Today, Rachael, Malaika and I went to pick up Corrie from a friend's home in Southern Chester County, (where I lived from about 1990-1996 ish), and it being such a beautiful day, we stretched it out a bit and also went by our old house and then over to see Melissa's new apartment in West Chester. Ben was there already, visiting with her, and we all went to have pizza together, Adam very generously picking up the check. (Just to give all the props, Rachael paid for drinks and the car wash). All the kids are so generous that way.
Chester County, Pennsylvania has some truly beautiful and often historic, idyllic sights. It was great to breathe some fresh air, and visit with some lovely people. We also got to visit some lovely kitties! Ones that need homes. I fell in love with this little guy (I think, guy).
yes, that is a tan shirt. please.
I had the thought during this day, and many others, that I am so incredibly blessed to really enjoy the company of my kids. I know many parents don't. I know I didn't as a kid. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of love, and it was expressed in various ways, but there was not the kind of closeness that I enjoy with my own.
I attribute it to many things, the topmost being the grace of God. I have written about some of our struggles, and it has not been because of any moral fortitude on my part or any of ours, but that He reached in and brought, is bringing, us along our separate and intertwined journeys home to Him.
My own life, before and after my conversion, is markedly different, yet I am completely still Kelly, just with some of the sin and disorder sorted out. Our lives from 2002 took an uphill turn, of course not straight uphill. But not many people can withstand a straight uphill climb anyways. We need the twists, turns and switchbacks, along with the rest stops to get used to the altitude.
I also have to recognize the blessings that came with our difficulties. The poverty made us thankful for what we have now. The emotional morasses we plowed/are plowing through made us humble and empathetic to others.
I remarked to Rachael how I have lost friends for 1. the turbulent years, or 2. from recovering from the turbulent years. Some didn't like that it happened at all, and some liked me better broken, I guess. But the kids have been through it all with me and had front row seating. Perspective is everything.
I have also come to see, to the degree I am able, that parenting is a process. (duh, right?) That to take a snapshot on any given day and react to just that snapshot, causes stress and sometimes, division, within a family. To remember my own long and arduous process of growing up helps a lot, seeing how God led and protected me. I am not saying we don't parent our children at all, just that it is unhelpful to demand the end product be realized in a day.
Anyways! All that. And then this.
* mountain pass photo credit: http://ontoplanbthen.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/road.jpg