Our plans have changed about four times in the last week or so, but we're finally set. Mom and Michael will be here sometime Saturday, and the kids and I will take off for Utah with them Sunday morning, arriving in Mission sometime Monday evening.
Today, one of my friends hosted a playdate so that we could spend some time with our wonderful mommy friends. I couldn't think too much about leaving this wonderful group of women or I'd just get sick, so I tried to focus on the fact that I'll be near my sisters again. As I gave hugs and said goodbye, I could tell I would be missed as much as I would miss them--it was a wonderfully miserable feeling. Every time the car turned as it was leaving the driveway, all the kids in it would yell "Bye Kylie!!" again. Finally, she said, "Mommy, they keep saying bye to me!" I told her, "I know, Kylie, that's because we're going to Montana and they're staying in California and we won't see them again for a long time. We're not sure when we'll see them again." Suddenly, her eyes got very big, and in a pathetically sad little voice she said, "But we will miss them!" I responded that we certainly would, and she burst into tears. "But Mommy we will miss them!!" Apparently, what moving meant hadn't sunk in for our littlest one til yesterday. It was a pretty sad moment.
But it all made me feel so grateful once again for having been in this particular place at this particular point in time. Sometimes the Lord helps something special to happen--and even if you know that's the case, the "something special" isn't always what you think it is. For a time, however brief, he brought all these families together, and in many respects we felt like a big family. We relied heavily on each other, and were intertwined the way enmeshed families are, sometimes seeing each other 6 or 7 days a week. We learned to see and cherish one another's strengths and be patient with each other's weaknesses. I think we all learned a little better how and why to see those around us as brothers and sisters, fellow children of a divine Father. We welcomed new family members together--both babies and converts--and helped each other to teach and nurture them while struggling with our own shortcomings. We've learned more Christlike love through the way we have loved and been loved by each other. What lesson could be more important than that?
The Lord gathers his people and he scatters his people. Both are difficult for different reasons, both have their blessings, as well, and I don't pretend to understand all his reasons for doing either. I'm simply grateful to have been a small part of this gathering, to better understand the line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". This Thanksgiving as I enjoy dinner with my whole, big, wonderful family, I will also think of my many wonderful friends in California, and truly be filled up with gratitude for the abundance with which the Lord has blessed me.