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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

California (Paradise?)

With family scattered to the winds, a month of touching base means a month of serious movement.  CA is our sixth state (and CO tomorrow will be our 7th).  This is at least our tenth place to stay in August, but I may be losing count.  If West Virginia is "Almost Heaven", and we've been showered with kindness and connection throughout our visits, California needs some special mention as well.  Scott's parents moved over a decade ago to be near his sister in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco.  It was a good move.  They live a block off the Pacific Ocean in an agricultural, coastal community of friendly neighbors, public access to the winds and cliffs and surf, flowers and breeze.  And though they are both over 80 now, they've treated us to walks and meals and a great few days.  Ruth even treated Scott to his favorite, a triple-layer homemade carrot cake.  We feel blessed.

And in this stage of life, we're trying to learn to be a blessing in some small way too.  Our siblings do the lion's share of this.  Both of our sisters lived near our parents most of their lives, and have made graceful gradual transitions from receiving grand-parent child-care help to providing moral support through doctor appointments and moves.  So it is a drop in the ocean, but we're glad to be a listening ear, or put up smoke detectors and fix doors for a few days.  It is also sweet for me to see this patient side of Scott, who was always charming with the older generation, shining in this role.
And to think about marriage and the resilience needed for challenges ahead.  I look at my mom and the way she has walked through the heartbreak of ALS and widowhood, and moved into a new state and neighborhood, new church and friends, new home and car.  I look at my mother-in-law and they way she's learned to use a computer, do all the driving and communicating, risen to the occasion in a hundred ways.  Good women to be following through life, even though we are too often far away.

So for today we're thankful to be with parents once again, breathing in the ocean air and treated to fine home-cooked meals, with walks and projects and the grace of time together.

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