Then.... Thanksgiving came. For the first time we weren't rushing to get back for me to get back to work, and since they had space in the home and it's hard for them to come visit us, we got to stay for nearly two whole weeks. I'm thankful for a husband who enjoys spending time with my family and was glad to do it!
It was so, so good. My whole family was together for Thanksgiving, and later when some siblings and spouses left to go home, we were still around half the family and got to celebrate my birthday and Judah's birthday all together. My mom even put together a party for Judah with themed decor, party games, a special cake.... all things that I totally wouldn't have done (and haven't yet done), so it was really special. We also had one night of killer Indonesian food (my brother and sister in law made amazing soto ayam) and another night of fantastic Pakistani food.
Such a special time. I long to be with family and so these are treasured days, and it was a gift for Judah to become familiar with them so that he could laugh and play and joke with them. They got to see Elly's little growing quirks. After the holiday festivities passed, I got to go out one on one with both of my sisters that are in town, and my mom. Those are beautiful, redemptive conversations.
For me as a mom, it was such a gift. I'd get up in the morning and my mom or sister would have made breakfast and someone would have tea or coffee out, and so I could sit and feed Elly without being up trying to prep food with one hand. In those moments when Judah was wild with pent up energy, someone would take him outside to the trampoline and jump with him. If Isaac was out working at a coffee shop, others could watch the kiddos while I slipped away to pump. I came home from those two weeks so renewed and energized and much more able to parent with patience.
It was cool too, because it's not an easy time of life for them right now. In fact, it's really hard. It was cool that they could give so much to me simply with their presence and love, despite the hard time. And, on the flip side, I was so glad to enter in with the joy of little kiddos.
It was also hilarious, as per usual. My parents have finally been watching through Lord of the Rings, so we were going to watch some with them but they couldn't remember if they'd finished the first movie... or maybe the second? We fast forwarded through half the second movie with an ongoing dialogue of Isaac saying things like, "Have you seen _____?" And they would ponder and not be sure, and then we'd get to it and they'd say, oh yeah, oh yeah, we've seen that. :)
My family always amazes me because... I like them. It's not just that I love them because they're family, I really like them and really enjoy time together. We are crazy and weird and scattered, but it's amazing to see. It struck me as I watched them - the choices that they make. I have a sister who is a live-in caretaker for a special needs girl, and she pours out her life. My other sister, she's working so hard and she's got the most tender heart for people and sees so far beyond the surface of things in her love for others and for God. Since returning back to the US, my parents have done what I hoped they'd do and have intentionally built relationships in the international community. So, we had a family picnic with friends from Iraq and Saudi, including a woman with a newborn. My mom was the one who went to the hospital with her, since she's far from her family and can't speak English.
They're kind of remarkable. I want to be like them. I think the older I get the more aware I am of the flaws of my parents, my family... and yet the more I am grateful for the love there, and the love and obedience to God that guides them. I'm super thankful that they're mine and that we got these two weeks with them.