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Arriving in Sweden.

Currently I’m in the airport (yet again). One of the downfalls of my rescheduled trip is that I have only been in Sweden for 36 hours and now I’m headed for Germany for a week. While that makes me a bit sad, there are some positive aspects to this. For one, it means that I’ll have two weeks in Sweden that aren’t split up, which is actually kind of nice. Also, it means I’ll get to practice my basic Swedish phrases before I have to put my brain to good use. And finally, it gave me a short preview of what living with three kids ages 5 and under is like (so I can mentally prepare myself)!

As for the kids, they are quite a handful, but I didn’t expect it to be any different. Once Magnus picked me up from the airport, we made the 30ish minute trek to Kållered which was rife with trees and snow and more trees and more snow. And of course, we passed many businesses and houses… the Swedish houses are so cozy and inviting looking, particularly in such cold weather. They are all lit up with the traditional candle arches, which makes everything look a bit brighter. And of course, everything reflects off the snow as well.

Once at the house, Linda greeted us. Tilde and Melker were already asleep, but I was given the grand tour, at which point I met Filip. It wasn’t long after that the other two awoke, and while initially they were all quite shy, before much time had passed, the two older kids had warmed up to me. At this point, we reheated many of the leftovers from the Christmas smorgasbord and enjoyed food and some amazing Rocky Road (of which I was given the recipe and my own stash of it…. SO GOOD).

Once 10 p.m. or so rolled around, Linda went to put the children to bed, and Magnus and I hung out and caught up while cleaning the kitchen. It is such an interesting experience, being reunited after not seeing one another in 16 years. He’s exactly like I remembered, except now that we are both adults, it is naturally a different dynamic. He is full of questions, and I don’t think that during my stay any of us will run out of things to talk about. Now our relationship isn’t just based on having spent a year as siblings under the same roof, but rather we have both accrued quite a bit of life experience and grown into ourselves. 

I particularly love watching him be a father and husband. He was always a typical teenage boy in my mind, and now he is changed in so many ways. Having those family responsibilities has transformed him and it is so heartwarming for me to watch. He is so good with the kids and they clearly adore him. Last night we were talking about parenting, and he made a comment that he has realized now that he doesn’t change or shape the kids so much as they shape him. I don’t think 19-year-old Magnus who I last saw in 1994 would ever had said anything akin to that.