Nine Month Ella

Scattered, but integrated.  Distant, but united. Spread wide, we stand together.

A few weeks ago, I met Jacob & Ashleigh and Ella in San Diego where we visited our Aunt and Uncle in the sunny, spectacular, soothing, Southern California.   We laughed at Ella-antics, walked the beach sharing dreams & struggles & challenges & pain & joy in conversation, rejoiced in the sunburn, and celebrated the wanderings of the past few years that creates a stronger, happier, bolder bond as family.

Fast on the heels of our Grand Canyon family reunion and then this weekend in San Diego, our familial joy has been replaced by family struggle as we remain scattered far and wide, but ache for togetherness and geographical solidarity.  While it’s awfully fun to have an excuse to hang out at the Grand Canyon and RV around the Olympic Peninsula while visiting the various family units, facing trauma as a scattered family is awful.

Both my grandmothers are currently hospitalized, both have broken a hip, both are far away. My parents are with their respective mothers, at different hospitals, in different states.

It’s times like these when I wish I didn’t have to be quite so far away.

North Carolina and Virginia are far away when it’s two different hospitals and two different surgeons and two different broken hips, but British Columbia and Arizona and Georgia are even farther away.  Phooey.  Silly adventuring souls, we are.

But the distance?  It makes me treasure the together all the more.

Kind of like I relish the sunshine because BC tends to have lots of rain.

Kind of like I enjoy snow so much because it’s rare.

Basically, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?” (A.A. Milne)

I love my family.

Especially this little nine-month-old niece.

I mean, those eyes!  That laugh!  That face!  Those toes!

Even her confuzled face is adorable!

While we struggle with the distances and wish for togetherness, I’m so grateful for photos and phones and texts and emails that keep us connected despite the many, many, many miles.

I’m thankful for my family.

And for the way that struggles bring us closer together.

And for giggles. Lots and lots of giggles.

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