Saturday, May 30, 2015

Late Night Rambling

Its late and I should be asleep, but I can't shut my brain down.  That's happened a lot the last couple of years, though usually its been worry about family members or friends that has kept my mind racing.  I've never done well with watching people I love carry burdens that I feel powerless to change, and relatively ineffective at helping to bear, and a lot of people I love have been carrying a lot of heavy burdens the last few years, with no easy resolution in sight.

Tonight, however, the reason I've been unable to quiet my mind is overwhelming gratitude.  For dinner, I ate reheated leftovers from a delicious meal that a friend brought over for my family a couple of days ago.  I only met her about a year and a half ago, but she has become one of my closest, most trusted friends in that time.

I had a seizure Thursday morning and ended up in the ER.  Doug messaged her to let her know, in hopes that she might inform the professor I was supposed to meet with that afternoon.  She notified the nursing department of my situation and then walked over to the hospital to check on me.  Without anyone asking a thing, she offered to bring dinner (not a small task when you're dealing with a family of 6).  I continued to have small, partial seizures throughout the day, and so her presence was like a ray of sunshine when she showed up with a fresh cooked meal for my hungry, somewhat nervous kids.

While I was in the hospital, a few other friends took care of little Keira Belle.  Kaytee has watched Keira on a nearly daily basis the entire time I've been in school, and I couldn't do my life right now without her.  Her generosity has been the energy on which my family has run, to a large extent.  She has a great sense of humor and is a lifeline as a mom-in-arms who just totally gets whatever it is I may be dealing with with the kids on any given day.  Kaytee was supposed to be working that morning (in fact, I was supposed to be watching her kids), and so Tessie, a lovely woman from the ward who lives just up the street, and who, along with her teenage daughters, is pretty much adored (deservedly so) by my kids, took Keira to work with her while we got things sorted out.

Until further notice, I am prohibited from driving, and you wouldn't believe the number of people who have volunteered--entirely sincerely--to be my personal chauffeur.  When you live in rural Montana and can't drive (and its raining), there isn't a whole lot you can do.  But reflecting is always an option.  I've spent a lot of time the last few days reflecting on the last few months, the last year, and I'm having a hard time processing how blessed I have been.

We just returned from a trip to California, where my sister-in-law/best friend was an amazing host: staying up talking with us till all hours of the night, giving fabulous haircuts to me and all my girls, making us fabulous dinners, sending us on dates.  It'd been 2 years since we'd been able to be in the same place, but we talk on the phone regularly and  I don't know what I'd do without her.  I am not someone who puts friendship to the test a lot, but due to circumstances not entirely within my control, her loyalty has been put to the test and she has come through with flying colors time and time again.  I've seldom been more certain of anyone's love for me.  And I adore her--few people make me laugh as much and put me as ease so readily as her.  It was wonderful to be with all my in-laws again; so many people don't even get one solid, reliable family in life, and I got two.  Doug's brother and sisters (and brothers-in-law) are truly wonderful people that I'm privileged to be connected to, and it was fun to have so many reminders of that last week.

Another dear friend sent me several messages over the last few days, checking in on me, reminding me that she loved me.  She gives me courage; I have seldom seen anyone else carry such heavy burdens with such tremendous grace and strength of character.  I don't imagine that's how she sees herself, but I can't not see her that way.  To be loved by such a person is no credit to me; she is simply a person of outstanding love, in both quantity and quality.

Visiting with her reminded me of the goodness of another friend--one I failed to visit while in California--who, through her charitable heart and clear-eyed perception, has been an incredibly Christlike servant of my family and several of the people I love most.  On top of that, she sent us a generous, entirely unexpected Christmas gift.  She was our Santa Clause this year.

My family.  I can never say enough words of gratitude about the incredible family to which I was sent.  Moms simply don't get a lot better than my mom: patient, generous (especially with her time), calm and easy-going, she manages to make most things in my life easier without ever actually interjecting herself into my life.  My sisters, who are always enriching my life with their talents and time, who do so much for me and my kids.  My brothers, who have had a lot of uphill climbing the last year or two and have still managed to be attentive and affectionate to me and my kids.  My littles think they have the coolest uncles on the planet, and they aren't far off.

The extended family is pretty high on that list, too.  I got to talk to two of my favorite uncles last week.  One invited us into his home, stayed up talking with us till 3 in the morning, and then got up and made us bacon and hash browns and eggs before he headed to work.  He makes me smile so much.  The other has been one of my favorite people for literally as long as I can remember.  I love that he is so unashamedly who he is--I love seeing how much fun his kids have with him, and that its easy to observe his love for his kids and nieces and nephews in action.  He helps me feel close to my grandma, and I'll never be able to thank him enough--none of us will--for how generously he cared for her in her waning years.   I love to be able to smile with him, and he smiles readily for me.  I love him for that.

And Doug.  Last week, I noticed him taking my hand more, putting an arm around me more.  Maybe its just that I'm finally to a point in life where I'm not constantly holding a kid, or holding multiple kids' hands everywhere we go.  Maybe it was just him feeling relaxed and attentive, having been able to take a real break for the first time in probably 2 years.  Maybe some part of him sensed that some part of me was wearing a bit thin after 4 very long years.  Whatever the reason, the last couple of weeks its been easy to remember why I fell in love with him.  He's a good father, and I love to watch him teach the kids--something he does at once both very consciously and very naturally.  I love hearing him read novels to them, or explain scriptures to them, or throw out some fun facts about California rail history.  He makes me laugh.  He gives me confidence, because I know that he never says anything he doesn't believe to be true.

There are so many more, so much more that I'm grateful for, but I think I've put down enough now to be able to sleep, and my four greatest blessings will be waking me up in about six hours, so its probably time I lay me down to sleep so that I can see them as blessings when they come marching down the stairs ;)

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