Our visit back home to Texas was bittersweet. Sweet because we saw family and friends, because we visited Ethan's grave for the first time since the headstone was placed, and because we were long overdue for a visit back home. Bitter (actually, more like heartbreaking/sad/draining), because we had to spend our first Thanksgiving and Ethan's Eighth Birthday without him here on earth with us.
Thanksgiving was overall very nice. It was spent in Cuero, TX with Josh's grandparents, plus some of my family and some of Josh's family. I'm truly thankful to the Lord that we have such a nice family, and that we were blessed to have plenty of food. But it just wasn't the same, and the be quite honest, I dreaded going anywhere and being around people. Grief set in again...and it's not going away anytime soon. No, I'm not being a pessimist, but I'm being realistic. The holidays are truly agonizing without Ethan. His birthday was just this past Monday, November 29th. Thankfully, we were in Texas, per my husband's request. I'm grateful that Josh was insistent on being at Ethan's grave on his birthday. To be quite honest, I hope we are able to (financially and time-wise) be at his grave every year on every birthday, Lord-willing. We spent an hour or two at his grave, and celebrated with gourmet cupcakes (that were melting in the glorious 80 degree weather!), decorated around his headstone, and released 7 orange balloons. Orange was Ethan's favorite color, and we purchased 8 orange balloons, but one of them popped right before we released them. To me it was significant that one balloon popped, because we had 7 very full years with Ethan. It was a reminder that we should have had 8 years with him, and shouldn't have been at his grave celebrating but instead should have had him with us. But it was also a reminder that those 7 years were meaningful, were significant, and life isn't measured by our years but by how meaningful and full we lived those years. Ethan lived his 7 years here on earth more full and meaningful than some adults do in their entire lives. Ethan had figured out the most significant reason for life: Loving the Lord and loving others.
Anyway, back to Ethan's Birthday...it was a beautiful day! It simply couldn't have been a more beautiful day! I felt Ethan all around, and he certainly was smiling down on us through the sunbeams that emerged from the clouds. Had we been in Washington, it would have been cold, dreary, and miserable. The Lord truly blessed us on that special day, and He knew we needed to be in Texas.
Unfortunately, I didn't want to return to Washington. I'm pretty sure that none of us wanted to return back here. I really thought this was home, but it doesn't feel like home. You know, the really comfortable feeling you get once you get settled and such. Yes, we've only been here a short time, but Texas truly feels like home. I must trust in the Lord, and lean NOT on my own understanding. The Lord knows where we belong. But the waiting...it's tough.