The Countdown

We got the news this week: our time in Japan is nearing its end. While we don’t have an exact date, we expect to fly back to the States some time early in October. We sat down with the boys and tried to explain what is going to happen, and when…which appeared to be a mistake. They seemed to think that we were going to leave immediately – in fact, Max grabbed a backpack and began filling it with toys. We had to explain (a little more carefully) that we wouldn’t be leaving for a few months.

“First is Max’s birthday,” we told them. “Then Charlie’s birthday. Then, we’ll pack all of our things, and then we’ll go. Three things, three months.”

That seemed to work at first, too – but then Max started waking up every morning asking if it was his birthday. So finally, we pulled out the big guns:


the countdown chain. (The white links are birthdays!) Now, this isn’t a full chain – it only goes to Charlie’s birthday – but as soon as we have a departure date we can add some more links.

If you’ve never made one of these, the premise is simple: one link for one day. Each morning we cut one off and it gives the kids something tangible and measurable to see how long it will be until birthdays, Christmas, trips, and so on. I like to make mine out of various colors of construction paper (it sure livens things up!) and I usually make each sheet into four links by cutting it into quarters lengthwise.

Whew. We only have a few months left! It seems both like we’ll never leave and that the time is slipping back far, far too quickly.


  1. Wren says:

    Cannot wait to see those babies! (Also cannot wait for Max’s birthday – it’s the same day my summer classes are over.)

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