Thursday, August 11, 2016

Birthday Boy

Walnut Cove NC, 1998, Caleb's party, My weren't you cute
Dear Dalton...

This will be your first birthday away from your Mama.  You're there in the USA and I'm here in NE Brazil.  I can't make you some brownies or get Papa to grill some hamburgers.  We can't host a crazy party and invite gobs of friends.  We can't go to a skate park or down to the lake to ride the jet ski.

It's all a part of being an TCK/MK.  We can grieve a little and bemoan the facts OR we can choose to have a great day.  We can enjoy some video phone calls and a few laughs.  You can visit your Granny and get a phone call from Grandaddy.  You can receive some cards in the mail (hope you got mine).  And get lots of happy birthday messages on social media.  Maybe even you'll get a gift or two and enjoy some brother time with good old William.

Some silly ideas...

Don't let the day go past unspent - do something festive, let people know at work and the gym, tell the guy at the cash register, accept some hugs and kisses from friends and strangers.

Make your own party - buy some ice cream in your own honor and tell Granny to warm up the cake oven with some hot brownies.  Go over and enjoy some quality time.

Search for your name on your mama's crazy blog and read over past posts in your honor and enjoy some old memories.

Lastly, look forward to the next time your mama and papa will be in NC when we can all go to that little Italian pizza joint in Reidsville and enjoy a goofy movie or some silly game time in the missions house afterwards.


18th birthday, 2015, Stoneville NC

Being an MK has its downsides on birthdays and holidays but hopefully our sense of love is stronger than many families as we must cherish the times together a little more as the years go by.

We love you, birthday boy!  We're glad you are doing well and can't wait to see you in person again soon enough.  Ah, I think I'll take my own advice and enjoy the day and make some brownies for tonight!

Your Mama

Monday, August 8, 2016

The New Norm


Some time around the spring of 2016 our lives took on a new swing.  It was a quieter, less chaotic, smoother thing.  There was no more island camp wearing us out with weekend after weekend retreat.  There was no more hurrying off to catch the bus to town for my ESL teaching job which also wore me out.  There was only one boy.  William and Dalton are both in the States now working, studying and living.  And all of a sudden, it didn't seem so odd - the quiet.  It was just new.  I didn't miss the craziness of our retreat schedule.  I did miss my two stateside boys but I was worrying over them day and night any more.  I didn't miss the bus rides one bit.

 
Now I should define the word "quiet" a little better.  It doesn't really mean silence, just the lack of busyness with three boys running in and out and here and there.  It means a little less laundry, a little fewer dishes in the sink, and a little less housework and some actually quiet.  We tend to go to bed a little earlier.  We stick to a basic routine.  But there is quite a bit of noise actually between the recorders of all sizes, the flute, the clarinet, the violin, the guitar, the piano keyboard, the ocarinas and occasionally a harmonica.  Yeah, it can be noisy - but there's a certain peace about it all.

You see, for the longest time after we came back to Brazil minus Dalton and then William went to the States - I felt a sort of culture shock, trauma, grief.  We'd faced some rough battles as a family and made some tough decisions in staying in Brazil after the sale of the island camp.  With two of our boys in the USA, I felt a certain emptiness.   Dalton had been through some hard problems, was doing well, but I still worried every minute of every day.  William had decided to leave to study, and I wondered about his decisions.  I wondered if they had enough food, money, safety.  You name it.  Life felt very topsy-turvy.  Nonetheless we had topped the hill out of he valley of the worst of dark days.  We had come down the twisty-curvy mountain road, and were getting back on to a smooth path...



One day I woke up and didn't feel gloomy or tired.  I had worked really hard all through the crazy times to stay above the tide of depression but I wasn't always successful or entirely content.  Some time this spring I found myself able to smile for no good reason and started to see a brighter future for the journey ahead.  None of my problems or worries had really gone away, but they didn't seem so overwhelming anymore.  It was like I had simply arrived at that crossroads of decision and had decided to be happy again and it stuck.

I'm thankful for a heavenly Father who brought me through a long haul and into a new, sort of quiet, peaceful spot.  I don't know what the immediate or long term future holds but I can be satisfied and peaceful for each day in the mean time.  

Oh, I still wonder a little around lunch time about what my stateside boys might or might not be eating each day! 



  In peace I will lie down and sleep, 
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Matando Saudades

Google translated:  "kill miss" "kill longings" "kill homesickness"


This month, Byron and I had the opportunity to "matar some saudades."  Yes, that's an English word in the middle of a Brazilian phrase.  We do that a lot in our every day conversation around the house.  It's Expat/MK/TCK talk.  Things that are more beautiful or easily understood in one language get thrown into our English chats.  There just isn't a word in English just like "saudades."  So, it's often added to the English-Portuguese mix of our speech.  The actual definition of the word in Portuguese just seems to go beyond a feeling of homesickness or some silly longing.  It's the whole gambit of missing loved ones and wishing for another place and time.   

Boating on the lake like old times
 
Our oldest, William, came down from the States this past month and stayed for five weeks.  He was able to "matar a lot of saudades" while here.  He saw old friends, visited old haunts, ate his favorite foods, and drove on his old trails.  His girlfriend, Kerri, got to see up close and personal what that longing for another place is all about in the life of any TCK {third culture kid}.  She may have even been able to share in a little of the sadness of saying good-bye to loved things, people and places as she got to know and care some herself.

Visiting old haunts - Colina do Horto, Juazeiro do Norte
 Along the wild ride touring sites and what not, Byron and I were able to "matar some saudades" as well.  In Fortaleza we got to walk by the old house we bought on Rua Santa Const├óncia.  We knocked on the doors of some old neighbors and enjoyed some catching up time and hugs.  We walked through my favorite grocery store and made a few purchases.  We had lunch with friends and went to our old church.

Rua Santa Constância, 94, Fortaleza CE

Sometimes revisiting old memories can be traumatic and difficult. I was a little overwhelmed as we walked down our old street and stood in front of our old house to pose for this picture.  My heart longed for our middle son to be there, too.  But was thankful that he is doing well albeit was not there to share the moment being in the USA.

Treasure Island visit - July 18, 2016
One place I was especially not longing to "matar any saudades" was on the island.  I had repeatedly said and thought to myself that I didn't want to go back and had no desire to see it again.  My memories were fine left just where I had left them - in the refuges of my mind.  I was afraid.

Ah, but dear old William wanted to go so badly.  I gave in and decided to open my heart and mind and clear the cobwebs out and jump on the band wagon.  Off we went.  We didn't really have enough time.  The gang would loved to have spent the night but it wasn't very feasible.  We did enjoy a lovely day.  We toured the main camp, commented on some changes.  William, Kerri, Papa and Greyson hiked to the far end of the island to look for crystals.  William was hoping to find a place where our boys and the Vieira girls had buried a "treasure." Time ran out and that memory was left for another opportunity.


 
I can be thankful for this past month for the many good moments to add new "saudades to my list.  Last night, Byron commented that it was sad to pass by the office/guest room and not see Kerri sleeping in her bed.  And it seems the room has a new name now - Kerri's room.  Come back soon, Kerri - we need to make some more memories and "matar some new saudades." 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Goofing Off

Yes, sometimes missionaries just goof off.  Or, perhaps we should be more formal and say - they take a mental health day!  
 Here are some photos of an afternoon at the lake 
with our guests this month...



 
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