My siblings and I have an interesting situation because of the fact that we are all missionaries, or at least planning on being missionaries. If Tom and I were the only family working overseas that would one thing. We would be gone for years on end without seeing my family and that would be hard. But when you calculate in the fact that my siblings’ families are, or soon will be, quite literally spread through out the WORLD, all of them on different schedules for visits to the U.S. than our family, the question of -When will we all see each other?- gets even more complicated.
When we decided to become missionaries and we knew where we would be headed, we understood the sacrifices it would entail and we were willing to make them. One of the obvious being that we would go through long periods of time with out seeing our family. Like many things in life, when you think about them it’s one way and when you face them it’s a bit different. A bit different as in, harder. So it has been with this particular sacrifice for me as I have had two children and repeatedly faced the reality that our relatives do not have the chance to know them and I have the sadness of knowing that they (and we) are missing years of each other.
The last time I had seen my sister Abby had been on her wedding day. On a day that was just about as muggy and hot as it is on our island in Papua New Guinea, Abby and Nathan had gotten married in Michigan. The wonderful wedding was ending and Abby held Jude, her dashing ring bearer, one last time. Then she and her new hubby Nathan walked through the bubble filled air and drove away as we all waved and cheered. One good-bye down. Over the next month and half we said good bye to the rest of my siblings and my parents and we were back on one of the many planes taking us back to PNG after the birth of Iris. That was in 2011!
When we found out we would be having this unexpected trip back to the U.S. for Iris’ surgery it was not amazingly great news (and nothing like our original plans) to us but we want to thank the Lord for the blessings He allowed in the midst of it, one of which was the gift of being able to see my siblings a lot sooner than we had anticipated. We would have a brief few weeks with my brother Davy before he moved to California. We would also have the chance to see my sister Chrissy, her husband Don and their precious daughter Lily (we had never met her!) for about a month, too! The only sibling missing was my sister Abby who is living in Asia Pacific with her hubby Nathan and baby Noah (another baby we had never met). Because of their ministry commitments they were not able to come join us here in the states for a little reunion. 🙁 This was super sad and it was hard to imagine that we would all be together at my parents house with out them! But this was life and we were dealing with it.
So then one evening I was making dinner and Tom was sitting at the dining room table. All of a sudden I heard my parents getting home from a trip into town and when I looked up there was my sister ABBY walking around the corner of the kitchen!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were all speechless and needless to say we were beyond surprised. My brain felt like two worlds colliding in it… like I could not possibly make this situation make sense at all. How was she here? And little Noah was in her arms! Wow, it was a wonderful surprise!
Having Abby here was really special and so was meeting her sweet baby Noah! Oh my goodness! Even when babies are young they have such unique personalities and I am so, so thrilled that I now have not only met my niece and nephew but I “know” them too! I have had the privilege of rocking my sweet little Noah to sleep and napping a little with him too. I know what foods Lily likes and doesn’t like and how she acts when she’s sick. I have been puked on by Noah and laughed at by Lily and my arms and hands have tickled and snuggled the soft squishiness of both of these precious kids! I am deeply in love with both of them and consider every minute we had together priceless memories. *sigh* This “auntie” is smitten!
Because my sisters and I have not been around each other for so long, in the time we have been apart both my sisters have had their first child. It was so neat to be together and have talks about “mommy stuff” and “marriage stuff” and of course it was a treat for me to be able to see them both being mommy’s. :’) Some other highlights of our time together included laughing together, reminiscing, watching old family video’s and being “out and about” together. One day we all went out to eat at a sandwich shop together and it felt slightly hilarious what a long train we made as all of us adults filed in carrying kids, carseats and baby’s. On our way out a woman held the door for us and I could hear her counting under her breath as each kid-let emerged, “One…two…three..four..Ok..lots of babies coming out of these doors!” Haha.
So I guess I just wanted to use this blog as a public way to thank the Lord for giving us a gift we did not anticipate, being able to see my siblings years before it might have happened otherwise. This time was not “owed” to us but God just did it anyway because He is so good and so kind. I am one thankful gal!