Monday, September 9, 2013

Saying Goodbye, for Now

My father-in-law’s month and a half visit came to an end as he returned to Japan over the weekend.

Some of my co-workers who knew about his visit had asked if I were going to celebrate this weekend. It sounded like they thought that having an in-law stay for that long would be their worst nightmare. And maybe it would be for them.

But it wasn’t that way at all for us.

It was truly a pleasure having my father-in-law here.

For one thing, he is very low maintenance. We never feel put out to have to do anything special for him.

Another thing is that he loves to fix things around our house. On this visit, he put up hooks to hang Kai’s backpack and coats, built and hung a decorative shade to block out the excessive sun in our sunroom, and sanded and refinished our coffee table, among many other things.

When we know that he is coming to visit, we know he will want to be kept busy so we look for things to have him fix. It’s become a great excuse reason for me not to fix things around the house.

Toward the end of this visit, my wife half-jokingly suggested that we break something so that her father would have something to do. He was getting bored as he had already fixed everything there was to fix.

Despite all of the benefits of having a handyman come live with you, that is not the primary reason why I enjoy my father-in-law’s visits.

I enjoy the effect he has on our household.

My wife is always very happy throughout his visits. And I’ve learned, perhaps a little slowly, that a happy wife = a happy life.

But most of all, his visit had a profoundly wonderful impact on our son.

For a boy who almost never has friends over to the house (because he doesn’t really have true friends), having his doting grandfather stay for six weeks was the most awesome thing. It was like having a grandparent, a playmate, and a best friend all rolled into one loving package.

I think Kai will forever have very fond memories of these past few weeks.

We dropped Jiji off at the airport on Saturday morning. Kai gave him one last hug.

The rest of the day, it seemed a bit quieter at our house. My father-in-law was not one to speak much, so the quiet was not due to his voice being absent. I think it was because Kai was just a little bit less enthusiastic, perhaps even a touch subdued, without his grandfather around.

And so we miss him already.

And we will look forward to his next visit. Come back, soon, Jiji!


  1. He seems to be a very good man. I am sure Kai will remember him fondly. I am also sure that your Father in Law will also have much to talk about to his friends in Japan about his great adventure while in the U.S. .

    Your Father in Law reminds me of men from long ago...hidden talents...quiet natured. We used to call such men...Silent Thunder (complimentary). A man with hidden talents is to be respected...not just for what they know...but for everything he may know that he doesn't show.

    He looks very dignified...especially in the last photo...just like the ones I have known throughout my life.

    1. I don't think they make men like that too much anymore. Dignified is a very good word to describe him.

  2. Wow...what a great time all of you had. Too bad he lives so far away. I'm glad the time went well and that he and Kai seemed to bond so much more. I'll be anxious to hear how the Skype sessions go now...if it will be a little better now that they have such a connection. :)

    1. It is a shame that he lives so far away, but then, perhaps that is why each visit seems particularly special. We like for him to stay a long time because we know he can't come often, so we get a lot of quality time together. I think it's a different experience than if he were to visit for only a couple days.

      I'm curious, too, about how the Skype sessions will go. I wouldn't be surprised if Kai has more occasions now when he will want to take over the conversation with his grandfather. :)

  3. Loved reading this. It's wonderful that your father-in-law is so wonderful. I'm sure Kai will always remember his visits fondly.


    1. Myra, Kai is old enough now that I'm sure he will have memories of this visit, and of his grandfather, that will last a lifetime.


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