Missing Family and Treasuring the Time

It's a rainy, chilly morning here in Colorado and I wish the sun would come out. The gray clouds match the mood inside our house. Mamaw left this morning so I've had two crying kids, telling me they want her to come back. She came out for a visit and the kids have loved every minute, and I'm so thankful. But this morning, as I comforted Ashtyn while she bawled, I couldn't help thinking of myself at her age. I still remember crying every time I left my Mimi after visiting her during summer vacation or at Christmastime. I never ever wanted to leave her. Now I've got an almost-seven-year-old, sad that Mamaw left. I promised her we'll see her again, and both kids immediately ask, "When?" Then I'm in a tricky spot. We live states away from almost all of our extended family. (Thank goodness for Aunt Sara and Uncle Nemo!) So we don't see the grandparents all that often. And that's really hard. My kids love their grandparents, and I know what that's like. I loved spending time with my Mimi more than anything, and going to see my Grandma Dori was always a great adventure. And those days go by faster than we realize.

So we're sad today, missing Mamaw, but also so glad for the time we got to spend with her. When you don't see family all that often, you have to treasure the moments you do have together. You have to make the moments count.

Life takes us in different directions sometimes. Jeff and I moved out to Colorado more than a decade ago. Honestly, I never thought about living out here. I grew up in Texas and then lived in Virginia, and I guess I always assumed I'd end up somewhere near my family. But life has twists and turns and opportunities and callings, and sometimes we end up in places we never imagined. It's a good thing. There have been friends and people that we've met along the way who become like family to us. There are experiences I wouldn't trade for anything. Home is the humidity of Texas. It's good Mexican food and good barbecue. It's heat and rain and country songs. It's where my people are. Home is the greenery of Virginia. It's the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's low speed limits that make me crazy and snow days that shut down everything. It's American history and beauty. It's a Jeffersonian house where my mom and dad and Laura live. Home is the dryness of Colorado. It's mountains that take your breath away. It's rocky hills and snowfalls and evergreens. It's where my babies have all been born. It's where we became our own family. Home is people and places and tastes and memories. It's where we live and where we've been.

But there's nothing quite like family and that's the truth of it. For me, there's nothing like being with the original Brumble crew. There's nothing like the connection of the people who've known you forever and will love you unconditionally. I hope one day Ash and Linc and Lily feel the same. That there's nothing like being with the Bruce family five. This is their center. We are their home.

While we live apart from family, we do lots of Facetime and things like that. My parents and Jeff's mom are great about making the sacrifice to come out to visit. And we visit them as much as we can. It takes time and effort, but it's worth it. They make the trip out here, and that tells me how much they love us. That being part of our lives matters to them. And we visit them too. It's back and forth. We're both willing to make the sacrifice to stay connected. We value the relationship that much. I'm super thankful Gloria came out to visit. It's been a special time for our family. We'll be back with all of my family in the fall when Laura gets married. More memories. More moments that matter.

I've been thinking of my Mimi this morning. For some reason, I was remembering when she came out to Lynchburg for my graduation. She slept on a little twin bed in the guestroom of the duplex where Jeff and I lived. She came because she loved me. And I'll carry that with me forever.

Family.

I'm about to sneak a peanut butter ball that Gloria made while she was here. It's deliciousness on a Southern level, ya'll. (Which means it's really good.) And even if the kids are a bit weepy, I'm thankful. Because it means they love their Mamaw. It means they're growing up with the blessing of family.


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