Part of the frenzy has to do with the little arrival we anticipate in late winter – I know this is as good as I’m going to feel this pregnancy, so I’m trying to fit everything in. Jack Jr. is big enough to enjoy much of it, and since it is his last opportunity to be an “only” child, we try to make the most of it.
Part of the frenzy is just the season – every falling leave and every clear blue sunny day seems to say “hurry up, winter is coming.” So we grab with both hands – playing with sticks and leaves, going to the zoo, picking apples, picking pumpkins, playing at the park, trick-or-treating.
Part of the frenzy is a sense of impending change that I find difficult to talk about.
This will likely be our last fall in our current home for a few years.
In August of 2012, we will be moving to a new country where trick-or-treating, and apple picking, and pumpkins are probably not part of fall. Thanksgiving with family will definitely not be part of our life next year, neither will Christmas with family. It is heartbreaking and tough and horrible. That’s why my to-do list becomes increasingly frantic with every passing day as I try to squeeze in just one more American family tradition, just one more perfect memory, and just one more photo to store up for the days to come.
So why do we do this when it is so agonizing? We do it because at heart we are explorers – we love learning new languages and seeing new places and meeting new people. We want our sons to grow up knowing the world is large and diverse and wonderful. We want them to learn new languages, to embrace differences, to appreciate what exactly it means to be American, to have real freedom. It has always been Captain Jack’s dream to represent his country abroad, and in this family, we believe deeply in following dreams.
There will be many new things to embrace, and I’m sure we’ll take many of our own traditions with us – like other expat families. But right now, it is November. I have to plan how I’ll be roasting the perfect turkey, making all the pumpkin things my family will eat, and documenting it all for the homesick days to come. When despite the excitement, all I will want is an afternoon cooking with my mom, little boys playing at our feet.