As Robert Burns so perfectly worded it, ‘The best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry’. I’m not sure why mice are laying schemes, but making plans is pretty normal for us humans…and yes, they often go awry or just fall apart, or change. Things change, events transpire that were not expected, as the other saying goes – Life happens. And often, life happens quickly, with very little warning. Or so it can seem on the outside. My last update was written not many days after we’d returned to Hungary after our summer in the US, about two weeks later we’d get an email that would alter our plans and a couple weeks after that email I’d be back on a plane heading once more for the Colorado we’d just said goodbye to, this time for two months. I head home to Hungary next week; I’m almost counting down the hours to the end of my longest time away from Norbert since we met. And the news in that email, that ‘life’ that sort of happened and altered our schemes? Her name is Aubrieanne, and she’s my brand new granddaughter.
There was a lot we didn’t know when I bought those plane tickets for mid-September to mid-November, (giving me a month on both sides of the due date) and still more our oldest son Josiah and the baby’s mother Kyra will need to figure out. Baby Aubrieanne arrived almost a week early on October 12th, both her and mother are doing well. Josiah wants Aubrieanne with her mom full time as an infant, he visits right now always three days a week with an optional 4th day, when she’s six months old they’ll re-evaluate the visiting schedule. Josiah was hired on full time with Comcast, instead of a contractor, just a week before the birth, God’s provision was evidently clear. Right now he plans to stay nearby his daughter and not move with us to California this summer – another of those mice plans. Most of what we didn’t know initially involved Josiah and his coming daughter, but there was another aspect to my two months’ solo time in Colorado that we were certain about – it was not just a trip to be here for Josiah, it was also a trip for me to take care of me. And as I prepare to head back to Budapest I can say that it’s been a productive visit on both counts.
Colorado seemed in accord with my needs, and God truly blessed me with beautiful and perfect fall weather for my whole stay – even unseasonably warm, but with the plethora of sunshine locals come to expect. Two months and three cloudy days, yes please. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time in our backyard – pleasantly not doing much yard work at all, but just sitting and enjoying, something our summer time here was hugely lacking. I also began my time back with a first for me: bi-weekly visits with a counselor, a licensed clinical social worker to be exact. And even though I had two months stretching out before me, I really didn’t contact too many friends or associates. I kept it as appointment free and simple as I could for the first month – the first couple weeks were still full of meetings surrounding Josiah’s news and baby Aubrieanne coming, but beyond that, I was sort of off the grid, and it was much, much needed. This fall is the five-year anniversary of our move back to Hungary in 2011, five years that have been emotionally hard on so many levels. This last year saw more emotional events piling onto my already emotionally drained self, and well, I reached my limit this summer. We’d actually just decided I was going to see a professional counselor in Budapest, and had contacted someone just the day before we received Josiah’s email. So when it seemed I’d be back in the US for two solid months on my own without a lot to actually DO but wait and be ready for a coming baby, we saw God’s hand in all the timing and knew the trip was for me as well.
I marvel at the gentleness of our God, who knew I would never have sought out time like this, away from any real responsibilities and busyness, leaving family and any daily-life distractions thousands of miles away. And yes, there has been the emotions and some drama surrounding my first grandchild arriving not in a manner expected or ideal. Yet over it all has been an undeniable sense of Peace, enabling me to really Rest. And in that time of rest, with a counselor’s help, I’ve been able to process through, grieve, ponder and deal with the many issues that had been overwhelming me. It has been weeks of daily walks and quiet times on our back patio, with only the rustling leaves and the faithful dog Ahsoka as company (seriously, I may be living in a house of four young men, but with their work and college schedules I can go days without seeing any of them!). I was a mess when I arrived, not able to go more than a few hours a day without weeping, definitely dealing with some depression, as well as the still tender mourning for my friend Marilyn, on top of the years’ worth of stress from living overseas, dealing with our kids’ emotional and health scares, some family tension and misunderstandings made worse by long distance plus the coming empty-nest emotions and fears. My first weeks got worse before it got better, as I shared and cried my way through our sessions, did some journaling ‘assignments’ and basically pulled the scabs off some old wounds. I did most of the talking, as two of my best friends who are also counselors said I would, but by week three some real epiphany and ah-hah moments, along with real healing, had happened. Again, God’s timing was perfect, and gentle. I had my best week in possibly years just before Aubrieanne arrived and life got a bit busy and crazy for a few days, as well as wonderful.
Josiah was able to have two weeks off work for Aubrieanne’s birth, and while the intention was obviously to give him special time with his new daughter – the situation meant he was not with her as often as might have otherwise happened, and so, I was blessed by some quality and quantity time with my first born who has lived across an ocean from us for three years now. In fact, I have reveled in that aspect of this trip all along as well. The time with Josiah has been precious and meaningful. And I stand in awe at God’s timing over so many tiny details these past two months. Kyra was understandably scared about her pregnancy, and hid it from basically everyone, including Josiah, for seven months. So many things felt like initial shocks and upsets to those plans and schemes of ours, and those pesky mice, and yet looking back, God had it all in His hands, He was never surprised, and He began right away to turn something scary and uncertain into something beautiful – and not just our beautiful Aubrieanne, but a return of my own Peace and Joy. I can only look ahead, to our future schemes, with greater Hope and Expectation. Awry or not, God is in control, and in that, I can always Trust.