I think I have recovered from the weekend, but I'm not sure. The end of the story is that we returned from Devon very late last night, after two days filled with English countryside, the sea and small villages. Worth the trip, despite extra difficulties caused by overtired children and Elliot & I frequently inflicted with motion sickness in the car. Damn all those curvy country roads and our lower tolerance after a year with no car! My pictures of the region speak for themselves, so I'll leave it at that.
More importantly, the boys had their last day of school on Friday, and the graduating little ones had their "going up" ceremony. To top it off, we had to say most of our goodbyes. The ceremony was quite, though not unexpectedly, emotional. All the graduating children sat in front, across from their parents. In between was a garden arch adorned with vines and flowers and some gold and crimson velvet covered benches. All the other kindergarten children sat to our left, some 30-40 of them. All still and quiet for the entire ceremony, which is a true testament to the school and style of teaching.
Elliot was teary on his way in, and had mostly calmed down after being placed next to his best friend Xain. He was so overwhelmed, as we all were. Each child's teacher then proceeded with the "going up" one by one. When it was Elliot's turn, he stood up, and Emma stood facing him and took his hands. She said, "Elliot, thank you for all your gifts and all the blessings you have given to our kindergarten, especially (this part specific to each child) for your kind and gentle heart . . . " The tears just ran down Elliot's face, and continued for his whole turn. The quiet and brave cry that breaks your heart. Not a dry eye in the place. Then a red velvet cape was tied to his shoulders and he knelt down on a cushion. Emma took a sword and said a special blessing and prayer while "knighting" him on his shoulders. Then she led him through the arch to the other side, where he took his place on the bench right in front of Martin. This couldn't have worked out more perfectly, as Martin, whom Elliot adores, trusts and loves, held him in his arms for the rest of the ceremony.
It was incredibly beautiful. One of the dads in front of me remarked, "How can they look so grown up yet so small?" Perfectly said I think. The good news about it being so emotional was that I had no tears left for my goodbyes after.
So having said most of my goodbyes (a few difficult ones remain) and having had a final jaunt away, I do feel ready to move home. Now if that packing fairy would just show up already and get on with it!