Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hard to Say Good-bye

Me with my baby brother Darryl and his wife Tamera.
29 June 2014

Last Friday afternoon,  a Missouri phone number popped up on my cell phone. Since it was unidentified, I thought at first it might be one of Ryan or Shera's Missourian friends or relatives, who occasionally call my number. I was surprised to hear the voice of my sister-in-law Tamera, asking what I was doing (I didn't know she had a new cell phone).
"Just hanging out," I said.
"Why don't you come see us?" she suggested.
I laughed. "I can't afford to drive all the way to Missouri," I told her.
"We're at your dad's house," she quipped. Shocker! My dad lives just two miles from my home!

Waiting for dinner on Sunday: Darryl, Tamera, and
my dad and step-mom, Myron and Kathy.
I'm not sure why they didn't let us know they were coming, but it was awfully nice to get to spend 6 days visiting with them. They came over to visit on Friday night, and then on Sunday evening they joined us for our weekly Sunday night family dinner. We had a houseful, especially when the sister missionaries, Sister Stevens and Sister Zimmerman, stopped by and stayed awhile. Thirteen people in all!

Jacob, Danielle, Darryl, Tamera, and Chris in the foreground.

And then on Monday, both of Darryl's daughters, my nieces Brittany and Savannah, drove up from the Valley and spent 3 days with us. I was so excited to see them! They came over for a few hours on Monday with Darryl and Tamera to visit me before they all went "thrifting." 
It had been 2 years since I'd seen Brittany. She was still living in Missouri at the time, so we saw her briefly when we passsed through their state on our way to New York in July 2012.
But it had been much longer since I last saw my niece Savannah, who'd been living in the Valley with her mom and younger brother Rhett. We've exchanged letters in the past, but I can't even remember the last time I actually saw her. She was just a little thing then, with a shy smile and blonde curls. I've missed her!

Chris, Shera, Jacob, and Danielle.

On Tuesday we enjoyed having Darryl's whole crew over for Dylan's birthday party, and then last night I went to my dad's house for one last visit. Sadly, they all left this morning. Darryl and Tamera headed back home to Missouri while Brittany and Savannah turned back toward their apartment in Mesa.

Sarah, Jacob, Danielle, Darryl, and Shera in the foreground.

We know these visits must end and people must eventually return to their homes, but that doesn't make it any easier to say good-bye. I told Tamera we will definitely look into the possibility of making another trip to Branson, Missouri (like we did in 2009), followed by a stay at their home, maybe in 2016. And my nieces have promised not to be strangers, since they live only 3 hours away. Our door is always open to them!
We'll miss you, Darryl, Tamera, Brittany, and Savannah!

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