August 17, 2010

The heart grow fonder

We are home.
The Dear Montagues, who stayed in our apartment during their revisit to East Asia this summer, decorated our door for us.  They also left us toys for the kids, Jubilee in particular, and other goodies.

Our house helper (a.k.a. Angel from Heaven) put roses on the table that Andy and Erin Ashley left to us when they returned Stateside this summer.  She, our helper, also stocked our fridge with milk and juice and Coke.  She knows us well.  Our friends (Alisa, John, Anita, Jeremy, and others) kept the warm fuzzies coming, too.  Feels good to be home!

Before saying goodbye to my brothers back in Michigan, I took a good long look at the six weeks I had spent with them and realized that I know them better now than when I lived in the U.S.  The distance and years between us have brought us closer. My brother, Kody, and I talked about it and determined that siblings (except for some sisters, perhaps) who live in close proximity to one another all of their lives, might let weeks or months go by without meeting up.  They figure they have all the time in the world.  The truth is, they don't, and life passes by like a lazy afternoon until one day they are gathered at their father's funeral with their own kids and their own grandkids and they are wondering why they don't really know each other any more.

But...when you live across the world from your brothers and you have six weeks to spend with them every two years, you make the most of every minute.  I knew my brothers' schedules this summer.  I found out their future plans.  I looked them in the eyes and listened to them.  We laughed together.  I made them take me out on the fishing lake, just the three of us, and we had a time that I will never forget.  I have been back in East Asia for less than a week and I am already ready to give them each a call.

The same is true for my mom, the one who husks corn with her grandsons on a summer's eve.  She will never waste a moment that she has with them, not ever.
Not to be redundant here, but life really is but a breath.  Sometimes it takes being away to realize that all of us only ever have the day we are in.  Sometimes, as with my sister-in-law, who sits by her newborn's side at the Cardio Vascular Intensive Care Unit, the things we used to care about seem so laughable now. 

Absence (of brothers, or of all the time in the world, or of guarantees) indeed makes the heart grow fonder.

And stronger.

And wiser.

And better.