How My Pregnancy Changed My Dog

Dot

Little Miss Dot

Before I became pregnant, Dot had a routine of going out for at least an hour first thing in the morning to wander the neighborhood. We live in a safe, enclosed neighborhood, with plenty of houses but very few neighbors, so we felt it was all right to let her wander, get some fresh air and exercise, and come and go as she liked. She would come back and sleep near me as I worked, but her routine mostly involved alternating between hanging out with me or Toby and running outside every few hours or so. At least a few times a day, she would go into high drama mode upon spying a fellow dog outside. High-pitched shrieking and whining and general freaking-out would commence until we could get up and let her out to go sniff her compatriot’s hind end and come back inside.

Almost as soon I as found out I was pregnant, Dot’s routine changed. She no longer goes on long morning hikes. Instead, she sleeps patiently on her little bed until we get up—whether it be at 7 a.m. or 10 a.m.—at which point, we’ll let her out to go pee, but then she comes right back in, and from then on, she’s attached at my heel. If I go to work on the couch, she’ll sleep right beside me there, or lay perched to watch the outdoors for any possible miscreants. Upstairs, downstairs, there she is right behind me. When I go to the kitchen for a snack, she follows me. When I go to the kitchen to make lunch, she whines to go outside, but instead of wandering afield, she mans her guard post just outside the kitchen door until I’m done cooking, at which point she will follow me to the dining room to stand guard while I eat. When I take a shower, she stands watch outside the bathroom door, sometimes even whining until I stick my wet fingers past the curtain for her to lick and be assured that I am indeed behind the curtain and have not actually melted down the drain.

And then, at night, instead of sleeping in her little bed, she has taken to coming to my side of the bed and sleeping on the floor beside me until I fall asleep. When it’s clear I’m safe and sleeping, she moves back to her proper bed.

To say she has become protective of her pregnant mama would be an understatement.

Yesterday, I packed up the car to go to work at SOLD. Normally, this dog hates anything to do with the car because while the car often means a trip to the lake, it also potentially means a trip to the vet or to the kennel. We usually have to coax and cajole her for several minutes before she begrudgingly gets in the car with a look that clearly says to us, “FINE, but only because I love you, you know that right?” Sometimes she gets so recalcitrant we give up and force her in. Seeing as how just last week she had her annual vaccinations at the vet’s office, one would think this experience would be foremost in her little doggie mind and getting back in the car would be the last thing she’d want to do. Yet, just as I was about to step into the car myself, she popped in and made herself comfy on the front seat–only to be promptly ejected. We had to put her in the house and shut the door so I could drive away. She went into high drama mode and wouldn’t stop whining until Toby finally let her out to prove to her that I was indeed already gone. (Poor little Dottles!)

Dogs are amazing, aren’t they? We figure she must have been able to smell or somehow sense a change in my hormones or pheremones or whatever because the change was almost immediate. I don’t really know if she understands pregnancy or not. Either way, I love that her innate instinct in response was a protective one. I think it bodes well for how she’ll be when the baby comes along. Normally, she’s a little skittish around kids and we’ve had to work hard to socialize her to be at ease around a lot of kids. It’s not easy for her, and if they startle her or come at her looking like they might strike her, she will still occasionally snap so we watch her carefully. We’ll watch her carefully with our little one as well (OF COURSE), but I think as long as she recognizes the baby as a member of the family (which, actually, so far, she’s been amazingly good at figuring out who’s family when visitors come to call), she will be all love and cuddles. I’m curious to see how it plays out.

plant1

Flourishing

coffee1

This post is a day late because when I normally would have been writing it, I got caught up in work for SOLD, and then, I got a surprise call from cousins who just happened to be in town and wanted to meet for dinner.

I’m all for putting off “shoulds” and taking advantage of surprise guests. Besides, they brought me fresh fruit & flowers!

We did go to the doctor yesterday, but no, we did not find out the baby’s sex – maybe next time! However, we still got to see little fingers and toes and our baby’s face is coming into clearer view. Test results from the last visit came back, and all is well.

My doctor does keep on making a point to me that I am NOT immune to the Hep-B virus and wants me to get vaccinated after giving birth. I find this a little bizarre because…why? Hep-B is an STD acquired through unprotected sex with an infected person or by sharing needles. Since I’m not exactly the type to roam around the red light district shooting up, I’m not sure why he thinks I might be at any risk of getting it. Vaccines always make me nervous too, since the whole idea of them is that they work by injecting a tiny bit of the disease into you. But maybe it’s standard practice in Thailand to vaccinate against Hep-B? Is it standard practice in the U.S?

Anyway, we came away from the doctor’s office aglow with that happiness that seems to come every time we see our little bean on that screen. We celebrated by going to the mall, where I got an ice cream, and Toby got…a brand new camera!

This week also brought some very good news from our tax accountant, and, with some fresh new energy, I’m absorbed back into work in a way I haven’t been since getting pregnant.

It’s been a good week. Then, this morning, I read a blog post on A Kilt and a Camera, where Peg and Brian have just moved from the U.K. to Brazil and are navigating their way through setting up house in a foreign land. It reminded me so strongly of what it was like those first days and weeks here in Thailand–the whirlwind of finding a rental and getting vehicles, trying to find the grocery shops and then trying to figure out where everything was in the shops since they’re organized differently, setting up utilities, intuiting our way through social customs, making ourselves understood in a foreign language, and just generally figuring out which way was up. It was so exciting at the time, and went much more smoothly than we had thought or feared it might (primarily because Thai people are so generous and gentle and accommodating), yet now in retrospect I see just how much change we had to go through. Excitement got us through a lot of it, but so did just tackling one project at a time, stepping one foot in front of the other, until now we look back and see the miles we walked.

And now, look at us. We can welcome and entertain visitors on a moment’s notice, we’ve got our business sorted, we’re thriving at work and at play, we’ve been to 6-7 other countries in the meantime, and we have a baby on the way. It’s amazing what can happen in two and a half years. We threw caution to the wind, but little seeds were planted along the way…and now we can stand and look back, and see the burgeoning garden that is the life we’ve created together.

Nothing like seeing those first blooms.

Bigger Picture Blogs is ringing in April with the theme: PLANT. Whether we’re celebrating the arrival of spring in the evidence of plants all around us, placing something in the ground so it can grow, planting ideas, or planting ourselves, in April we will spend time ruminating on the growth of great things from small beginnings.

Live. Love. Capture. Encourage.

Share your ruminations with us! Link up at Bigger Picture Blogs!

People Tell Me

…that I should sit back and enjoy this pregnancy ride. I am, and I do, but there’s also a part of me that is largely stuck in a heightened state of anticipation: waiting to get to a “safer” stage in pregnancy, waiting for the next checkup to confirm all is well, waiting for my parents to come back, waiting for stuff to arrive, waiting to know that everything is going to be fine, waiting to show this baby I can be a good mama….

….because underneath all that is worry.

I act like once this pregnancy is over and I have that baby in my arms, I’ll know everything will be okay.

But of course that’s ridiculous, because as soon as the baby comes I’ll get a whole brand new list of things to worry about. My days of worrying are only beginning, aren’t they?

So. I should just get used to it. And sit back and enjoy.

Creating a Family Narrative

My sister, my mom, my brother, and wee little me, back in the days when we lived in a tiny apartment in Mississippi.

An article in the NY Times recently argued that the best way to instill resilience and self-confidence in children is to provide them with a strong family narrative. It’s a fascinating read. Much like other social groups, there is greater cohesion when the group shares its history – the highs as well as the lows – and forms a strong core identity in which children are helped to feel that they are part of something larger than themselves.

As I read the article, I saw how it reflected my own family. I knew where my parents grew up, I knew some of the darker skeletons in the closet, I knew the story of how my parents met and how I came to be, and my mom told me more times than I can count that blood is thicker than water; that friends may come and go, but that family – whether you want them to or not, and even if they sometimes go about it in really kooky ways – will always be there for you.

It wasn’t just words either. I saw our family banking system in action: when one member needs a boost to qualify for a home, the various relatives scramble to put it together, knowing full well one day it’ll eventually come back to them, though they’d do it regardless; when another gets married or has a baby, the older relatives pull together and set up a nest egg; when the younger members get older, they send money home to the grandfolks or even offer them a place in their own homes, and they continue the cycle of sending money down to help out the younger generations. The insurance is better than anything the FDIC can offer and it’s interest-free.

I saw unconditional love in action: no matter what was said, no matter what hurt was dealt, you could always come home. It might not be easy – justice would always be meted out – but you would never be turned away at the door.

Why does a strong narrative instill resilience? How does the family story bring strength? The article suggests it has to do with “sense-making,” identity creation, and group cohesion. Based on my own experience, I think it’s about more than that. Whenever my mom sat me down and gave me her blood is thicker than water spiel, I always took a deep amount of solace in that knowledge. I took comfort in knowing that I always had a home base, that I would never be shunned no matter what I did (I might surely have to pay the piper, but ostracism would never be the price), and that I always had a gaggle of supporters cheering me on from the sidelines.

Besides, when the family unit is strong, there’s no one better than an older, indulgent sibling, who once kissed all your boo-boos and got you that thing no one else knew you really wanted, to tell you when you’re being a schmuck. Because if you’ve gotten to the point where even they have to say something, then you know you better get your butt in gear. Crying about it is not going to make you shine any brighter in their book, so man up.

The flip side of that coin was a deep sense of duty. I’m not sure it was ever put into so many words, but because I had that comfort and the experience of seeing the family in operation, I knew I had a role to play too: that when others needed my help (whether it was asked for or not) the best way to show love was to jump in and do what was needed, that one needs to learn to be open-minded enough to see love in the kookiest of gestures and appreciate even the quirkiest of personalities, and (this was never expressly said, but if it’s true that I would never be ostracized, then the transverse must also be true) that the worst thing I could ever do would be to turn my back on family because they would never turn their back on me.

It’s part of what gave Toby & me the courage to take a leap and fly across the globe. We knew, no matter what happened or how miserably our experiment might fail, we could always have a soft spot to land at home. It’s what kept me going in the darkest, hardest parts of my most painful experiences…when I wanted to give up, when I would have simply let go if it were simply up to myself, I hung on for my family. When I couldn’t do it for me, I did it to honor the ones who never dreamed they could do it for themselves.

This NY Times article shone a light on an aspect of my family that I hadn’t put into quite the same words before. But if it’s true that a strong family narrative creates stronger children, I know what I’ll do when my child joins the fray. I’ll show them each and every day not just how I love him* and not just how my husband loves him, but all the ways all our aunts, uncles, grandmammas, grandpoppas, and cousins love him and what it means to love back. I will tell him again and again where and who we came from, and I will show him that whatever we did and no matter from how far away, we did it together.

* And by “him” I mean “him or her.” No, we don’t know the baby’s sex yet. 

For the month of March, Bigger Picture Blogs is celebrating the turn from winter toward spring with the theme: Rejuvenate! Come join us: Rejuvenate your heart, rejuvenate your soul – pick up your pen, your camera, and your spirit!

Find all the ways you can blow some fresh air into life and link it up with us at Bigger Picture Blogs!

Live. Love. Capture. Encourage.

Voluptuous

I’m getting round. While I haven’t put on much in the way of poundage, I’m definitely rounder. My breasts are fuller, my hips are widening, and my stomach in verging on rotund – especially after eating, or if I haven’t pooed in a while (It’s true! I’m short…there’s only so much space up in here.)

I can still hide my pregnancy if I wanted to (it would not be comfortable), but when I stand in front of the mirror and look at myself, there is no mistaking the development.

I am Venus.

While my body probably looks more like Botticelli’s version…

…there are plenty of days I feel more akin to the Willendorf variety.

Earlier today, I watched a BBC documentary called, When God Was A Girl, and it was about the history of religion and the important and powerful role women played, how humans used to believe in woman as the creator of life…and death…and the fertility of the earth was linked to the fertility of woman. That is, of course, until male patriarchy came into play and eradicated that train of thought.

I looked on at the statues and imagery of women, and they were all voluptuous and round. Full breasted and rotund, and even at this distance of time and space, they seemed to exude power. These were no waifs (which got me wondering whether the new societal ideal – it is relatively new, historically speaking – of the stick-figured woman is another form of patriarchy, holding up weak, undernourished women as sexy because they appear more easily dominated….but that’s a whole nother topic…). No cute little missies in history. No the powerful women of history could hold up their space.

It’s ironic that I spent the vast majority of my life obsessing over every inch and pound, wanting to get rid of several of them. And now, I run my hands down the sides of my breasts and over the fullness in my belly, and I feel vibrant. I feel alive. There is new life inside me and that is a heady feeling. My husband explores the new curves and weight and kisses where the babe grows inside. I enjoy the roundness of my body because it echoes the fullness of life, connecting me to the millennia of women before me, connecting me to Mother Earth herself.

I am woman, and that is a beautiful thing. It’s life-giving.

For the month of March, Bigger Picture Blogs is celebrating the turn from winter toward spring with the theme: Rejuvenate! Come join us: Rejuvenate your heart, rejuvenate your soul – pick up your pen, your camera, and your spirit!

Find all the ways you can blow some fresh air into life and link it up with us at Bigger Picture Blogs!

Live. LoveCapture. Encourage.

All The Things I Can Finally Say

Don’t read anything into the baby’s sex here…these were the most gender neutral baby shoes we could find.

This post was written on February 8, 2013, and now I can finally share it with you, now that I’ve made my big announcement.

Nobody ever tells you how being pregnant is like having an alien being inside your body, sucking up your entire life force and turning you unrecognizable to even yourself. Luckily for me, I’ve been following mommy blogs long enough to have an inkling of what’s in store. I also know that, as far as pregnancy symptoms go, though I’ve had just about every one in the book, I’ve been quite lucky in that mine have all been incredibly mild – aside from the fatigue. It’s no exaggeration when I say I’ve been sleeping, on average, 10-12 hours a day, if you count all the naps, and don’t count all the times I’ve had to get up to pee.

It’s so refreshing to be able to share the news with you all now, so I can tell you all about the time I was craving donuts so bad I made a special trip out to get some, and when I got back, Toby was disappointed that I only brought him one, and I was like, “Dude, I brought you a donut. I’m so thoughtful.”

Or how I attempted my regular yoga class once and nearly passed out, so I started going to the gentle yoga classes, but these were less yoga and more like various ways of lying about the floor for an hour and a half. (Toby’s reaction: “And you PAY for that??”)

I can also tell you about the time I decided to get more iron in my diet by eating duck, so I went out and got wonton soup with roast duck, but there was shrimp in the wontons, and I was totally not having the shrimp, so I ate the wonton wrappers around the shrimp, and left the offending sea creatures in my bowl. I’m sure the wait staff just LOVED me. Best customer ever.

And I can tell you about how I once felt all smug and superior living in Thailand, where the typical car seat is a mama’s lap on the back of a motorcycle, so I thought we had a much clearer sense of what constitutes “necessity.” Turns out, I can smack that smug and superior smile right off my face because I’m totally having a ton of stuff shipped out from the U.S. (where there are godsends like Target and Babies R Us) partly because of reasons like “holy shit, stuff is cheap in the US” and “wow that’s way better quality,” but also because “OMG that is so cute.” The zoo creatures!! They slay me. Aden + Anais, I want to buy ALL YOUR STUFF.

And I can tell you how it used to be that I was cold all the time and I would snuggle up to Toby in the night, while he was sweating underneath a thin sheet. When we lived in California, I was the worst because my feet were always freezing and I’d put them right up on his thighs or belly to warm them up, while he’d gasp like a dying fish. Now, he snuggles up to me in the night, and I’m like, “OMG, go away, it’s so hot I can’t breathe.”

I also haven’t really wanted chocolate, preferring fruity snacks instead. (WHO AM I?)

Ahh, it’s nice to get that off my chest.

In other news, in the early weeks, I told Toby the baby was technically called a blastocyst, so he promptly took to dubbing our child “Blasto.” After the 8th week, when the baby officially became a fetus, he started calling the babe Cletus. As in, Cletus the Fetus. We’re going to be AWESOME parents.

For the month of March, Bigger Picture Blogs is celebrating the turn from winter toward spring with the theme: Rejuvenate! Come join us: Rejuvenate your heart, rejuvenate your soul – pick up your pen, your camera, and your spirit!

Find all the ways you can blow some fresh air into life and link it up with us at Bigger Picture Blogs!

Live. Love. Capture. Encourage.

When You Don’t Need Caffeine for a Little Pick Me Up

Note: On Monday, I’ll be bringing back Scenes From My Weekend! If you want to join in, snap some glimpses of your weekend, and link it up with us at Bigger Picture Blogs!

I’ve been caffeine-free for about a month and a half now (okay, 46 days, but who’s counting?), and while I haven’t been so addicted to coffee that I need it to survive, it does make the surviving seem all that much more worthwhile.

Especially cappuccinos. Mmmm….cappuccinos….

I digress.

Most days, I trudge along just fine without it. Some days, I treat myself to a sniff of the aroma wafting out of my husband’s cup and then I’m fine.

But once in a while, the NEED is there. It hits and it’s all-consuming and bound to drive you mad.

Yesterday, it hit when I was picking up some groceries at the store. It was a mthrfginggdHOT day (93*F in tropical Thailand – and also burning season so thank the smoke for trapping in the heat – kind of hot day), where even the A/C in the grocery store was not cooling me down, and I contemplated crawling into the ice cream freezer…and there was a woman, walking by, acting all innocent as she sipped her sweet ice cold coffee in front of me.

I wanted to bop her over the head and steal her drink. But, being the lady I am, I refrained, packed my bags in the car, and went home and sobbed to my husband.

Said husband is a godsend. Because what did he do? In a city where decaf isn’t sold because nobody drinks it and thus it is not cost-effective to produce, he went to the one store that actually does sell decaf beans and bought me a bag.

With these magical beans I cleaned out our grinder, poured in just enough beans for a single dose in our Aeropress, and then I let the freezer do its trick.

And there, on that hot, hot day, I had my first iced coffee in months. Granted, decaf isn’t 100% caffeine-free…but it’s caffeine-free enough that I can enjoy it once in a while without concern. And some days, you just really need that cup of joe – and are ever so grateful for a beloved husband who makes that wish come true.

My day ended in bliss.

Now that is love.

For the month of February, Bigger Picture Blogs is celebrating LOVE! Share a loved or loving moment with us – it can be anything: a poem, a memory, an ode or yearning, so long as it comes from the heart!

Bigger Picture Moments
Live. Love. Capture. Encourage.

Link it up at Bigger Picture Blogs!

Raising Men in the Aftermath of Feminism

Photo by Kristi Phillips

It’s no secret now that, while women are still fighting for equal pay and the face of power remains decidedly male, the gender gap in schools didn’t close, it flipped directions. Girls and women at all levels of education, from elementary to collegiate, are outstripping boys – so much so that some colleges are even giving a little extra boost for the guys (yes, you heard that right, affirmative action for white males). Nicholas Kristof provides a nice summary of the problem here and Businessweek has another good one here, but even a cursory poke around Google will bring you a slew of articles from across the Western nations documenting this counter-intuitive trend.

Meanwhile, when we look around at male role models in popular culture, what do we see? Primarily, a glorification of one of two things: underperformance (a la Peter Griffin, Homer Simpson, etc.), or androgyny (types like Michael Cera, “metrosexuality,” dare I even mention Ryan Gosling?). We have to look to Mad Men to find masculinity of the type we used to revere – except they’re all philanderers and misogynists, so that ideal is certainly tarnished.

Toss in rising divorce rates plus a “gotcha!” culture of news media (if I may borrow that phrase) focused on catching politicians and celebrities with their pants down, so to speak (for good or ill), and we have a recipe for stripping society of role models to look towards. I’m being a little blase and overgeneralizing an incredibly complex issue here, but the truth is men these days are often confused about what role they should play and are taught to be ashamed of manliness rather than to uphold its virtues.

We’ve focused so much attention on girl power and what it means to raise a confident, empowered woman, that we’ve forgotten the need to guide our boys too. But we’re doing our girls no favors, when they grow up to be strong, smart, independent women only to find there are no men they can respect to stand strong beside them. Building women up does not require tearing down our boys.

A fellow blogger touched on a growing double-standard in her post, “I never thought he would feel that being a boy was a limitation.” Her children are young, so her concern focuses on erasing gender lines with the toys her kids play with and the cartoons they watch.

But it’s about so much more than that.

It’s about so much more than whether girls can play with monster trucks or whether boys can enjoy watching My Little Pony. As my friend, Brook put it, “we want ALL children to be confident, compassionate and courageous.” Courage is not just for the men, just as compassion is just not for the women.

BUT I don’t think androgyny is the answer either. We do both our children and our society a disservice when we tell them it’s wrong for men to be manly and wrong for women to be feminine. (By the way, we haven’t just hurt our boys either – teaching girls to act like men when it comes to sex has created a host of problems, including, but not limited to: undermining their own sense of value, repressed needs, and increased difficulty in finding and maintaining relationships.) Moreover, we’re simply lying to ourselves when we pretend that there aren’t at least some biological differences between the genders.

That doesn’t mean everyone has to follow a gendered ideal, though – we all suffer when we try to force anyone into a box, no matter what that box is. I’m not harping on anyone who naturally falls towards the middle of the gender spectrum. Gender and sexuality are both complex and we should honor that complexity. What I AM saying, though, is this: We don’t celebrate humanity by wishing (or socializing) away all our differences. We celebrate humanity by encouraging authenticity, harnessing the power of each individual’s strengths, and treating ourselves and each other with respect.

There are two blogs I follow despite the fact that I am neither male nor am I mother to a son. I follow them because I find the articles provide a fascinating discussion of what masculinity means in a post-feminist world: how men can still strive to be the best they can be, present themselves with distinction, be assertive, demonstrate honor and valor – and that masculinity does not have to imply male chauvinism. The first is The Art of Manliness, which grew so quickly and displayed such gratitude from its readers that it showed just how lost men feel in this age, how desperate they are for some guidance on how to be men. The other is 1001 Rules for My Unborn Son. Both hark back to the past for examples of great men, tempered with the greater understanding and self-awareness we have gained in the past decades. It’s a shame how far we have to look back to find great examples.

So whether your boy melts his G.I. Joes in violent combat or plays quietly with a Carebear, teach him to read because great communicators make for great leaders. Whether he prefers World of Warcraft or Sims, teach him to help with chores around the house, because a sense of responsibility breeds great husbands and fathers. Whether his interests lie in the sciences or the arts, teach him to show others respect and appreciation because courage means putting others before ourselves and strength should always be on the side of justice. Whether his hobby is fly-fishing or baking, encourage it because any added skill makes for a more well-rounded human being. Teach him how to change his oil, sew a button, safely discharge a firearm, and iron his shirts…because one day he might need to know all those things.

And roughhouse with him too, because we don’t learn everything there is to learn from “playing nicely” alone.

 

They Say…

…the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This is definitely a true story where my husband is concerned (and I’m endlessly grateful to my mom for teaching me the finer arts of taste & cuisine). Today, he brought me roses, and I won him over with these:

Lemon cookies with a citrus glaze, light and tangy like the best romances. I know a lot of people who take almost a smugly superior pride in being not into Valentine’s Day, but I’m one of those romantic saps who still appreciates a gentleman and likes to be treated to something special from time to time.

It’s not about going to the fanciest restaurant or being doused in gifts. After over a decade of being together, Toby & I don’t need ostentatious. But I do think it’s important to show our love and appreciation for each other, have a little fun together, and do something nice to make each other happy – all year long, including Valentine’s Day. Because why not?

So tonight, we’ll take a little night safari and enjoy dinner out. We’ll tell each other about our day and maybe curl up in front of the TV briefly before bed. We’ll laugh and tickle and tease, and it will be perfect because it will be exactly just us. It will be perfect because, no matter how far or long we travel, we know this:

As my husband once said, home, for him, is wherever I am. And my home is wherever he is too.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

* Recipe for these cookies can be found here. (I made mine with lemons, rather than oranges.)

For the month of February, Bigger Picture Blogs is celebrating LOVE! Share a loved or loving moment with us – it can be anything: a poem, a memory, an ode or yearning, so long as it comes from the heart!

Bigger Picture Moments
Live. Love. Capture. Encourage.

This week we’re linking up at Brook’s!

Missing My Womens

Before I came to Thailand, I had spent about 10 years studying and working at a university in a town three hours’ drive from my family. Three hours isn’t so bad; it was just enough space that I could pop down for a visit every couple of months or so, or if I was REALLY in need of family time, I could (and did) drive down on a whim. It was also enough space that I felt what it was to not be near your family.

Of course, moving to Thailand makes that three hours distance laughable. And these are the choices and trade-offs we made: we traded in closeness to those we loved for adventure, freedom, economic security, and life challenges and the lessons they bring with them. (Sadly, one thing I’ve learned is that the best Thai food is still my mother’s.)

But there are days I miss that closeness – that ease of being able to call and not worry about the time difference; the simplicity of being able to just drive over, raid the fridge, and catch up on the family gossip over a bag of chips; and the stories of the non-main-events, the ones that kind of tell you more about what’s really going on with your loved ones than the main-event stories do.

In particular, I miss the women: mothers (in-laws included), sister, cousins that might as well be sisters, nieces, aunts. I miss their stories, banter, and wisdom. Shared memories and experience.

I wish I could shop with them, cook with them, eat with them.

Take my nieces skating…

…see their burgeoning sisterhood through alternating urges to hold on tight or egg each other on.

I missed seeing my cousin become an American citizen. Wish I could have watched him pledge his allegiance to the flag.

But we adjust.

Instead of phone calls and impromptu visits, we have Facebook and Skype. We can see their faces and still hear their laughs from time to time. And we’ve been so lucky to have such a constant stream of visitors that we haven’t had much chance to feel lonely or alone. We know that even when we don’t hear their voices, their thoughts keep us close: that when we cheer, they’re cheering along beside us. When we celebrate, they’re having a party over there too.

And that’s okay. Because love is deeper than distance. And we are very loved.

For the month of February, Bigger Picture Blogs is celebrating LOVE! Share a loved or loving moment with us – it can be anything: a poem, a memory, an ode or yearning, so long as it comes from the heart!

Bigger Picture Moments
Live. Love. Capture. Encourage. 

This week we’re linking up on the Bigger Picture Blog’s website!

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