Child 1 whizzed through for one last weekend. It had been gone just long enough to make us all go, 'oh yes, THAT'S what it's like having another body around the house' a bit but not so long that having it back felt strange. Of course it was only here for the blink of an eye - a few meals here and there, a visit to its Grandparents, a single load of laundry and off again.
I dropped it at the airport for one of those modern goodbyes. It seems ridiculous to do the hugging and last wording part at home but at the airport it's all exhaust fumes and patrolling security guards and impatient cars so it was given a kiss and half a hug and sent on its way. I didn't even have time to watch it go through the doors; it was gone in no time anyway without even a backwards glance.
So now Child 3 and I can actually settle into The Way Things Are Now. For the past three weeks there were still belongings scattered and drawers half full. Child 3 was half moved from one room and into another waiting on that final visit.
We know it will be back of course. The internship is only until January, and although it's going to find a place of its own it will also be around for dinner now and then. But there is a door-shut sort of feeling at the moment, a lovely feeling that Child 1 has happily ended the small, play-house world of being a kid.
It's very nice of it not to have left us all behind there.