Thursday, August 05, 2010

Youssef says "Good bye" to the miner and the girls adjust to Daddy being away.

The little dude that's at the doorway to the Miner newspaper. A last farewell to him...
I used to say (as we drove by coming from grocery shopping) "Wave to Daddy. This is where he works." Now I say, "This is where Daddy used to work. Now he's a long way away in Texas."
So long reporting/newspapering
... Hello new opportinitues...
This little board puzzle was how I helped the girls "see" where Daddy was and get the distance and the time. I explained how many "Backyardigans" it was from our home to his first night's stay and we called him every night. He only had two nights of a hotel. The second night though took some navigating on my part to help him aim straighter to Texas.
Texting looked a little like this--
Y- heading to NM now.
L- really? The trip tic doesn't have you going through NM at all.
Later I got him steered to a better highway, but in the torrential downpour he missed something along the way and started going toward Kansas. Overall, it was pretty good to only have a navigational problem rather than anything else go wrong!

The night before Youssef left, Lily was playing games with him and I'd explained that he was leaving the next day and would be gone for a long time. They'd played games for a while and I'd gotten Renna asleep, but when I told Lily it was time for bed, she burst into tears. She calmed down a bit when I explained that Daddy would still be here when she woke up and she'd get to spend some time with him the next morning and he'd leave at lunch time. But... she was still pretty upset and I was having a hard time keeping my own voice under control. I quickly thought of an idea. I'd already had this little princess and the frog figures for her that she'd picked out for some time during the move and I hadn't figured out when to give it to her. Well I remembered how she'd said that she thought the prince looked like Daddy and quickly told her that he would look for her special prince and princess and send it to her. (On the "daddy express mail"..) We had a few days of gearing up toward this so that when he was in Dallas he could "send" it to her. I know this made her feel (in a tangible way) that Daddy was thinking of her and didn't forget her and so forth.
She was REALLY excited to see this
Renna was excited too and dubbed the prince "Daddy Prince" or "Prince Daddy" or just "Daddy"
You can see in the picture just how excited she was to "hold" her "Daddy Prince"
For the first half hour or so they both played with the dolls. Lily drove the horse and carriage around holding Tiana and Renna sat the "Daddy Prince" in the carriage too and followed her around.

Lily played with her new toys the rest of the day and into the evening. Renna went back and forth for a bit. She also has a "Night Crawler" action figure that she calls "Daddy" too because of the costume he wore a few years ago. When Lily was Renna's age and saw a Spider-man she'd always say it was Daddy because of the costume she saw him wear back then.

My thumb is bandaged btw because I sliced my thumb nail while cutting up a watermelon. No blood from the nail, just afraid it would get caught on something and tear more. My thumb is a little tender... it was a big knife.Another little thing I've been doing to help the girls adjust besides trying to help them focus on the new house we are going to and other happy sides to the move, is having them watch this Backyardigans called "Riding the Range" and that has a song in it with the words "Texas here I come..." Renna especially likes playing with this little lego horse and cowboy because of that.
While Youssef was still on the road I took pictures of all the girls toys! Not that many left to take and I'll soon put the pictures in a little catalog for them so that they can dig through the CATALOG rather than throwing all the toys on the floor to find what they are looking for. They posed with their animals... and yes, they have plenty.

I think we'll try to keep the number to about what they have right now. If I get them anything new, I like the idea of getting them books or clothes for their dolls or something that goes WITH something they really like to play with already. Seriously, they have so many toys.

I'm still organizing things and have another pile of goodwill items to get rid of filling the back of the LandRover right now! It's incredible just how much better I feel when there's LESS junk in our house. I've been pretty ruthless about it all.. with my own stuff especially. I've even gotten rid of "project" things. Yes, it's true. I figured if I wasn't planning on doing the project for a decade I should probably let someone else enjoy it. ;]

The girls seem to be a little more clingy after Youssef left. Renna has put her head in my shoulder more when I hold her. I think she could feel the sadness around her no matter how well I was trying to hide it. After he left and we came inside she said, "Sad" and I had a little talk with her about our feelings and about Daddy leaving. Youssef and I are old hats with the long distance thing because of our engagement time and I knew it wouldn't be fun, but it's a lot easier for me to deal with on my own... it's so, so sad with the girls. Whenever Lily talks about Daddy or the toy that looks like Daddy her voice is a little shaky. And when Renna talks to Youssef on the phone at night she turns her had with her eyebrows raised and the most HUGE look of joy as she looks out the window toward the driveway and squeals "Daddy?" ... as if he's just going to drive up any minute. Moments like that are harder than anything else... those are also the moments when I can't look effected for their sake.

Overall I've been doing good so far. It was harder right before he left because everything was a "last".. but now it's into the time when I can work on things to get ready for when we are together again. The girls are a great distraction too and I'm never lacking cuddle times and affection from them.

I was having some pretty profound thoughts (at least to me) yesterday. I stayed up a little late cleaning while watching "You've Got Mail" (LOVE that movie!) and it just felt so good enjoying the quiet and the honest feeling of cleaning. Oh, tip here about mopping floors and being poor... I'm a terrible housekeeper and probably only clean the shower walls once a year... I like to clean the floors though and last night I used the old mop water/soap (that I'd just used on the floors) and dumped it into the shower and scrubbed the walls with the mop. It totally worked and was better than just throwing the water out. Okay, back to serious. So I kept thinking about why I miss Youssef.

Maybe it seems like a dumb question to many of you, but it seemed important to ask myself. You see, he does a lot of things around the house and always has. Often doing the dishes when I don't ask him to (and forgetting to take out the garbage when he's supposed to) ... he always seems so ready to help me and do things for me and make sure I'm happy.. and you know what? I don't miss that. I'd actually rather do the housework myself (sometimes it throws me off rhythm when he helps too much.) But if I don't miss so much what he DOES than what do I miss? Do I miss having someone to talk to? Do I miss having him play with the girls? These thoughts were going through my head as I cleaned and watched the show and I came to a conclusion. While I do miss him playing with the girls or talking to him... I realized that I don't miss him the most for how he listens to me (and he's a GREAT listener!) I do really miss his in sites and wise counsels, but those things can be gotten from a distance. I can write a letter and he can respond as we have done before. Then what is it? I realized that I miss his presence.

But this got me thinking about how sometimes you can be with someone and yet feel completely apart and how you can be far away from someone and feel even more connected (I know, I've had a lot of experience with "long distance") ... so, what is it now? Now that I HAVE been married and I AM used to being with Youssef every day. This separation is (of course) different from before we were married because back then we didn't even quite know what it was like to be with each other so much because we'd never had that.

What does it mean to be in someones presence? Is it just a physical proximity? This got me thinking about what it's like with our relationship with God. As the Church is waiting for the Bridegroom to finish preparing a house and come back for us.. that's essentially what I'm waiting for with Youssef. He's gone on ahead and is preparing a place for us. What does it look like to stay connected while still being apart? What does it look like for us as Christians?

How do we stay in the "presence" of God? We have his Holy Spirit with us all the time, yes? We have it REALLY good! We don't have to give sacrifices and follow every little rule to be worthy of communing with God!

I think of how I want to hear from Youssef.. not necessarily anything long, but a word here and there. Is he thinking of me? How would I know if he were? What does that look like to God and our relationship with Him? Are we NOT reading his "letters" or "texting" (=praying) because we want to "do it right"- meaning spend a LONG time doing whichever it is? What if God doesn't care about if we spend 30 minutes praying? What if it's just that constant awareness of Him. Of being in His presence... praying because we WANT to. Just like I write to Youssef (not out of obligation) because I WANT to do it. Long or short, deep or superficial.. it doesn't matter.

What I miss most is hearing Youssef talk about his day. When it all comes down to it... it wasn't what he did around the house or that he'd give me a break from the kids or anything like that. I simply miss being apart of his life. Hearing the little tidbits of things that he went through in the day or what he liked or what freaked him out... it's not WHAT he said that was so important it's in those moments when he shared himself.

There's this movie that I love, "Shall we Dance?".... Susan Surandon (I think it was) explained what love is and the quote went something like this, "We get married because we want someone to witness our lives..."

That's how I feel. I miss witnessing Youssef's life. The only way I can get that now is just what he chooses to write to me, but it's not the same as being in his presence and observing his mood and how he speaks about something.. especially when he'd first get home.

I wonder what it will be like when we move... I've always felt like he's never fit in here... like I'd taken him out of his element by him coming here to marry me, but now we'll be going to the place that HE really wants to be in. The place where I'll be completely relying on him for where to go and what to do (I don't make friends easily and haven't driven in any big cities before..) People always ask me if I'm excited about the move, and there's a lot of mixed feelings about moving. I do have a few friends there and I've been there before and sort of know what I'm getting into. I KNOW already that I'll be off balance and it will take me a few years to adjust (just because I know how I am and can guess how I'll react).. but one thing that I AM really excited about is the prospect of seeing Youssef where he wants to be... in his element, if you will. It's a way to see him more fully being who he is, and that's what I want. If we really love someone isn't that what all of us should want? I don't want him to change, unless it's to change into who he is more fully.. isn't that what God wants with us? God created us for a purpose and designed our abilities and tastes to be a certain way (so amazing) and he loves us and wants us to be more fully who he's created us to be! Yes, he's also changing us into Christ's image.. pulling us farther out of our sinfulness, but it's not so that we can be something OTHER than who we are.. it's so that we can be more fully who He's created us to be.

Such a wonderful free place... That's how I can see our marriage going as well. It seems that the longer we are married the better everything is and in many ways we can be more fully who we are with each other. I'm so much happier than I used to be... a lot of that doesn't have anything to do with Youssef though (the unhappiness or the happiness) it was just me and how I wasn't in the best place with God. I had this funny idea that Youssef was supposed to do something with me.... like have a Bible study together or something, and I wasn't being good about praying and reading on my own. I've talked some about that on a previous post though, so I won't get into it here. The point though (I suppose) is to be in that right place with God... becoming who we were created to be.. that freeing beautiful place where "It is well with my soul" and then when we are with each other anything that was an issue before doesn't matter and we can just be ourselves.

That's what I miss... I miss witnessing Youssef's life, but I'm also looking forward to a place where I can know him even more fully than I do now.