|For many days, everywhere I looked were piles and piles and piles of.... stuff.|
|Lucy and Sophie's first day of school at Oak (Stone has afternoon kindergarten so he started later).|
|Sophie eating one of Hilary's amazing homemade taquitos.|
|Sophie getting reacquainted with our creepy giant fish friend at Seascapes Pet Store|
|Stoney and I have lots of time together again, and the 70 degree weather entices us out to the parks almost every morning.|
-At the Church Children's activity on our first morning, before I had even seen Erik yet (I slept at a hotel with the kids; he in his car outside the 40-degree new house), I learned that several of Erik's friends had shown up early that morning to help him unload the truck. They had offered repeatedly and he had repeatedly told them no, he was going to hire some day laborers, he was fine, Saturday is a family day, stay home with your families, etc.... and they just ignored him and showed up anyway. KJ even brought his kids to help. It was more work than Erik had anticipated, and the five of them made quick work of this enormous task.
-Dropping off my kids at the church straight from the hotel, still not having seen Erik or the new house yet, I was stopped by DL in the parking lot... and asked if I would be a Sunday School teacher for the 13-14-year-olds for the year. They don't waste any time!! I laughed and loved feeling known and needed.
-As I arrived at the house to start unpacking the Himalayan-size mountain of boxes, Rachel showed up to take all our kids for the whole entire day. Hugs from Rachel and those sweet nephews made me feel like everything was going to be ok.
-As Rachel was rounding everyone up, B showed up with groceries, including homemade granola, and rolling up her sleeves to start unpacking the kitchen.
-Texts lighting up our phones constantly, "How can I help you?" "How are you doing?" "When can I take your kids?" "How are you feeling?"
-P saw my face and immediately asked "do you guys want to come over for Sunday dinner?" I might have been radiating just a touch of exhaustion. I answered, "normally I would hesitate for a minute, but I'm just going to say yes." She went all out and made an amazing meal, complete with gluten-free modifications for Erik. Yes, this is the P who just had her fifth baby.
-B texted me before Stone's first day of school and asked "do you and Stone want to come with me and Grant?" Yes we did. They picked us up (delayed slightly by KC stopping by with a "welcome back, we love you" sign and bouquet), brought flowers, and put their arms around us as we walked into Stone's new kindergarten class, introducing us to everyone along the way and showing Stone the ropes of the classroom. It was so very comforting. As I left I heard Stone walk up to a girl and say "Hi, I'm Stone, the new kid."
-H texted me repeatedly, asking if I was ok, how the kids were doing, what we needed. On our first day of school she arrived early with her girls, who threw their arms around my girls and led them, linked-armed, on a tour of the school and didn't leave their side all day. Lucy and Sophie went home with them after school, and when I showed up to pick them up, H sent me home with dinner.
-Several days later, at dinner time, everyone starving, I stopped unpacking to look into the fridge and see nothing there. Still hadn't made it to the grocery store. "I'll have to go out and get something for dinner, guys," I called exhaustedly, but before I could get to the closet for my coat, the doorbell rang. There was R, little ones in tow, standing on the dark front porch with dinner. They came in and stayed long enough to hug us all, walk through our disaster of a house, ooohing and ahhhing over what a great rental this is, ask us all about school and tell us how much they love us, warming our house with friendship.
It's now been several weeks since I wrote this - I'm so glad I wrote it down. There were so many other acts of kindness and love as we got settled, and even during some hard moments of transition we have felt known, loved and supported in this beautiful place. It's so good to be home.