California Dreamin’

How many blog posts do you think have that title? My guess is quite a few.

Well, I had a fabulous trip to California. My time with Doris (as discussed below) was precious and too rare. The funeral was bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter, with good memories and many old and dear friends like Di and Megan. I got to sing with my dear friend Michele, whose daughter Addy was with Ben in those wonderful three years with Nancy as a primary teacher.

We played a lot, did Chuck E Cheese with sweet Shauna, saw Tasha and Yuka’s beautiful new (and both long awaited for) little baby girls. I smelled the ocean air from the Getty hilltop, I gazed up at the Pasadena mountains from the park bench at Lacy Park, I smelled the oranges in the groves at the Arboretum. I ate yummy cottage cheese pancakes with my good friends the Chamberlains on a sunny Sunday morning. I enjoyed the company of my bro and sis in law in Vegas while driving to and fro.

In my mind I saw a 2-year old Ben swinging at Hamilton Park as I watched my big 10-year old sat swinging intently in the same swing in just the same way. I drove by the house where Noah was born, by the hospital where Sophie and Eden were born, by the townhouse we brought the tiny 5-lb Lucy home to and by the one home I ever owned. I was taught yet another major life lesson by Patti Jones–not the first time, hopefully not the last.

At 37, a third of my life was spent in SoCal, and probably two thirds of my life’s lessons thus far. Time and place hold such significance for us nostalgic types. At the same time, I am very aware of how hard it was to live there on many levels, and a brief visit in the glory of January is not an accurate picture of things. I did have moments on this visit where I thought, “This is the place of my undoing”–there were some ridiculously difficult times. Still, I just hold a lot of room in my heart for the people and places down there.

Now I’m home, and working full time this week to make up the lost hours. I am lucky to have a good job that I enjoy and people I enjoy working with, and most of the work I don’t mind so much either. But I do feel an increasing pull back home and see things in my family that make it clear this can’t go on forever.

I went to the temple last night because I was feeling a little bummed. Although I was exhausted from the trip and could hardly stay awake I still had a distinct impression that I was to lift up my head and rejoice and love the Lord for all He’s done for me. I feel God is working in me to help make changes I’ve been unable to make on my own, and I feel a quieter, more peaceful feeling than I’ve felt in a long time.

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