40 Reflections: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season
When we were mentally planning our move from DC, I pictured our moving truck loaded with exersaucers, onesies, and boxes of photos heading either north or west toward grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I saw all of us swapping stories around a big, full Norman Rockwellesque table for holidays, cousins living down the street on deck for fishing, playing ball, or exploring, and aunts and uncles ready to solve all the “trains traveling in opposite directions” word problems with our kids. Instead, after a 15-hour drive we pulled into a driveway even further from family, the 108-degree weather making me want to rewind the whole event.
We were going to be fine, I convinced myself. Because you go where the jobs are. We have three kids. It’s the right thing. It is. Immediately after we moved, my dearest of friends sent me a 1,000 thread-count periwinkle set of sheets and a handmade card that read “Bloom where you’re planted!” written in her jaunty script. But I currently hated where I was planted, (there was red clay everywhere and what the heck were fire ants?!?!) I wanted to go home and three of the four people I knew were being potty trained. I desperately wished she could drop by with a bottle of wine, her funny stories, and a hug.
As time went by, we adjusted, and each summer we’d pack up the crew and head to one of the grandparent’s homes. We’d alternate years, and try and make 2-3 weeks stretch like a long, lazy summer day. Waking up early for coffee and walks, telling stories, and playing games late into the night.
As our kids get older, the time they spend with family lessens each year…and in a blink, their adulthood begins to bloom. College, church, clubs, teams, work, and commitments seep into every moment. In a flash, they know how to work with people, look them in the eye, shake hands, and maybe even have a joke in their back pocket if needed. Their schooling, interaction with the real world, and appreciation for others have taught them to have bottomless faith in themselves.
Although Facetime is a gem, I still imagine what it would have been like if the kid’s grandparents could have seen this day-to-day, witnessed them in their element, watched them navigate friendships, given advice, and watched them bloom.
But it’s okay. Our visits to see our families are priceless. Our friends here become family as well and the kids have become fiercely independent.
Stay tuned for more on this topic…