In one of Hansie’s last letters home from Madagascar, he warned me, “Enjoy spending time with Xander now, because when I come home he’s all mine!”
Hans wasn’t kidding. With just six weeks between Hans’ arrival home and Xander’s impending departure, those two are determined to spend nearly every waking hour together.
They’ve been hiking, swimming, boating, gone to movies, to the temple, hammocking at the park, working, missionary shopping, playing Frisbee and basketball and soccer, attended a dozen mission farewells and homecomings and fought over holding baby Hugo.
In a funny role reversal, Hansie’s been tagging along with Xander to parties and activities with friends (just like Xander did his entire freshman year). As Hans’ friends return home one by one, the two groups meld– the younger ones asking for advice, the older boys sharing mission experiences. Every night they stay out far too late and nearly every afternoon they nap on opposite couches. I’ve never seen them disagree– even for a moment.
It’s an unusual time– this space between. Six weeks in the space of four plus years when these two brothers can spend time together. On August 1st we’ll meet up with Stefan and Heather and spend two weeks as a family before Xander departs on August 16th for two long years in Montreal. We can’t even think about Xander leaving without crying and since we’re trying to enjoy every day with him at home, we’re just not thinking about it at all. Why cry now for future sadness?
Is it possible to truly appreciate the people we love while they are with us? We certainly try.
We try to be patient with each other, to look for the good in each other, refrain from judgment, offer help when needed and step back when it’s not.
It helps to have Hansie home, since he may be the kindest, most peaceable person on the planet. I almost thought we’d built him up too much in our minds during his absence. But he’s honestly just the most good-natured person– always cheerful, always interested, always ready for fun; level-headed, hardworking and undeniably adorable.
We’re savoring our days together. Every one.