A week from now, we will all be staying with Stringbean's French family, getting ready hug her goodbye, and see her off on the beginning of her (and our) En Famille adventure. There have been plenty of twists and ups and downs along the way, as there should be on a good roller coaster. Sometimes it all seems exciting, other times worrying and there were disappointments along the way.
But now here we are right up the top of the highest climb, not quite like the picture, it feels more like we are poised on the summit,that time has slowed down and we are just waiting for the drop. For the last couple of weeks we've been doing the final organising, shopping, pondering, packing. One last appointment tomorrow morning at the orthodontist and we are done. (Oh and the small matter of a party for 50 or so :) )
Stringbean seems confident and ready for it, and both nervous and excited in equal measure, and she seems to have realistic expectations of the . When asked why she wants to do it she just says because it is a big adventure, which seems to be the right way to approach it. When people question about how difficult it might be to live with another family, in another country, when you don't yet speak the language I think they are missing the point. For it is that that makes it the big adventure that it is. I'm proud of her for taking on the challenge, and I'm pleased that as a family we have felt able to support her and enable her to go.
It also feels a bit humbling that some other family is willing to welcome our daughter into their family, and to entrust one of their children to us in return. In a world in which there seems so often to be so much distrust of others floating about it feels good to be part of something that is so fundamentally about having faith and trust in other people.
I'm not sure any of us really yet know how we are going to feel once we have waved her off, though Butterbean is the most obviously struggling with it at the moment. Whilst I can know that we'll miss her and everything, it is so far beyond anything we have done before that it has a sense of unreality to it. Until it's actually happened, I'm not really going to know quite how it is going to feel.
But I think SB is going to have a great time. Her French family seem lovely and caring, and I think she will fit in just fine with their life. And while she is away, we will be preparing to welcome her French sister Frenchbean (well what else!) into home and our lives. Which is another whole adventure in itself.
So, as the roller coaster crosses the summit and you see the big drop in front, both scary and exciting, what else is there to do but lift up your arms, let out a big scream, and enjoy the ride, cos there's no getting off :-)
Have a wonderful time Stringbean xxx