But back to today and the last couple of weeks...
It's always such a relief and respite to get to the temple. I love being a worker there, and serving the patrons to help them deepen their connections with both family and Heavenly Father.
There was the National Arboretum with Corinne. Wow, was that a fun day! I'll put up a few pics of my own, but her post is here. It worked out perfectly to spend the morning with her, then she was kind enough to drop me off in Alexandria so Eric and I could metro over to Reagan National Airport and catch our flight to Utah.
Utah! Eric and I on a trip together! Graduation! This trip was lovely. April 20-25, 2016. I got to see all of my people except Evan, and even my mom and dad were able to come up for the festivities. Sam and Madison both graduated with their Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, respectively, and Jeff finished his Masters in Mechanical Engineering. There were caps and gowns and photos. There was a celebratory dinner at Carrabas. There were Kolaches. There was a wonderful Sunday afternoon with Baked French Toast. I have to get my daughter-in-law's recipe for that because it was perfect. There was much of snuggling with the new baby and enjoying the two-year old. It was 5 days of being reminded yet again that my kids are amazing people. I've struggled so much in recent years to remember the good times of mothering. I've had moments when all I could remember were my perceived failures. But, in all rationality, there's no way I could have failed utterly, because these people I raised really are good. They work hard and love each other, and since those are things that matter to me, it's sweet to know the same things matter to them.
It was a trip full of small moments, like enjoying sitting next to Eric on the plane and holding his hand, and finding the faces of the graduates in the giant crowd and managing to get a picture. It was seeing Ashlyn's family, our first in-laws, whom we love so much. I even got to take some family photos for them before Ash's sister heads out on a mission. I want to remember seeing my mom's new crop of hair and how astonishing it is that her 72-year old body can recover from all she's been through. I want to remember the freedom and magic of a 2 year old loose on a playground with her parents, grammy, aunties and uncles all around to catch her, laugh with her, push her on a swing, and slide down the slide. I love watching my kids love their little nieces.
Upon our return, it was good to see Lisa and the boys. There are still rough moments, but I'm getting better about navigating my shared home. And Lisa's boys are so open and loving, that tends to smooth over some of the other adjustments. Tomorrow she takes an important test, and this morning, we started learning to drive a manual transmission. She did really well with her first lesson, and I hope I can get her over the hump. She bought a great car, but it's a stick and she needs to conquer it. I suppose if she doesn't, we can buy it from her for Sara (since she was in an accident a little while back and is carless) and Lisa can find another car, but I hope she'll find her confidence.
I've spent lovely time with Felicity. Our ease with one another is such a treasure to me. It's as good as having a sister 500 yards away. I'm not even sure it's that far, but I love it. I always feel lifted after laughing with her and processing every day life.
I got to spend a day with the twins, which is always a good day in my book. There was the walking to school, and the traditional Chick-fil-A lunch, and the laughing and playing and the simple, deep joy I feel when they are so comfy with me. For a brief minute, Mo didn't want me to leave when his fabulous Auntie Jo came to look after them for the evening, and the way he leaned his little head against my leg was dear to me.
These connections, and many others, are so vital to me right now. I haven't even written about my hilarious snapchat life with Kimberly, but someday I will. I've always been the weak link when it comes to friendships, as I'm not always an initiator, nor am I good about maintaining, but whenever I do put forth the effort to do those things--to just call or text or write--the outcome is always good. I told one friend how self-conscious I became when our contact lapsed. It was hard to reconnect because I was embarrassed. She insisted it was always good to hear from me, and if it was after a long time, she found it a lovely surprise, like finding a blooming rose in November. It's never a bad thing to hear from a friend, she said, and I realized it was true.