It has been exactly one week since you left, Aidan, and we are now settling into some sort of "new normal" around the house. We aren't moping around wondering what you are doing every minute, like we were last weekend, but you have left an empty space in the house. Everything seems a lot quieter; although, when you are home, you aren't at all noisy, compared to your brothers -- who are maybe just a little less noisy, now, because you are gone. The house seems a lot bigger, too, because you're not here filling up the space you usually take. MeiMei keeps looking for you and can't quite figure out what is going on, but like all dogs, she just accepts everything as it is, waiting for you to come back and play.
Interesting, how families are so connected that big changes for one person radiate outward to affect the rest of us in our own special ways, depending on where we are in our own development. Of course the changes you have made in just one week are obvious: you appear (from afar) to be more independent, confident in yourself and able to figure out for yourself what or how to do the things that need to get done. Here in Shanghai, Cameron has grown up a lot this last week too, taking more responsibility to fill the "Big Brother" gap. Talking more about his opinions and definitely eating WAY more food. I suspect that when Cameron goes off to China Alive in 2 weeks, and Ethan is the "Only" boy at home, he will grow up a lot too. Cameron and Ethan have started finding more independent ways to compromise when they disagree because their mediator (You!) is off in Yunnan Province doing his own growing up work! I, myself, have certainly made some interesting discoveries about how parents feel when kids leave home, which has helped me to better understand my own parents' experience as "empty nesters," and given me some interesting fodder for my own future plans. So, you see, Aidan, we may like to think of ourselves as individuals, but really, we are all connected to eachother, despite distance, age, and time, in a web of thoughts, wishes, hopes, interpretations, influences, adventures, and experiences.
Just for the record, I didn't set out to write such a deep and personal note -- but it came pouring out of my fingers this way. And so, I post it as it is....
What I had been planning to tell you was that we are settling into a new routine now. Tonight we are having home-made pizza for dinner and maybe I'll make the boys ice cream for a special treat (we seem to need a lot of treats now that you are gone). Swimming at 4. No Xiao Feng today, I don't know why. Tonight, the boys will watch a movie and Dad and I have a Skype date with Ed and Dave in Singapore -- a good way to hang out with best friends at a distance, eh? I had 3 (THREE) Scrabbles against Andrea yesterday!! It's a beautiful day today and we'll fill it up with badminton, chocolate for chocolate ;), reading, sitting outside etc. A normal sort of weekend for the Warren Household.
I guess what I'm saying to you, to everyone, is that much as things on the surface appear so much the same, deep inside, we are all changed by your adventures in Yunnan. And just like MeiMei, we are taking the changes as they come, but we definitely can't wait for you to come back!
With lots of hugs! Mum