Back in the States, today is Mother’s Day.
The above picture was taken nearly two years ago, about a week before Brook and I moved to Thailand. We had so much going on, and so many things to get taken care of, that I drove out to visit with family on my own while he stayed back in Indiana to continue wrapping up the life we’d built there. He knew it was important for me to see them once more before we met for the last time at the airport, as over the previous 3 and a half years my time with them had already been limited due to distance.
And, I’m so glad I did.
As soon as our sell-everything-but-a-few-boxes-of-stuff yard sale was over on Saturday afternoon, I hopped in my little green car (also, for the last time) and made the 3 hour drive out to my Mom’s. We spent the evening talking, looking at photo albums, eating amazing stuffed pizza, spinach fettuccine alfredo, salad, garlic bread… I had to get in as much good food as possible, ya know?! Just the two of us, and all the puppies. It was nice.
The next day, we spent the afternoon at my brother’s house with his family and one of my cousins who was in town. We grilled out for lunch, played games with my niece and nephew, took what seemed like a million photos and videos in photobooth here on my trusty Mac, did a few family portraits in the yard, and had an all around wonderful day together. Since we still had a few more speaking engagements and other responsibilities to take care of in that final week (seriously, we were travelling and speaking up until 2 days before we left… talk about craziness), I ended up needing to drive back to Indiana from my brother’s house. That was a tough drive, as I knew the next (and last) time I would see them would be at O’Hare, right before boarding a plane to Thailand – for what we had thought at that time would be a 4 year stint before returning to see them again…
You see, my parents were missionaries for several years before I came into the world. My big brother, Tim, was born out on the field. They lived in a pretty remote fishing village in southern Alaska, a place where you needed to order your groceries 6 months at a time from a catalog. Because of this, my mom has been even more of a help to me as Brook and I have begun building our life over here in Asia. Sure, Alaska and Thailand are nothing alike – but, it’s still far away, still a world totally foreign to us, we get lonely, we miss home, we have to deal with raising support and everything that entails, we face all kinds of ridiculous challenges each day… and she gets it. We all count on our moms for advice, encouragement, friendship, love, and the fact that my mom can actually relate to what I’m going through over here just sends her that much higher in the awesome category. We chat via phone or Skype every couple of weeks, and there have been times where I only begin to tell her something and she already knows what I’m going to say, because she’s been there, too. It’s really kinda neat how that works, and I’m so grateful for it.
So, you can only imagine how fun it was for me to call my mom, totally out of the blue, on what just so happened to be Halloween night, and ask her what kind of cookies we were going to make together for Christmas this year. I took great joy in her confused pause and accompanying “wait, what?”, followed by repeating my question until she realized what I was really saying to her. We weren’t supposed to be home for 4 whole years, and when the opportunity to fly home at only 1 and a half arose, we jumped on attacked it.
Ever wonder where my love of food, cooking, and hosting comes from? Yeah, my mom. You have no idea how fun it was for me to just hang out in the kitchen with her baking, making candies, and just enjoying one another’s company. Sure, we weren’t home for very long, and it was super busy, but I wouldn’t trade the time we had for anything in the world. We cooked together, baked together, hugged, looked at old family slides (yes, I’m the annoying little nerd who begs for the old projector and carousels of photos to be drug out whenever I’m home), wrapped Christmas presents, hugged, went grocery shopping, talked about the baby, ate Spumoni ice cream, hugged, and I did mention how many times I hugged my mom yet?
I love my momma.
It stinks to know that it’ll be another 2 and a half years before I get to fly home to see her again. It’s hard to deal with the fact that she won’t be here to hold my first baby as soon as it arrives. It’s tough not being able to know I can just hop in the car, and within a few hours be there to hand her a big bunch of flowers today. But, it’s okay. I know my mom always loves me, and is always thinking about me, no matter where I am, and that’s a wonderful thing…
Happy Mother’s day, momma. Thanks for helping me become who I am. Love you!