Leaving the farm is a task. Trying to make sure all animals are contained, with sufficient food and water seems like no big deal, but for us, it always is! We headed out late, drove onto their property late, and were blessed with the greeting of heady honeysuckle as we got out of the Suburban. Their frogs made a completely different song than our peepers. I breathed in the warm, moist southern air, so happy to have created the margin to be with our friends.
Julie and I stayed up way too late, catching up, sharing stories. I felt a bit irresponsible, not selling at our own farmer's market yet, but it was good to be able to go shopping at Julie's farmer's market. We bought beets and turnips and swiss chard and broccoli. And some goat's milk soap. For supper we cooked up some of our lamb from the farm, brushed with a homemade teriyaki sauce, roasted the roots and sauteed the chard with sesame seeds, sesame oil and rice vinegar. Kids swam in the pool, played Xbox or Connex, or whatever you call those games, watched movies, ate pizza and other fun foods. We laid around and read books, visited, and basically just hung out for a day and a half. It seemed like we had always known Enat and Yabsera, which is logical since we have been praying for them almost every day for months and months.
We were spoiled rotten, especially as Brian bought Julie and me boxes of lovely chocolate covered strawberries and bananas, and gigantic mochas from Starbucks, not to mention the cognac!
It felt great to be with friends and feel their warmth and love. Holidays are still hard. Grief still hurts as we are STILL trying to find our new normal as we STILL are trying to figure out how to live without Philip. He was so sweet to me, blessing me for being the mom. The kids are a bit discombobulated, trying to know what to do without him. They are doing a terrific job. We are all a bit rough around the edges sometimes, but these kids love me, and I feel blessed. They pamper me. They make me so happy to be a mom, even when our grief and hormones and fears and exhaustion and hunger all collide.
Makes me think of my own mom, and how she modeled for me love. She and Daddy both shared their affections with us physically, with hugs and hairstroking. I think of how she would get up early to read the Bible, drink her tea and journal, praying for us girls, seeking guidance. She would let us make messes in the kitchen. She modeled for us the example of independent womanhood, pursuing a career in art, spending time traveling to take photos and to go work in her studio. She sought education, going to art workshops. Listening to tapes and videos. She modeled to me the example of a woman who knew when to take a breather, when she would leave us home with Daddy and go visit her family or friends. She also gave the example of a woman who knew how to work hard, going the extra mile when necessary and it had to be done.
When I am ready to pull out my hair because my extroverted introvert self has reached her limits, Mom tells me to give myself permission to be still and find a quiet spot. I am so glad my mom expressed her many emotions so we girls could learn to do the same. Even the slammed cabinet doors and "fiddlesticks!" helped us to learn that it was okay to feel. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sometimes a little ugly around the edges, but always with love as the undercurrent.
I needed to get away from the farm and from work for a couple of days. It is hard to do it, when tasks are looming. When I think of how much needs to be done. But my dear mom encourages me to take care of myself and the kids, and sometimes that means a break. Especially during hard patches, like holidays. Philip's birthday is coming up on Tuesday and we are all feeling raw. Thanks, Mom, for your example. For your love and prayers. For your encouragement to stop when it is time to stop. I miss you so much, and wish we were there with you today, and wish that card I bought for you last week were in the mail already! But I guess that is why we are going to all this trouble of selling the farm and moving to Texas. I love you and Daddy and am really looking forward to spending sweet holidays with you guys, sitting around the table, drinking iced tea and passing around the Sunday dinner.
Funny, but I really do think all that is related to our sweet visit with the Webb's this weekend. And now, home. With our peepers. And escapee goats. And dear Coco. And a waxing crescent moon, hanging on the horizon. And wonderful memories and a fast, fast trip that will last a long time.