I have to stop right now and jot down a couple thoughts/feelings/memories/blessings for myself to remember for forever and always.
Just over two years ago my brother, his wife, and their three children left to finalize training before going overseas in aviation missions. As I have mentioned before we are a close family, this was a hard adjustment for all of us, even though we knew it was coming for several years. When they left we didn’t know when they would be back home. How different would life be when they came home and what would the kids be like? I posted almost exactly two years ago as we were staring all the changes in the face. The kids were 12, 9, 7, 6, and 5.
Well, last night my other brother & I got to be the ones to drive into Anchorage to pick them up! They are here. They are finally home. It has been two years and they are now home for three months. The kids are not the same, but they are. Of course, everyone is now two years older; the kids are now 14, 11, 9, 8, 7, and now Matt’s little one who is – 18 months. Four girls and two boys. Oh how the house is full again – dolls, drawing, legos, swords, flying helicopters, and snow clothes everywhere….It’s wonderful!
Now, the basis for my leaky eyes today…Tov.
Tov & I taken at San Diego Zoo, after not seeing them for 6 weeks.
We spent a week with them, then we headed back to Alaska, and it has been nearly two years.
Tov was 5 when they left, he was my snuggle buddy, I have grieved he wouldn’t be the same and braced myself that he would now be 7. A big boy, not wanting to snuggle with his Auntie April. I determined I would not for anything in the world try to push, I didn’t want to be “that” aunt. I have never had “that aunt” – you know the who was old, scary, and wanted a hug, but I have read enough books to know I didn’t want to be that person. Well, as Matt & I waited for them to come thru security we were talking about the awkward time when we can see each other but can’t go to each other. You know when they are walking out of the secured area and we can’t go into the secured area, everyone else is sitting there on the benches waiting for their own loved ones. So, here they were coming at last. We have waited for two years for this day and we’ve had an exact date for several months. I was really afraid I’d see them and burst into tears (thankfully, I didn’t). As they walked out of security last night, Tov looked at me and waved. I waved back, with my heart in my throat, aching to hug him. He smiled, opened his arms and quickly walked to me – giving me a big, long hug. Right there, in front of everyone. It was wonderful, even at the ripe old age of 7 he wasn’t too old to hug his auntie! After we had the luggage and were all loaded into the suburban, I was in one seat and he was in the seat behind me – he held my hand all the way home! My arm and hand fell totally asleep, when I let go he took my hand with both of his and continued to hold on. He even grabbed my whole arm and hugged it like he used to. Now, this morning he has been all over the house checking out what is different and where things are now. His favorite toy when he used to come visit was a child’s ironing board and iron that made “ironing noises”. They were Christine’s. She’s never liked it as much as he has. I almost sent it to him last year for Christmas thinking he’d never care when he did come home; then I almost gave it to a friend, but didn’t. He asked for it this morning. He remembered it and wanted to play with it. Oh, it was so worth it to hang onto that iron and ironing board. He was so happy to see it, now Ali, who is 18 months, has never seen it. She followed him from one end of mom’s house to the other end of my house. Tov just kept picking it up and taking it with him. :-) Then, to top all of this off. He was trying to tell mom what she should make for lunch. He came and asked me for a piece of paper so he could “make Bumma a recipe”. He drew a picture. A picture of what I used to always make him for lunch when he would come to our house: macaroni-n-cheese with hot dogs cut up, and peas in it. Oh, he remembers us for real, not just Vince & Christine, and not just from our conversations on Skype. He has lived in several homes, in three states, and a couple countries in his short 7 years – but he remembers my house. We haven’t actually snuggled yet, but he hasn’t been still for more than 30 seconds yet either :-). My heart is full. Full of wonderful.
Thank you so much Heavenly Father, for giving my little snuggle buddy his memories. That he hasn’t gotten too old in his life experiences. Thank you for your protection over our family as we’ve been separated in different countries. Thank you for the love in our family. Thank you for uniting us in You, through Your Son. Thank you that we have been given more time together. Thank you for providing the winter wonderland, the dreamy weather, for their homecoming.