Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Scatter Sunshine

The other day, I was watching Keilana scooter home from school in her Roxy jeans, with Kylie running after her in her cute little Gymboree skirt and bright yellow Doc Martens, I thought to myself, "Their hand-me-downs are so much cooler than mine were." Then, when I was walking the kids to the car today, all of them dressed so cute in nice clothing, I realized that, head-to-toe on all four kids, I had only purchased Keira's pants and Keilana's shoes. That's it. All the rest of the clothing came to us from cousins and friends. What a wonderful blessing.

Today a friend came over to visit and see how we're doing. Thanks to her sneaky thoughtfulness, we often have so much food that its hard fitting it all in our cupboards--not a challenge that a family generally faces while unemployed.

Our life is absolutely full of people like that. You wouldn't believe how often I get a random email, text message or Facebook comment from someone who loves us and is just checking in to see how we're doing and if they can help at all. A few weeks ago, some friends took us out on a double date, their treat, just to enjoy our company and give us a break. For my birthday, a friend declared he was sending us out on a date, and showed up at the house to babysit and gave us some cash to go have some fun.

Yesterday, I was feeling terribly homesick. My dad's birthday was this past weekend, and so all my siblings got together with all their kids at my parents' house to make cider with my grandma's cider press, from all the apples in my parents' orchards. I haven't been home in 15 months (no one but my mom has even met Keira), and fall is my favorite season in Montana. One of the things that I struggle with in my more homesick moments is feeling forgotten. I look at all these pictures of piles of grandkids and aunts and uncles and part of me thinks, "How could it ever possibly feel as though anyone is missing?" I'm the only one not there, and I've been gone my entire adult life, so I've never really been a part of the life they have now, so I feel like it'd be easy to just sort of forget me and my family. I know better, but that's how I feel when I get bummed about being so far away. So, just when I was feeling disconnected and forgotten, a card showed up in my mailbox from my sweet big sister. Just wanted to let me know that we're loved and missed and that they're thinking about us and hope things turn around soon so that we can come home. That would've been enough to make my entire month, but on top of that she included a generous gift.

All at once, I felt ridiculous for feeling so sorry for myself. The only reason I feel so sad is because I have a marvelous family that is worth missing. And I have family here that loves me, too. So this afternoon, we finally ran some errands this afternoon that we've been putting off, and since we were in Visalia, we decided to stop in and visit Grandpa Barnes. It was strange not having Grandma there with him, but it was a nice visit. Kylie told him that she was gonna come pick his oranges for her birthday and have birthday cake, and he seemed to get a kick out of that idea.

Then we decided to stop in and see Mimi and Papa, too, and spent a couple of hours visiting with them. I love seeing my kids enjoy time with their grandparents and aunts and uncles.

I don't know what life has in store for us in the next few months and years, only that changes and adjustments will probably be demanded of us. I am grateful that one thing remains certain: wherever we go, near or far, there will be plenty of people who happily brighten the way for us. We are so well-loved by so many, and I'm grateful to be reminded of that so frequently.

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