Something shifted here on Tuesday. Perhaps it was the skype conversation with a former classmate now living in the US, perhaps the trip to the soccer game, perhaps a little incident we had where feelings were hurt and sincere apologies and thoughts were shared. In any case, smiles are suddenly the norm and laughing and more participation are happening every day.
M has been asking to take a hip-hop class for months. There is one at our gym which is less "learning to do hip hop" and more "just jump in and try to keep up as we do hip hop". We went on Friday and there was some frustration but mostly just goofy fun and some real attempts to figure it out. As we were leaving the house to go the gym, I'd asked if we might want to go to the pool after class (same building) and was surprised at the enthusiastic yes. Rob had taken the three kids to the park for a going away party. Auggie's best friend is moving away and the families got together for a little park-time to say goodbyes. We'd agreed to all meet at the gym pool around 6 when our dance class ended, hoping M would agree to try the water. We all jumped in and played for 2 hours. The kids played together, the adults played with the kids, we sat in the hot tub and jumped back into the freezing water--it was just a nice fun-filled break together.
When it was time to head home, the girls hopped in one car while the boys drove home in the other. A friendly race to the cars turned into a friendly slow-speed car chase home, each trying for the quicker route through evening traffic and waving at each other as we passed the other and took the lead. There was much laughing and pointing as we drove home. Once home, there was dinner. And then all of the activity caught up with everyone and we passed out as a family and slept until almost 9 AM.
The first 10 days were so cautious and reserved but now there is light and laughter and a better appreciation for each other's interests and sense of humor. I'm sure there will be many many more misunderstandings and hard days. We do have all of the normal teenage angst to weather in addition to culture shock and hurt hearts--but right now this moment is beautiful and so I'm enjoying it. :)