Monday, October 13, 2014

(photo by Ashley C. Cameron, my cousin)

In the 2+ years that we have now lived in California, I've come to recognize the pattern of missing real fall weather - or fall weather as I grew up knowing it, along with all the fall activities that were a part of my childhood and early adulthood. Crisp fall air, changing leaf colors to brilliant reds, golds, sunny yellows, oranges and every mash-up of those in between, brightening the landscape even as the days slowly darken. Cider aplenty at the grocery store, cider mills running and greasy cinnamon sugar sprinkled donuts to go with, pumpkins ready for the picking. It's possible to not pay too much attention to the changes as they happen, to keep going through daily routines, but even the most focused person would notice if all of these things didn't happen. Just as I notice it every fall when the calendar flips from August to September to October, and still the days are hot, the air is dry, and the only thing that reminds me that fall is technically here is the addition of pumpkin spice flavor to just about any food you can think of.

this is when I most miss home - family and Michigan. I think I always have this steady undercurrent of feeling a bit out of place in California, but fall accentuates this. This past August marked the beginning of our 3rd year living here, and this past week I realized I have been in a kind of bargaining conversation with God during the whole time we have lived here. "Ok, God, I can give you 5-7 years here. I can do that. It's nice - sunny, not terribly difficult to get to for family, good new friends, great food and produce. But 5-7 years, God, do you hear me?" But the question I am afraid to face...what if He wants us here longer? Nope. 5-7 years, right God? 

I have a huge desire to be closer to family. I never really pictured raising my kids 3 time zones away from their grandparents, visiting at Christmas and once in the summer, and maybe even less as traveling becomes more expensive. I never thought, as I navigate the world of being a mom, that my own mom would be more than a car drive away, even if that car drive would take several hours. Our visits will always be planned, never spontaneous, never "hey, I have Friday off, want to get together?" or "hey, we are thinking about a date night this weekend - would you want to take the grandkids for an overnight?" I grow a little jealous of friends here whose families live nearby (which, on my worst days, feels like everyone I know but me), even if relationships with those families seem to be strained sometimes. I am having to learn dependence on friends who started off as strangers. Many of them have been generous. I am not good at being dependent.

That question, though. It is constantly there right now. And I do want to arrive at the place where, if He says He wants us to be here for 15-17 years, or 57 years, that I would not only be ok with it but joyful in it, because we will be right in the center of where He wants us to be, the best place. I'm just not there yet. Not yet home.

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