A Bittersweet Final Day with Hayden

What an amazing first half of the summer!! Things didn’t go exactly as planned as far as Hayden’s first summer visit this year (ah-hem, 2 weeks late Gavin!), but luckily all four of Hayden’s parents can go with the flow. With Hayden having two families, he had two huge life milestones happening this summer. With us, he had his littlest baby brother being born. With his mom’s side, they were packing up their house in Medford OR and moving to Moscow ID. The original plan was to have Hayden with us for three weeks (and we cushioned the dates around baby brother’s due date), and then he would fly back to Medford in time to pack up and make the drive over to Moscow with everyone. That plan was going smoothly…. until baby brother’s due date came and went and he wasn’t here yet. 🙂 Since Gavin stayed in the womb an extra 13 days past his due date, we wound up extending Hayden’s visit for two more weeks. That meant he would fly directly to Pullman/Moscow and meet up with his mom’s family for the second half of their move instead. 

The five weeks with Hayden here were awesome. Not only did we bond as a family of five, but we all each had individual bonding time with Hayden specifically. Five weeks is the longest stretch that he has been with us at one time, and it seemed to have flown by. He definitely missed his mom and stepdad and his brothers, and was sad at times to be missing helping them all out with the move, but he also really felt his groove in our family. He’s at that age where he’s conflicted with wanting to be in two places at once, but he knows he has a place in both homes and both families.

The first three weeks he was here (AKA “before Gavin”), he and Zara and I went to the lake every day. We took a lot of library trips, neighborhood walks, playtime outside, etc. We had a blast. Hayden always wanted to help out with Zara and do anything he could to make life a bit easier for me. He is just a dream stepson and big brother. He also made friends with the next door neighbor boys and had a lot of fun hanging out with them.

The last two weeks he was here, Jeremy was home from work and they got a lot of quality father-son time together. They played chess and Super Mario Brothers at night, saw boy movies together, worked on house/construction projects, and went to the lake a lot during the days. Lake time with Dad is a lot more fun and active for a 12-year-old boy than with his 10-month pregnant stepmom. 🙂 They were working on diving and doing somersaults off the dock, things I just couldn’t do. They also took a lot of trips to Home Depot together with Zara, and the three of them laughed a lot together. Father and son also had a lot more in-depth life conversations and really grew closer as men.

Towards the end of Hayden’s extra long visit, it was clear that he was missing his mom’s side of the family and it was time for him to re-join them during their big move. As much as we were used to having him with us, they needed him too. So yesterday, on his final day here, we made it a fun family day for all of us.

Hayden had requested a trip to the Lego Store, so we all five headed over to Bellevue Square to go. I hadn’t realized how much fun that store would be for all three of the kids…

Hayden got to pick out new Legos…

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And with the heart of gold that he has, he spent some of his money to design his own 3-pack of Lego guys for himself and his two brothers at his mom’s house. 🙂

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Zara had a blast building, exploring, and playing with the display models in the store…

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And Gavin stayed cozy in my ring sling, taking in all of the bright lights and colors.

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We rarely go to the mall, but it seems that every time we do, Jeremy gets a craving for a pretzel. So we stopped at the food court and ordered some fresh pretzels with cheese sauce – and they were good! We had a lively conversation about the best pretzels out there, and compared them to the ones we all loved at Epcot’s Germany pretzel stand. Ah, Disney World. Good times. 🙂

We headed home for Zara’s nap, and Hayden took a final trip to the library to return some books, and he went next door to play Minecraft with the boys there. We had taco night for dinner (one of our family favorites!) and then we packed up the stroller and lake stuff for one final fun summer night at our neighborhood park. Our good friends joined us at this point (minus their daughter, who is off on a big Europe trip for a month!), and we all walked down to the park.

Hayden, of course, wanted to jump in the lake, but before he could, he got thrown in!

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Zara discovered some pink chalk and became the cutest little graffiti artist in town!

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I enjoyed some baby snuggles with my little Gavin!

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Hayden spent a good amount of time in the water, so when it was time to go, he was a little chilly. So Jeremy swaddled him in the beach blanket, which was hilarious!

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It was a truly lovely night for all of us. This neighborhood park is so peaceful and fun, and it holds a special place in all of our hearts now, especially after this summer. It was at this park 11 nights ago when I went into labor with Gavin. We had the whole park to ourselves, Hayden was in the water, Jeremy and Zara were out on the dock laughing with Hayden, and I was sitting on the beach watching my little family with the sun setting behind them…. when my contractions officially started. And that will always be a wonderful memory for all of us. That was the moment Gavin finally decided it was time to join us and complete our family of five. ❤

Today, Hayden flew over to the airport in Pullman to re-join his mom’s family. And we miss him already! We are already talking about doing something different for his next trip with us before summer is over. He needs time now to move in to his new house over there, and get to know his new area, and get ready for his new school, etc. So we are thinking we might head over there in August once he gets settled. He has a family of five with his mom, and our family of five with his dad. He has always had two families, two homes, two lives essentially. And now he has started to express interest in having all of us together for a couple of days… which we might just do in a few weeks!

Until then, this has been a lovely first half of the summer with Hayden here and our family of five all together. It will take some getting used to our new normal now that our Hayden is not here with us every day…. We love and miss you, Hayden!!

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