Monday, August 19, 2013

Reflecting and Relaxing

Bradley and Isaiah sharing a moment. <3

This past week had been one of reflection and a bit of relaxation.  Jeff and I both have been enjoying taking time just for us and spending time with our children and grandchildren.  Even with Josh far away in Washington DC, we still have face time with him via SKYPE and also on the phone.  All of our kids are starting to adjust to the big changes in their lives and are settling in nicely.  As a parent, it brings me great joy and comfort to see them tackle these big steps and to see them happy and content.

With the big changes, came big challenges. Sadly, Josh's marriage ended shortly before Isaiah was born and Jaysn and Rachel got married. It broke my heart to see my son in so much pain and needing answers to “why” so that he could move on with his life. Throughout it all though we learned some important lessons. First and foremost is that there are so many people in Josh and our lives who love and support him (and us). His friends and coworkers rallied behind him and made sure that he was ok. The timing of this, although never a good thing, came when he had friends (that we all consider family) from back home who spent some time with him while on their way to Germany. They helped him pack some things away and even rearranged his furniture so that he would have a bit of a fresh perspective and it really did help with a mind shift into a more positive place. Thank you Tiffy and Caleb! Our family also rallied around Josh and made sure to be available 24/7 for him. There will never be enough “thank yous” to express just how much we and Josh appreciate the support we all got from both sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings. Our friends, who knew what was going on, also checked on Jeff and I to make sure we were ok. We love you and appreciate you all! I don't know how people can get through something like this without a good support system. These are “defining moments” in our lives, when we learn just who is truly there for us, through thick and thin, and also about ourselves and our capacity for love and forgiveness. 
During all of this, our newest grandson Isaiah made his grand entrance into the world! He and his big brother Bradley bring such joy to us all. Spending time with them helps to just make everything else that is going on “disappear” for awhile. They are such sweet boys. Isaiah is the most cuddly baby around and I love to snuggle with him. Bradley keeps us in stitches with his keen sense of humor and antics. :) Chris and Heather are both great parents and it warms my heart to see them with their boys. Heather really should get the Mom of the Year Award. Even going on very little sleep with a newborn and a toddler in the house, she continues to be a very loving and patient mom to her very blessed little boys. Chris also started a new job as a Sheriff's Deputy with the county and has been juggling a changing schedule along with trying to adjust to having a newborn in the house. Lots of changes for their family all at once!

Then there is the start of a new family with Jaysn and Rachel getting married! They worked so hard on planning their wedding and it turned out beautifully! The both glowed with love and happiness. Jeff served as the best man for our oldest son and that was such an honor and touched Jeff's heart so deeply. Josh, who was able to take a short trip home, and Chris were groomsmen along with Jaysn's good friend David. Rachel's sister Michelle was her maid of honor and her friends Lucy, Denise and Faith served as her bridesmaids. Our hanai sons, Ben and Lee, were the ushers. We were blessed to have my parents, Jeff's parents, my brother Eric and his family, Jeff's brother and his wife, several of Rachel's aunts and uncles and cousins and some good friends (who are part of our hanai family) all join us for the special day. It was a small intimate wedding and it was made all the more special by Rachel wearing her mother's wedding dress. They are now settling into their new lives as husband and wife and enjoying that wonderful “newlywed” stage. :) We had lunch with them this past weekend and they still have that glow about them. :)

There were other major things going on as well in our lives during this time that took lots of time, energy and attention. It seems like everything hit at once and I felt pulled in so many directions. I kept picturing myself as a juggler with all these balls in the air that I had to keep from crashing to the floor. It was exhausting physically and mentally. That is why the big crash did finally come after the wedding and getting Josh sent back off to DC. It took me a good week to come out of the brain fog I was in. Jeff was also exhausted putting in long hours at work and trying to be there for all his kids, grandchildren and me and trying to get multiple projects done here at home and for and with our kids at their homes. 
So...we took the past 2 weekends off to just relax and do what we wanted to do with no set schedules. It has been wonderful! We slept in, had lunch with Jaysn and Rachel, visited with Chris, Heather and the boys and got to see Bradley's new bike that he is very proud of. Jeff finally got to see Isaiah with his eyes open! :) He has always been asleep the other times Jeff has been able to be there and hold him. We relaxed in the hot tub and had long talks, BBQed dinner and even made our first trip down to the river today where we picked some blackberries and had fun watching Caesar swim in circles around me. I have been puttering around the house and gardens for the past 2 weeks and just enjoying being home while cooking up all kinds of good food from the produce from our garden and that friends have blessed us with. There have been a few “blips” of stress from an ongoing situation, but for the most part, it has been so wonderful to just “be”.

This Summer has been one that has stretched me way beyond my comfort zone and at times I though it might break me but I learned so many things about life and about myself. As mentioned earlier, we all learned who is truly there for us through thick and thin. We can make it through anything, as long as we have our faith, family and friends. Forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to forgive and move on with our lives, regardless of what the other party has done or continues to do. Being gracious and loving is also a choice, even in difficult situations. Each new family member that joins our family just increases the love and joy that we have! We are so blessed to have added our newest daughter Rachel and our newest grandson Isaiah to our family and to still have our parents with us. I cannot even hope to explain how much they, along with the rest of our beautiful and wonderful family mean to me other than to say this...there are tears running down my cheeks as I think about each of them because I am just overwhelmed with the love I feel. 

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