I can't imagine what it would be like to meet people who instantly become your family. I talked about the awkwardness here. Meeting a new mom and a sister or two is probably the toughest. A close second for us was the first cross-country trip that took them to the rest of the family.
Hannah had been with me four months when we flew from Houston to Columbus. It was her first plane ride and she loved it. My sister and her family were there to meet us at the airport. Later that week we would meet up with grandparents, more aunts, more uncles and several more cousins. It went pretty smoothly. At that point I still had no idea what I was doing.
Ashley had only been with us two and a half months when we drove to Ohio during spring break. Her first trip was a lot less smooth. She was a more demanding kid and hard to get along with. She did not endear herself to many that first trip (or the second, for that matter).
Amy's first trip was last Christmas. She had been with us a full eight months. Her visit went well. Her behavior was manageable. I kept her with me at all times. She's a different kid, needs more supervision. Will she always need it? No. But she does now. Again, it's not a race. She can take her time. One day she will be off and running. It just wasn't then.
The second trips were always a little more challenging. As they become more familiar and more comfortable with the people and surroundings, more behaviors come out, more sneakiness happens. For Hannah and Ashley, the second trip usually took a turn for the worse and people ended up in tears, sometimes those tears were mine. Amy's second trip was the big move, so her story has a different kind of twist.
In the beginning it's all about supervision. It's a tough spot to be in. It doesn't look pretty from the outside, but my other option puts my own child and others at risk and I'd rather look crazy and overbearing for the first two years, than miss something and allow someone to get hurt. Tomorrow I'll talk more about supervision issues.
And don't get me wrong, as awkward as the first meeting is for my girls, it's also pretty stinking awkward for the rest of us as well!