life lines love lines

these days we seem to have one foot planted in the present and one aimed or already in the future, whatever it may look like. it's april, spring is here, eric is so close (and yet so far) to finishing grad school and we are on the job hunt. i fall asleep at night and during stolen 15 minute naptimes, dreaming of a little house and how i will arrange our furniture... i think about our backyard, and putting up a clothesline and whether we'll have a spot for my much longed-for hammock.

it's not that we're unhappy here... we have too much going on to not be in the here and now, with baby and church obligations, school and the like we have enough to do and pleasant people to do it with. we've been fairly blessed in the past two years with chances to grow as a couple and have i have enjoyed watching my husband turn into an excellent teacher and public speaker who cares about what he's sharing and is always taking what's challenging him and turning it into something good.

but we're so ready to settle.

since we married, i've felt like we've been on the job hunt in a sense. we have been blessed with employment no matter what, and a roof over our heads and food to eat, but it's all been with the knowledge that we're in a transitional period (again). it's taught us to look to eachother for a lot, and it's taught us to be content whatever the circumstance... but being in limbo does take it's toll on the heart.

especially when you're a new mom and you would just like to know what it's like to have a place of your own again... we are so, so blessed to be renting with mom and dad. we love the "communal" living and would not have it any other way... but even though eric and i grew up with lots of moving around and temporary living situations, we are both home-bodies that like having space to call our own. aren't we spoiled?

lately we've reminded each other of our missions kid/military brat tendencies to start detaching from our surroundings in anticipation of a move - even when we don't know where we're going next - so that it won't be as "difficult" to leave. don't get me wrong, we loved our respective growing up years and what it's given us as adults... but there are always signs that the itch for change is approaching.

i've always marveled at people who have grown up in the same town, the same county, and live their adult lives in a ten mile radius. we go out of state almost once a month at times. i've been thinking about this a lot lately because of our little bit. she is already becoming quite the road tripper with visiting family in tennessee at three weeks and great-grands and a brand new cousin in texas too. ezri has already been to five "ladies' days" at various churches in the area and heard her grandma speak three of those times.

i don't know how to do it any other way.

next year, we'll be visiting family overseas too. i can't wait. ez will probably not remember a lick of it, but she will know her entire life that when she was around a year and a half old she visited another country. i had a passport by the time i was a month old, eric doesn't know anything really about the town he was born it - it was just a stop in his dad's pilot training - but he remembers vividly so many towns and new faces and experiences... it's made us both people who are determined to relate to anyone, anywhere... to be open to new places and things, and to deeply appreciate family relationships and friendships that go beyond physical location.

some people are blessed to have relatives close by and tightly knit communities where everyone remembers your first steps and what you looked like at twelve. there are all sorts of stories and beautiful intimacies in that kind of life. lately, i have been thinking about the blessings i've had growing up with a tightly knit family and community - despite long distance.

i have memories of my nine year old self on our sunny veranda in mutare, giddily opening up care packages from my granma. real cheerios, a lego set for my brother, new episodes of star trek:tng on VHS and even a new package of underwear was exciting. these packages were not life lines to us in deepest darkest africa. africa was home. but they were love lines. the thin blue paper of air mail letters and the memories of last trips to granma's or auntie's filled our minds and we knew we were loved deeply.

we've talked a lot about where life will lead us, now that eric's the one who will be taking a job and well, we will/have to go anywhere. we've always been open to whatever that means, a lousiana bayou, a northern prairie or a high rise apartment in dubai... some people in my life recently have remarked on the importance of having grandparents near by while raising their children. i had the best of both worlds at different points in my childhood, with one set of grandparents on the mission field with us and the other set in the states but willing and able to visit us... it is a definite blessing to have family near but it not the end of the world to have them far away.

by growing up with long distance family, i learned early about goodbyes and hellos. i learned the value of real quality time with the people i love. i understood that there were people who knew me and loved me halfway around the world and that i was encircled in prayer no matter where i went. i knew that home was not a place, it was a family, and that family remained in my heart whether i was in johannesburg, south africa or abilene, texas.

ezri may have the blessing of grandparents two miles or two thousand miles away but she will always have the knowledge that she is deeply loved and will always have opportunities to listen and learn from the wisdom our parents have to give her... down the love lines.