Thursday, August 2, 2012

Family Fun

Last year my sister Christina and her son Sawyer came out for the full month of June while my brother-in-law Nate studied for two important tests (he is in medical school). Christina and Sawyer started their trip here in Eugene and spent a week with me and Tom. It was fun to have them here and show them around even though Sawyer was sick and then Christina caught the bug. They then spent the rest of the month at my parent's in Washington. Tom and I spent his summer break there so that we could see them again.

In December Christina let me know that she was planning on making the same trip again this year in June. Nate had three huge tests to study for this year. Once it became apparent that I was in it for the long haul with the anxiety and depression, Christina and Sawyer went straight to Washington for the month of June.

My youngest sister Brittany, who lives in Utah, made it to Washington for a week to spend with my parents, Christina and Sawyer. She just loves Sawyer! My family let me know a number of times that I was invited to come up that week. It happened to be the same week that the kids were moving, so I didn't make a commitment. I didn't know how I would be doing emotionally at that time either, so I was wary of getting their hopes up. I was also worried about making the drive up since I tire so easily.

The day after we said our final goodbyes to the kids came the moment of decision. I think that my family at that point had given up the hope of seeing me. It was Wednesday and I either had to drive up that day or I wouldn't go at all. I started to pack my things to see how it felt. Tom left for school not knowing whether I would be going or not. I knew that my family would be understanding if I didn't make it, but that they would also be sad. I felt a burst of strength and packed the car and headed out. I didn't let my family know that I was coming.

When I am driving by myself I like to blast the music. Not just to hear it but to feel it. My parents live on a gravel road and are the last house on the road. I came swinging around, and the place that I usually park was taken by Brittany's car, so I hurriedly had to make the decision to drive on the grass around her car and park. My family was confused at first who was coming up the road because they are still not used to the new car. Brittany recognized the song that I had playing, so I think she was the first one to realize that it was me. They of course came running up, and I got a lot of hugs.

My trip home was a good one. It was good to see Sawyer since I never know when I will get to see him next. Well that also goes for Brittany and Christina. Brittany and I shared a room which I loved since we grew up sharing a room. I made the trip home mostly for my family rather than for myself. I had recently become more silent, and it had been some time since my parents had seen me. I provided the proof that I was still alive and still kicking. :o)

We spent time with Kari and her mom watching "Lark Rise to Candleford". Christina hadn't seen it, and I had forgotten how fun it is to watch movies with her. She flipped at one point and ran out of the room. She then calmed down and we had to rewatch that part. :o) It brought back many memories of Christina's reactions to movies.

We took a trip to the zoo on Friday and had a lot of fun watching Sawyer's reactions. He thought the giraffe was a cow (probably because of the spots). Loved the turtles! I guess that is one of his favorite words to say. Many times he would just sit in his stroller and stare at the animal. Brittany and I made the most of our opportunity to get snow cones, and she shared hers with Sawyer. He loved it and kept wanting more. Most of the animals were active, so that was fun. By the end of the trip I think we were all ready for a nap. Sawyer fell asleep on the drive home. He was such a good sport. One thing that made us smile is that he kept grabbing at leaves. He lives in Arizona, so he isn't used to so much green vegetation.

Another highlight of my trip was an evening spent with family friends that we have known for years. Ken and Marlene are so much fun. We love playing Mexican Trains with them. They have an awesome set because it actually comes with a train station with little trains to use as markers. If someone is taking too long there is a button in the middle that you can push that makes a sound. Over the years there were the Ririe rules and then the Paine's rules. The Paine's rules were more challenging. Well their rules have evolved, so now it is more of a combo between the two. It is a game my dad will actually play. Brittany came out ahead and won the game. She rocked it!

Brittany drove back to Utah the day I returned to Eugene. She left much earlier than I did, and I was half asleep when she said her goodbye. When I left, I left my mom, my dad and Christina in tears. It is very unusual to see my dad cry. Did I cry? No. That is unusual for me. If I see someone crying and I'm feeling emotional I usually can't hold back the tears. It may seem heartless that I didn't shed any tears, but I guess I have gotten used to stuffing them way deep inside. I sometimes go into therapy telling my therapist that it is her lucky day because she is going to see me cry. I may tear up a bit, but even in circumstances where my heart is breaking I do my best to stuff it down. I'm not really sure why. The waterworks only turn on if it is just Tom and myself. I will get teary-eyed and maybe have a few tears run down my cheecks, but the heartbreaking sobs only escape in front of Tom.

I love my family. They have been a huge support to me through this trying time. My mom has sacrificed weeks to keep an eye on me, and my dad has sacrificed time without her. They have also welcomed me home even though I was not myself. My dad even stayed home from church one Sunday so that I wasn't left alone for long. My siblings have sent me encouraging texts, letters and phone messages, and I know that they have kept me in their prayers. Family has always been important to me, and that is a big part of why I picked the major I did: Marriage, Family and Human Development. And no, this is not the 'mommy' or 'Mrs.' degree. I can get quite defensive about that. :o) Now sure it has blessed my life in many ways. I'm sure I'm a better wife because of it. But it is the stepping stone to go on and eventually get a masters degree in Marriage, Family Therapy. But because of the classes I took I came to understand my own family dynamics better and my place in my family. My family is far from perfect, but we love each other. And I believe we are each trying in our own ways to become closer as we have become adults and are seperated by miles. I am thankful that Heavenly Father sent me to the family he did.















Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good time even though you were still having a hard time....I know your family loves you and so do I . Love Kari

Thomas said...

I'm glad you had so much fun with them. I know you felt that the trip was more for your sisters and your mother than it was for yourself, but I really think it was very good for you to go. Yay for family!

Anonymous said...

These were such good memories! I miss home and being with you!

and PS your photos look great! I need to learn to take photos like you do/learn how to edit them. Your post make me smile and laugh. Sawyer has changed so much even in these few short months.