Up until late yesterday this blog post was going to have a completely different tone. Same title, different tone. Late yesterday a miracle happened. A miracle we so needed. A breath of fresh air. A note of happiness. Hope.

Late yesterday Tessa’s girlfriends mom got a job offer. A job offer here. In Stuttgart. Before retirement kicked in for The Dad. This means instead of posting “It’s Not Goodbye!” and meaning… it’s not goodbye but see you later. I’m actualy posting It’s Not Goodbye! Because it’s not goodbye! They are staying!

Kami & family have been a part of our lives for three years. Friends. Comrades. Like me her mom, Mia, is an EU citizen married to a US soldier. Like Dave her dad, Drew, is retiring. They’ve been watching our retiring and trying-to-get-hired-and-actually-start-work process like hawks. Our foibles have been learning lessons for them.

Last week they finally decided to take a job over in Florida, get settled, and then start the grueling process to get hired here in Stuttgart. It’s a longer road, harder on the kids, it involves a move to the states, a new school, and a move back to Germany. But it’s a smarter financial move and it keeps the family together. Our finances have taken a hit, waiting to get onboarded here, and waiting, and waiting. We are separated for the second time in less than six months. There is no end in sight.

But the kids are happy. They are flourishing at school and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, Skype + Facetime + Messenger, they barely notice dad is gone. I, however, really notice Dave is gone. I miss my partner. I miss the help. I miss the companionship. I fall into bed alone and exhausted every night.  Too late. Chores still left undone.

Mia + Drew watched me struggle in November, into December, when Dave first left to save up those visa days. They watched as the process drew out longer & longer (quick review: Job was posted in July. Dave applied in August. Interviewed in September. Soft offer in October. Waiver approved in November. Hard offer in December. Onboarding paperwork in January. Pre-employment physical in February. It keeps going.). There is no end in sight.

While we struggle, Mia + Drew decided to stay together even if it meant moving the entire family to the states, and back, in one years time. It means two, even three, different schools for their kids, but they are all together. There is no break in pay. Yesterday Mia was getting the car deep-cleaned for the move back to the states, happening suddenly in less than three weeks, and the email came in. She got an offer! They are staying!

Suddenly their house, our house, is all smiles. Much different than last Sunday when we celebrated Kami’s birthday for the last time. Saying “Happy Birthday” and “Goodbye” with sad faces. Today there are smiles. Lots & lots of smiles.

Kami’s ice cream birthday cake with butterflies!

Sigh. Teenage girls are so self-conscious. They both have braces.