I woke up grumpy this morning. Maybe it was from lack of sleep. Pepper interrupted my beauty rest twice last night with croup attacks. Poor little man! Maybe my grumps are from 5 days without seeing the sun. I do have Seasonal Affective Disorder, after all. Maybe I'm out of sorts because my house looks like a tornado blew through. Actually, it looks like 2 tornadoes blew through. Or maybe it's PBS (Post-Birthday Syndrome). Hmm...
Whatever the case, life is looking up now. The two tornadoes that destroyed my downstairs are sound asleep in their bunkbed. Disaster relief (me with a trash bag and a vacuum cleaner) has been through the aforesaid downstairs. Now I'm all comfy on the couch. I have my favorite mix of songs playing on my iPod, and my new cinnamon spice candles are burning on the mantle (hurry up, Fall!). And I have time to process the emotions of today. I think I have put my finger on it, so bear with me while I spill. Actually, if you don't like sob stories, stop reading right now.
Let me preface this entry with a disclaimer: I'm not whining or complaining. I'm just trying to figure out why my soul is so sore today. Emotions of Emily 101.
My Auntie Maggie called me today and asked me how I am. She called me Sweetie-Honey, just like she has my whole life. And what did Sweetie-Honey do? Dissolved. Puddle. On the floor. Melted. Turned into a bawling bowl of mush. Now I was driving, so I managed to hold it together on the outside. After all, it's dangerous to drive while crying. So the tears stayed mostly in my eyes, and my voice stayed mostly intact. But in that brief moment of hearing my beloved Auntie's voice, so much like my mom's voice, I identified the source of my angst. I'm homesick and I miss my mom.
When God called us here to LifeChange, I knew there would be sacrifice. I knew I would miss my family. And God has blessed us in our sacrifice. Most of the time I'm okay. Actually, most of the time I'm great! But there are days--usually birthdays and holidays, sometimes other days--when I feel that sacrifice more than usual, and it comes in the form of pain and extreme crankiness. Auntie Maggie's voice swirled me back to California, and to the way our family has always celebrated birthdays. I can remember every birthday, all the way back to my 2nd. Yes, I really do remember my 2nd birthday. It's snapshot memories mostly, but memories nonetheless.
Birthdays were always grand affairs. I woke up each year to find all my stuffed animals and dolls arranged around my bed, holding ballons and presents. Birthday signs were always hung over my bed, each declaring my parents' words of love and affirmation. "We Love You, Emmy Doodle-Poodle-Snoodle!" "You are a precious gift from the Lord." "You are growing up so fast!" "We treasure sweet you." Breakfast was always my choice (usually doughnuts and sausage...). I never had to do chores on my birthday. On my birthday night Mom got me all dressed up, and Daddy took me out to dinner. And then there was the family birthday party with all my grandparents and cousins. And then there was the birthday party with all my friends. My mom, being the amazingly creative and hospitable person that she was, threw elaborate parties that I helped her plan and execute. The most memorable were my 8th birthday, a campout sleepover complete with campfire and hayride, and my 10th birthday, a Victorian tea for my friends and their dolls. Birthdays were just one more opportunity my parents took to show me how much they loved and valued me.
Once I hit 14, the theme party days were over, exchanged for swim parties at our house. They were much simpler, but my dad always took the time to cook a gourmet meal for my friends. On my 17th birthday, he made three different pasta dishes, all his own amazing inventions. The birthday spoiling continued until I got married. And the family parties would still be happening for me if I lived in California. Maybe that's why I'm so sore! All the family parties for my extended family members continue to happen without me. For example, my little cousin Claire is turning 5 on Saturday. All my family will gather to celebrate her day. I will be the only absent family member. *Sigh* That's part of living away, I guess.
I think that pretty much explains it. I just miss my family and the traditions that helped anchor me as a child. I miss the outpouring of love from my mom, my dad, and the rest of the family. I miss being a present part of my family's story. I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow. A good night's sleep will help. Writing down all these memories and identifying the source of my grief has helped. And when I look at the big picture, I know that I wouldn't go back, even if I could. God has us here for a reason, and I'm thankful days like this are few and far between. I love the life He has given us here in Arkansas. I think I'll spend some time this afternoon looking through scrapbooks. That will make me smile.
Hey Family in California, Washington, and Oregon! Come visit me! I'm homesick and I miss you!
Hey Friends! I miss you, too! You can also come visit me! I would love that.