I’ve had a lot of firsts in the last couple of weeks. First time I traveled 1000 miles away from my home. First time I stayed in a home of practical strangers. First time I’ve traveled through Indiana, Illinois and quite by accident, Michigan. First time I’ve ever been in Iowa. First time I hugged my youngest daughter in almost two years. There’s quite a few more firsts I’ve experienced but it’s too many to relate.
There was a time I never would have done any of these things. This is what love will enable you to do. Love will make you travel as far as you need to go to be with the one you love. Love will help you cope with new surroundings, new people, new ways of doing things.
Here are a few things I did on my trip. I visited the Amana colonies. I walked a gravel road to a deer farm. I fed two very sweet alpacas. I waited up nights for a raccoon to show at the back door. I prepared many dinners with my daughter. I watched the Babadook on Netflix. Don’t bother doing that. It’s not worth it. I visited a beautiful park with waterfalls that looked nothing like Iowa. I traveled with two of my favorite people. I shared my life with people I didn’t know. I won a game of Uno, played against a master Uno player.
If ever God orchestrated anything, I know God orchestrated my trip. He allowed a person to enter my life who grew up in Iowa, who just happened to be going to Iowa at the time when my daughter moved to Iowa. What are the odds of my oldest Pennsylvania daughter meeting the son of an Iowa girl while my youngest Pennsylvania daughter met an Iowa boy? God is so good even when you think everything is bad. He will always make a way.
This will be my last blog post for a little while. I think what I’m doing is called vacation but as I’ve never done anything like this before, I’m not sure. I’ve never traveled 1000 miles away. I’ve never been past my surrounding states. I never stayed with people I barely know. And I’ve hardly ever went anywhere without my husband. The last place I went without him was three years ago to a ladies retreat. This is all way out of my comfort zones.
But I am going to do it. I am going to see my daughter. There have been a lot of changes in her life. There have been a lot of changes in my life. I am naturally apprehensive. Seeing her to me right now seems like I will be seeing a different person. She will no longer be this little girl I once played Littlest Pet Shop with and watched Disney movies together while eating microwave popcorn. She won’t be the same girl that journeyed all the way to the top of Turkey Hill Trail with me and then joked about the creepy people that we found there when we arrived. She won’t even be the same girl that I watched proudly graduate from Charter School all the while knowing we’d be separating in just a few short weeks.
She is a new independent girl now. She journeyed far from home and started a new life, much different from the life she lived with me. She acquired new habits and tastes. She wears different clothes, has different colored hair and make up and she has somebody else as the center of her heart. But do you know what? I don’t care about any of that. She is my daughter and I love her. Distance, after all, is just miles to be bridged.
They say when you get older, your memory fails. But I’m not finding that to be true. I may forget unimportant stuff like where I left my purse or my keys, but the most crucial events of my life are planted forever in my brain, and in fact, are becoming more substantial and poignant as time flies by.
For instance, I remember vividly when each of my children were born. I remember the surprise I felt when I fell head over heels in love with my firstborn. I didn’t expect it. I never liked babies much. But when I held her in my arms, I never wanted to let her go. She was the reason for my existence all of a sudden. Then my son was born. We like to joke and say he was an ugly baby. He was all red and hairy. He even had hair on his back, but he quickly grew into one of the most handsome men I know. His compassion and sense of humor has always brightened every day of my life. And then there was my youngest child. Words fail to describe how much I loved her and still love her. The ache in my heart became a hole when she left to live 1000 miles away.
Why am I so nostalgic all of a sudden? Two reasons. We are celebrating my oldest daughter’s birthday this weekend. I am so blessed to have her in my life. Especially since the birth of my grandson, we have grown closer. Miles has fulfilled his name and took those miles that separated us, not physical miles but maybe some emotional ones, and tied our hearts together so tight, I hope they never unravel.
The other reason is in one week I’m going to be going on a journey. It’s been long overdue. I’m going to finally hold my youngest daughter in my arms. I’m going to see her face to face. I haven’t seen her in a year and a half. That’s a lot for someone I spent practically every waking moment with prior to that time since the day she was born. After not seeing her for so long, seeing her again will be almost surreal. I wouldn’t be able to go on this trip except that an angel volunteered to take me to see her. She says I am doing her a favor so she has company on the trip as she is going to her daughter’s wedding, but I know she is doing this because she is such a caring person, and I am grateful that she has made this extraordinary offer. She will never know what it means to me.
This is where I thank God for his blessings. Being able to see my daughter again. Being blessed with three beautiful children and one handsome grandson. And having friends who are willing to go way beyond what I could possibly hope so my heart’s desire could be fulfilled. The Bible says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” My heart has been ailing for a long time. There were times in my life when I couldn’t see my way out of the darkness. But there is no darkness that God can’t shine His light through.