Thursday, July 8

Cure for Homesickness

Homesick lately. I called home yesterday and got to chat with my youngest brother and sister. Sometimes homesickness sneaks up on me. Perhaps it's the passing of good ol' family holidays I miss spending with them - Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Independence Day. And attempts to make old family favorite recipes haven't worked out. [It just cooks differently down here!]

I love the adventures and challenges of my life, but I often wish I could share the day to day mundane with them too. My sister Lorry will have her first baby next month, I think about her daily. How I'd so much rather be there waiting on her rather than sending something.

But today I was shown my sisters here. I've got some wherever I go, all as different as can be but the same too.

I called a good friend this morning to see if she and I might put our heads together and get our kids out of the house having some fun. Afterall, Easton told me the other day that this is his summer vacation!

My friend lives on base in an apartment building with five other families who share her stairwell. I've often seen the women band together to get things done. It's an interesting dynamic, for better or for worse.

To make a long story short, by 11am my friend had nine kids in her care plus other neighbors' kids popping in not wanting to miss out on a gathering. That may not sound like a lot of kids, but in a three bedroom apartment on a 90 degree day, it becomes a full house pretty fast. Since I had no set plans and my boys love playing with hers, I just decided to join her party and make myself useful. Our original park plans fell through but we had a great day. Talk about a collaborative effort!

Two of the neighbor moms who had serious chores or moving details to attend to first went to work rigging up a tarp and sprinkler into a slip 'n' slide, provided balloons for a water fight and got the slip sliders under way in an orderly fashion before passing the baton to us. Sandwiches and veggies were made and sliced up for the hungry crew. The kids romped and played, reminding me of my care-free childhood summers with cousins and neighbor kids.

One of the stairwell neighbors who's husband redeployed this morning filled water balloons while her daughter joined in the fun. Witchazel and plenty of TLC were kept handy for inevitable bee stings until we retired back to the apartment for some Wii tournaments and snacks. The deployed soldier's wife took care of my friend's baby for the rest of the afternoon so my friend could have an important brainstorming meeting for the upcoming school year amid the din if happy Wii kids in her apartment.

The result:
- 4 kids got a break from their hotel life of the past two months
- 7 women helped out and were helped in one way or another
- 15+ deliriously happy and exhausted kids had a great time

I wonder if these women feel as I do that we really did some good today. They're probably so used to it, having adopted military family at each new post. But I kept thinking, if I lived by my sisters I'd have hoped to be doing the same thing today with them. I can see us all now pulling together, the sisters-in-law right in the thick of it. My mom once told me the best cure for feeling blue was to go and serve someone. How true that is, time and again!