"It is hard to believe it is actually over." was all I could think as I drove home from Minjae's goodbye party at the bowling alley with a lump in my throat and tears pooled underneath my bottom eyelids.
Where in the world did the nine months go since Minjae stepped off the airplane in September?
Last night it was obviously that everyone in the Balvin clan was in a little state of shock, unable to completely comprehend that the kid who had joined our family and brought us so many laughs wasn't around anymore.
We'll miss so many things about Minjae:
- Jacob will miss having a buddy around all the time. They loved to play NBA2K on the Xbox or go outside and play sports. We all learned what an amazing athlete Minjae is.
- Isabelle will miss bugging Minjae and trying to "get him going" with some meaningless argument.
- Andrew will miss having a wrestling buddy, someone who was always patient with his poking and slapping and physical contact. Even Minjae found his "Andrew breaking point" but his fuse was so much longer and burned so much slower than any of ours.
- Stephanie will miss the challenge and joy she got from proving Minjae wrong when he was so certain he was right. She'll also miss watching Minjae grow as a student and seeing him build friendships with his classmates.
- I'll miss so many things. Taking him to the YMCA to play hoops. The both of us flexing to compare our biceps. Eating spicy foods together. Shaking his bed and tickling him before he went to sleep.
We will all miss his kind and patient presence. The way he made us laugh. How he rolled with the crazy Balvin schedule. The things he taught us about Korea and about ourselves. The crazy things he'd say when he was playing games and getting competitive.
Minjae is a great kid and we couldn't have had a more perfect match of student to family. God was very gracious in bringing Minjae into our lives. It wasn't always easy, and I'm sure we could have done some things differently, but I wouldn't want it any other way, and our lives are so much better for the experience.