The Best Move

I’m fairly certain that spring will forevermore be a harbinger of emotional anniversaries for our family. It’s hard to imagine a time when I won’t associate warmer, longer days with the sad, scary events of last year. But, spring is also the time of year when our family took a huge leap of faith, when we shuffled our lives around once again in search of the ideal spot for the five of us to flourish.

Last week marked the one year anniversary of our move away from Richmond, back to Northern Virginia. With the death of Bob’s father less than two weeks after our arrival here and Bob’s stroke only two months after that, the memories of those awful events get all tangled up and intertwined with my memories of our initial time in this house. It’s hard to recall the joy and the excitement of our relocation since it is impossible to extricate it from such tragic circumstances.

However, as the weather warms a little more each day, as the windows get cracked, the thermostat dialed down, as the light shines later and winter retreats, I am once again completely enamored by our home. There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel incredibly blessed and grateful that we were brought to this exact spot, even if the events that immediately followed were so very difficult.

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We still haven’t painted more than one room. We still haven’t hung any curtains. We still haven’t organized our closets. We still haven’t unpacked the last of the moving boxes. We still haven’t figured out what that one thing that’s beeping on the furnace means.

What we have done is settle in. We’ve made some amazing new friends. We’ve discovered a school community of caring, committed families. We’ve found the warm fellowship of a church home. We’ve hiked, we’ve biked, we’ve fished, we’ve spent so much time out of doors. We’ve huddled by the fire and absorbed the scenery. We’ve appreciated every day, especially in light of all that has occurred over the past twelve months.

One year in, we still completely, wholeheartedly love it here.

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Super Sisters

The kids and I drove my sister to the airport on Monday so she could fly home to Louisville after a five day visit. We started missing her before we even dropped her off. She visits Virginia twice a year and we visit Kentucky twice a year and sometimes we meet in between and always it is never enough.

We have a joyful time when we get together. The laughter and conversation is effortless.

My sister and I look alike, laugh alike and talk alike. We used to confuse my kids greatly, for when they were just babies, they seemed to be unable to tell us apart. Their look of bewilderment when my sister would cradle them wondering, is she… or isn’t she?

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My sister, Janet, and a brand new baby Millie.

I’m blessed with two sisters. One, I get to see often. One, I get to talk with often. They are both very precious to me.

I have a brother as well and he is amazing but he’s not exactly the first person I considered dialing up when I was having a terrible time getting Henry to latch as a nursing newborn. I called my sisters instead. (Although, my brother and his lovely wife have five children so, perhaps I shouldn’t have considered that avenue a dead end. He might have had some good advice.)

My point is, the relationship between sisters is special. I feel a deep connection to my sisters; an unbreakable bond. My sisters are a safety net of support and familiarity to me. That connection is one that Millie will never know and every time I get together or have a long conversation with one of my sisters, I mourn that fact a little.

If there were anything that could convince me to have a fourth child (and there are very, very few things that could convince me to have a fourth child like, probably, only a need for a bone marrow match or something at this point), it would be the hope of giving Millie a sister. Of hopefully securing for her the same type of relationship that I share with my sisters. Which is preposterous, I realize. Families come in all shapes and sizes and brothers can be like sisters and sisters can be like brothers and some siblings don’t even have siblings and I just need to get over it.

Still, I can’t help but think she’s going to be missing out on this big life thing; this wonderful dynamic; this relationship that I share with my sisters that she’ll never have.

So, here’s what I need you to do, my sister-less lady friends. Tell me your stories. Tell me about your sister that you have but you totally hate and disowned years ago. Or, your mom that is your best friend and seems like a sister. Tell me about your brother that’s beyond awesome and helped you write your birth plan. Or, your cousin that’s you’ve grown up with side by side that taught you how to do your makeup.

I need to be reassured that Millie has options. Since I’m kind of stuck on this sister thing. Because my sisters are pretty much the best.