CONTRIBUTED BY JOELLE YAMADA
This is our third overseas tour, so we are very accustomed to the long anticipated and long lasting family visits to our neck of the woods. These visits happen once a year, once a tour, or once in a lifetime for many of our guests. My parents got their first passports in their 50s, not for an exotic cruise, but to come visit me overseas. When we live this far away, family can’t just drop in for a visit. They don’t come for a couple days or a long weekend. They come to stay for a good while. A gooooood looooong whiiiiiiile.
- The pre-excitment period: “Grandee is coming in TWELVE DAYS!!” “Grandee is coming in FOUR DAYS!!” “Grandee is coming TODAY!!”
- The initial honeymoon period: Not wanting to let them go to bed cuz you have more to talk about. Filling the first days with proudly showing them around your life. Being so glad that now when you talk with them about going to the Rocker for Sunday Brunch or to the rolly slide park or to Toguchi, they’ll KNOW what you mean.
- The is-it-over-yet period: They’ve been here for a week, you’ve exhausted yourself running around and cooking and entertaining, and you’re ready to having a quiet day of laying around the house and you know that will only happen when THEY are gone.
- The post-visit period: “I can’t believe she’s been gone for TWELVE DAYS.” The sadness that comes knowing it will be another year or two or three before you see the loved one again. They’ve become part of your life in this short visit and it’s hard to imagine next week without them being here to see little Johnny’s school musical or to see if the tomato plants really blossom.
- Tracy Tour Guide: I plan and replan and route and reroute our days. I have elaborate schedules so that we’ll be sure to miss nothing important during their visit. I keep us running at a rather frenetic pace that brings exhaustion to most all of us. Course Tracy often forgets that most importantly, they are actually here just to BE with us.
- Susie Super Mom & Wife: I try not to yell at the kids, fight with my husband or “loose it” with any of the above. When they come for such a short time, I don’t want family to think we have any problems or troubles. This is crazy, but Susie wants them to leave feeling we are ok and that we’re surviving far from their aid and help.
- Dara Defensive: It seems that some time during every visit, our visitors (mostly of the mother-genre) decide to comment on our life — constructively criticizing my parenting, housekeeping, priorities or clothes. Instead of listening to these people who love me in hopes of becoming a better person, Dara turns into a mother bear defending her choices in life.