"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Thursday, July 25, 2013

saying goodbye

Newel was on his way once again to Germany and I could think of no better way to spend my Saturday night than driving a mega-van load of kids to a church dance.

My co-pilot/DJ for the evening turned out to be a young man who had been in my primary when I served as president of that organization in our ward.

Over the years, he'd come through some hard family situations and we'd weathered some difficulty in difference of personality. He hadn't been my biggest fan then, but I'd done my best to let him know that I was his.

He moved out of state Monday and as we rode along Saturday night, he chatted about his concerns in moving, his reservations in making new friends, the new adventure awaiting him.

He was lovely and a far cry from that frustrated boy.

Along our ride, he marveled at the sunset, snapped a shot with his camera phone and asked my number so he could send it to me. As he left my car, I just had to tell him I thought he'd be great where ever life took him .. and I meant it because he's becoming something amazing.

I had been holding it together just fine. But for some strange reason, his leaving hammered me over a few others that I've stonewalled through this week as I drove home in the quiet.

There are certain women you meet in life and wonder if in the great before, you were cut out of the same fabric in the making. Friday night, I said goodbye to a favorite friend who was meant to be a sister. Her children and mine were thick as thieves.

She and her family departed for the opposite side of the country the following morning.
That's really all I can say about that other than ....

She took a small piece of my heart with her.

And ...

The greater part of this week will be spent helping my sister who moved here a short while ago, move once again to a distant state.

We are filling every spare moment saying goodbye to cousins we've loved having close for what feels like a minute.

In such a short time, how did I come to enjoy having family near?

She made me promise not to say "how could you do this?", "how could you make us turn cousins into best friends?", "how could you take away almost daily conversations?", "how could you vanish hopes for future gatherings?", "how could you rip our hearts out and leave us behind as you skip off on new adventures while we pick up the pieces of telling children ... 'no, we cannot see them today' ... how?"....

Or something like that, anyway.

I've been good.

But in that silent drive home from carting teenage kids to that dance, that good was suddenly not. It's always hardest to be the ones left behind.

I'm trying to remember this quote from this college friend:

"In Friendship…we think we have chosen our peer. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances.

A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends “You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.” The Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of others." 
--C.S. Lewis

And go on living rather than missing those I've loved having on my path.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

beached 2013

I'm still chipping away at a mountain of laundry. We look up at four o'clock and think it is noon. There's an awful lot of shaking from the sugar and fried detox. But ... 

There are 335 days until we do it all over again and we are already counting.

We took our first dad-less trip across the country to Litchfield, South Carolina. Newel flew in from Germany to meet us.

These kids are awesome co-pilots. They took turns keeping me awake, telling me their life stories ;)

And ... maybe it was the daily journey with a pool swim before bed, their expertly honed hotel entry and exit skills,  breaking the "no eating snacks in the car" rule, or choosing our playlists over NPR for a change ...

Whatever it was, we had a good time together.

We made it to visit and hug Grand Janie in Charleston before her open heart surgery. She experienced some bumps along the way but she's tougher than nails.

Why does this man always look to be in pain when I grab him for a picture?

See? Better but still.

Grand Janie had tickets to Brookgreen Gardens for us.

The kids weren't enthused with my love of art. I can't imagine why.

The south has some awesome bugs.

The Gardens had a kiddie play area Eliza was convinced was Disneyland. I'm not letting her know differently ;)

We live for time with these kids who are the children of our college friends. Every year, I wish we lived closer.

We peer pressured them to jump into the canal off the bridge.

Either it drew a crowd because we were crazy ... or just that cool.

At low tide when this hammerhead shark beached in the marsh out front of our house, the verdict was crazy.

I've been going here for thirty years and NEVER spotted a shark.

Some serious game nights, fireworks, golf cart racing, teenage antics ... just 335 more days and counting.