotes from Ferris Bueller and get a response (no one else in the family gets that film) and see him via FaceTime. He has always been an amazing brother and I know if I needed him he would drop everything and come but I think I’ve almost got used to not needing him, as sad as that sounds. It’s just easier.

I was thinking about what Freya said later that night and maybe the five-year-old approach has some merit. While it’s not quite the ‘circle of life’ it is certainly ‘life’. There’s nothing to be done about it, I can’t make him stay – and wouldn’t want to as I know he wouldn’t be happy – so we just need to make the most of it while he is here and the best of it while he’s not.

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Do you have relatives who live abroad? How do you cope with missing them?

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Entertaining Young Children On A long Car Journey – Travel Doodles Review.

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Quite a few of my sentences now seem to start with the words ‘when I was young…’, which prompted Freya to ask what life was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

It was tempting to make up stories about having a pet tyrannosaurus but I had to admit that while I’m old, I’m not that old.

One of the most recent times I have said it was after Mark suggested getting a few things to entertain Freya on our long car journey west.

“When I was young we played endless games of eye spy or just sat quietly and enjoyed the scenery,” I said, forgetting that I am now the parent and had a three plus hour journey ahead of me sat in the back with her.

I’m pretty sure, as my parents will tell you, that I never actually sat quietly either – and Freya seems to have inherited that…skill. Usually when we go to Ipswich, an hour away, she’s asked ‘are we there yet?’ before we’ve even left Norwich. In the end I figured having something to entertain her with wasn’t a bad idea.

Mark gathered together a few little bits and every hour or so, usually midway between comfort breaks, I got one out of the bag.

The best one (or at least the one she played with the most) was the wipe-clean Travel Doodles pack from Usborne.

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She had lots of fun drawing faces on people, completing puzzles and designing outfits.

There are more than 100 doodles on the double-sided cards and then obviously you can wipe off and start again.

She played with the cards for more than an hour and now, even when we pop to the shops, she likes to get one out and doodle.

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It says not suitable for children under 36 months and some of the doodle suggestions are more difficult than others. Freya (at four/nearly five) could do the majority of them but there is room to grow too.

When I got home I looked them up and apparently they have other sets, including a general holiday one and 50 Things To Do On A Plane. I’d definitely consider them, if we go anywhere else.

We did play a few games of eye spy, which was interesting as she’s just learning to spell, and counted different colour cars and there was also time to just sit and take in the scenery but I think having a few extra things certainly made the journey more pleasant.

What’s your stance on entertaining children on long journeys?

Note: I’m not being paid to write about the Travel Doodles, I just really liked the cards and thought I’d recommend them in case you have a long car journey coming up.

 

My Sunday Photo – August 26th, 2018.

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Freya is finally five! She has been waiting so SO long for this day. All of her school friends  are five already and she’s been asking since January: “Why isn’t it my birthday yet?”

As we recently spent the week in such an usual environment (for us) I couldn’t resist getting some birthday photos. You can see what else we got up to in Wales here, if you’re interested.

Hope you’re enjoying the summer.

Please do click on the camera below to discover what other people have submitted for My Sunday Photo.

Photalife