Indiana: 9.5 hours after 9.5 years
You may already know from my post last week that I had one day – 9 hours actually – to see my brother and his family for the first time in almost 10 years.
To say I was excited is an understatement.
Time can be a tricky thing. When you are anticipating something, it seems to drag by, usually the last days or hours are painfully long. And then when you are in the moment it feels as though it is gone in a flash and you’ve been cheated from something.
I have felt that way many times in the past. My wedding day. Visits with friends seen so seldom. And in all honesty, I’m feeling caught right in the midst of it about the very childhood of my own children. Fortunately, last Sunday, the time with my brother was not like that at all. In fact, it almost stood still in moments here & there.
When you see someone so rarely, there can be a lot of pressure to make your time together especially wonderful & memorable. To pack in things to do, talk about everything you need & want to talk about, and, well … get some pictures in the process!
Since Taylor was born, I have been pretty good about bringing my camera everywhere I go and documenting our life in pictures. Granted, I have never created a scrapbook or album…but someday I will. I am the first to admit that I am sometimes to fault for being this way. I often fail to live in the moment for fear of losing the photo opp.
But Sunday, I just let myself enjoy the day. Sure sure, I took pictures. They are fine, and I know I missed out on a bunch of good ones – but some things can not be forgotten, even without a photo.
Are you having a heartwarming moment with me here? Avery wanted to take a picture of Rodger & me together so I let her…when I downloaded the pics, this is what I got:
Thats it y’all. Thats me & Rodger. Aren’t you glad I lived in the moment? I’m partially kidding.
Fortunately, my cousin Tammy is a pro photographer and she got a few pictures of us later in the day when we met up with a bunch of our uncles, aunts & cousins at the park! I may post those later with her permission.
What do you think Dutchmen do mid morning? That’s exactly right! Drink coffee! Our next stop after meeting up…Starbucks! We sat there a long while and caught up with each other. The kids bonded in a very curious way via some good ole’ arts & crafts.
My niece Stacy speaks a little bit of English but Joey speaks none. He will start it this year in school, but what they learn is very basic. Taylor & Joey painted a motorcycle modeling kit we had brought along for him and Stacy & Avery colored nearly a whole coloring book, side by side. Joey was running back & forth between Taylor & my brother asking him in Dutch what Taylor was saying and then he would tell him what to say back in English. He is the sweetest little boy.
I think I’ve always known it, but watching them confirmed to me that we don’t have to have all the right words for everything. And we shouldn’t be intimidated by it because smiles and laughter are a universal language. Those two were practically inseparable the rest of the day, and they didn’t understand each other at all. Isn’t it always a stronger lesson when its through your children? I was sure to remind Rodger that it was him who refused to teach me Dutch when I was a kid. “You’re 9 years old! You’re a lost cause! Too old to learn it!” he told me. I think Rosetta would disagree.
Well, Rodger & I used to love to golf. Mini-golf & big golf. We managed to find an indoor mini-golf spot where we could all go play around together. Not exactly glamorous, but we had such a great time! Lots of laughs, high fives, and hole-in-ones of course!
After golfing we headed over to a park that we used to go to a lot as kids. Many of our cousins, and aunts & uncles who live nearby came out to visit with our families. It was good to have a few hours to become reaquainted and reminisce a bit. It’s especially fun to see miniature versions of ourselves running circles around us! My uncles played baseball with the grandkids & grand-nieces/nephews, using the huge old oak trees as bases. They were all having so much fun! Even Uncle Hans who really should not have been chasing them down since his knee surgery!
Rodger and I stood there, just watching them play. My kids. His kids. Bunches of sweet cousins. The sunlight came through the canopy of the beautiful old trees. The air was full of squeals and laughter but there was a time of silence between us as we stood taking it all in. His eyes welled up with tears and I knew it by the sound of his voice as we watched them run around. “It’s never long enough. There’s never enough time.” I knew what he meant. How could one day in 10 years be enough? My kids say “thats not fair” when they pull a card they can’t play in a game. And I just shake my head. “I know…” I told him. “But this is SO GOOD, Rodger. Look at them! It’s enough because it has to be.”
All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. Avery had a terrible time with it and kept running back to Rodger and his family.
After all the anticipation of seeing them and all the scenarios that have run through my mind in the weeks and months building up to their visit…saying goodbye was not as tough as I feared it would be. Maybe its because I’d had an “enjoy the moment” day with them. Maybe because when we hugged hello and hugged goodbye, we were both too moved to cry. And we’re criers. “I love you. I’m proud of you. You have a beautiful family.” The rest remains unsaid and yet, is known and felt in the heart. You just can’t cry at the end of a wonderful day.
So my nephew Joey, who spoke no English 9 hours earlier, came to me and said, “Aunt Heather, when will you come to Holland?” I know he had to have practiced that quite a few times. And as much as I hate car travel, dislike airplanes (8 hours to Amsterdam!?), and resist the unknown … I’ve never wanted to travel more than in that precious moment.
Brian, start up a new envelope. I want to go to Holland someday. But please, lets make it less than 10 years from now!