We’ve written some about Ethan’s transition in the past month with the addition of Sarah to our family. We even started writing about his transition before we went to Korea. We also discussed our mixed emotions about going to Korea while leaving Ethan behind at home.
One thing we never wrote about, though, was the night before we went to Korea. On that Sunday evening, Joleen and I took Ethan up for our regular evening bedtime routine, on the eve of traveling 7,000 miles to Korea, knowing that it would be the last time for the three of us.
We went through our regular routine — reading Scripture from Ethan’s children’s Bible, praying, drinking milk, brushing teeth, saying goodnight. Somewhere in the midst of all that, Joleen told Ethan that we’d be away for a while but that we’d be back.
I will never forget the look on Ethan’s face.
It’s hard to describe. Maybe the word “numb” is the best way to describe it. But I was proud of Ethan for two reasons: (1) he understood, to some degree, anyway, and (2) he knew we’d be back, although couldn’t have understood the timeline. I was also relieved that he knew we would be back.
Ethan did well while we were away, of course, but that night was the real beginning of the major changes to come. That’s the night when we really started transitioning from the familiar to the unfamiliar.
While our kids are hopefully discovering more familiarity here, we still find ourselves in some unfamiliar territory (for each of them and for us, too) nearly 6 weeks after that night before we went to Korea.