Watching my blue-eyed boy run wild, exploring and crunching leaves along the way, my heart felt all weird inside. I couldn’t quite put a finger on it until just now. It feels like yesterday but somehow forever ago that we were here in my parents’ back yard, just the two of us. The world felt so big and I felt so incredibly small and alone. All of our dreams & big plans for the future were falling apart while Kellen was a thousand miles away. It seemed as if nothing would go our way. We tried to make it feel like the distance wasn’t real with our nightly video chats and the million pictures we mailed to Daddy. But it was so real. It was there staring me in the face with every difficult day and lonely night.
As I look back I think it could have been easier if I had let people in. I wish I would have called my friends or cried to my mom. I think there was this tiny part of me that felt like it wouldn’t be justified. That because it wasn’t a deployment I didn’t have a place to struggle. The reality is, it was the most difficult time in my life. It’s hard for me to describe the fears that come to surface when you spend so much time away from someone you love so deeply. Maybe I’m prone to worry but my mind was filled with questions of how it would change us both. I reassured myself countless times that it would only strengthen us, that our love would grow. I am glad to see that I was right. Distance does have a way of making the heart grow fonder.
The months that I felt would never end have quickly passed. Our plans had a way of mending and changing in ways we couldn’t imagine at the time. We don’t have all the answers but we don’t need to. Our Heavenly Father has a plan for us that is far greater than the one that seemed so right in our minds when we started out this journey. So here I am a year later watching the last leaves fall as the cold air settles into the valley. Only this time I feel brave.
We started the month off with Kellen’s paternity leave. He took on the role of mister mom, cooking, cleaning and playing with Dawson. I’ve never loved him more for it. Dawson, Stella and I caught colds. We spent most of one night in the hospital with Stella when her cough started sounding a little croupy. Luckily it was just the cold. Then by some miracle I got pink eye (yuck!) but it passed right on by the rest of the family. Those first couple weeks were a doozy. We were so glad to have some company when Kellen’s parents came into town. We took them up to Mt Lemmon to fish for crawdads only to discover they are hibernating this time of year. They spent most of their time snuggling Estelle, sword fighting Dawson and telling him endless stories. Jann bought Estelle the prettiest pink, sparkly dress for her first day at church.
We ended the month with some Halloween fun at the ward trunk or treat and an impromptu trip to Utah! I’m still scratching my head at how I got talked into flying on my own with a newborn and a toddler HA! They were great little travelers and it’s been a nice change of scenery. I mean, who could pass up Logan in the fall? The best part of the trip so far was surprising Kellen’s parents with my cute little trick or treater!