Well everyone, this is it. 27.3 weeks since I left home, I am posting my last Blond Girl Update. What started as a 4.5 month journey last July (when it was HOT! Remember heat?!?!) will come to an end this Thursday when Sweet Girl and I fly home back to Champs. I will set up my office and my remote system on Friday and then start working from home on Tuesday, January 22. While we've been here, Sweet Girl has been doing her school studies with the help of her Grandma and her aunt - both of whom have been irreplaceable to me these last few months.
For six months now, I've enjoyed the company of my family and I've also had the chance to spend so much quality time with my good friends here in Minnesota. Sweet Girl has enjoyed her time with friends, too - especially her best friend, Snow White. All those visits were precious to me - and my thanks go out to everyone here who made my time away from home bearable and even fun. But I'm sure you will all understand when I say (in the words of the genie in "Alladin") "Iiiiii'mmmmm Ouuuttta here!". I will miss my family and friends here, but I am so glad to be going home! Once there, I will have to work hard to show my appreciation for our family there who so willingly helped Champs with his role as "single daddy" from August through January. Honestly, where would we be without grandmas and aunts? I am floored by every one's helpfulness and investment on our part to make my training successful and help me get back home to start my job.
I can't begin to tell you how excited I am. The anticipation of being so close to the fruition of our goal is nearly indescribable. What? You want me to try? Naw... no, really? OK. Twist my arm. Here goes:
Remember that feeling when you were a kid and your parents told you that if you helped them with the yard work, you would get a treat later on? So you worked in the sun all day - mowing the lawn, hauling brush away, watering flowers, dodging bees... Finally, when the sun had past its zenith, you and the family crammed into the car to head to the local Diary Queen. Remember that feeling as you watched the cone being dipped into the crunchy chocolate coating, knowing what was to come, itching to get your teeth into all that creamy goodness, but still having to wait patiently while everyone was served?
Yeah, like that.
Remember Christmas Eve, when you knew you had worked for months to be on Santa's "nice" list (you'd even refrained from hitting your brother, who desperately deserved it), all in hopes of getting that one special present? Remember how you were torn between staying awake so you could hopefully catch a glimpse of that red suit, but also wanting to go to sleep quickly so the morning would come even sooner so you could run to the tree to see what treasures awaited you?
Yeah, like that.
Remember when you fell in love and every moment you willed the phone to ring, the doorbell to chime or your mailbox to offer up some sentiment from your special someone? Remember the feeling of knowing that anyone else looking at your beloved would see just a person, but you saw your very heart? And waiting for the next time to see them was like shallow breathing and all you wanted to do was take a deep, deep breath? Remember thinking the waiting would kill you but the reunion was so sweet that threatened to take you completely apart?
Oh yeah, just like that.
I expect that, in addition to a change in our financial picture and our schedules, Champs and I will find that our relationship has changed and deepened. Over the last few months, we've had to return to our dating days of long talks and IMing on the computer. Nothing new to us, since we started out as a long distance couple. We've had to distill our plans, parenting and emotions into the purest form to make sure that nothing (well not much, anyway) got overlooked. We have both felt the ache of missing each other and missing our daughter. There were days when it hurt so badly that I would just sit in my chair silently, tears rolling down my face as I contemplated how empty I felt. I can only guess that Champs has felt the same way too, at times. I know Sweet Girl has - and I am so happy that she will finally have both Mommy and Daddy at home at the same time.
Yeah, I thought this wouldn't be so long when I started out, but it will be a good thing for our family. We've learned a lot and the reward will be great. Sweet Girl and I have had a chance to look at the life of Jesus in light of our season. He left Heaven - that beautiful place - to walk among men and be persecuted, scorned and crucified. But through it all, he looked forward to what awaited Him - the reward of knowing all those He would save, the undeniable triumph of returning from the grave to laugh at a stunned Satan who had failed after all. We talked about how, if He could endure all that for such a great reward, we could certainly make it through our small trial to get our family reward. It's a lofty concept for a seven-year old to grasp, but I think she got it - and we will talk about it more in the future, I am sure.
For now, though, our biggest challenge is getting home. With the zoom-zoom car totaled and now dubbed "the boom boom car" (until it is crushed into a little cube), Sweet Girl and I will be flying home - along with one large rolling suitcase, two Rubbermaid totes, one rolling duffel bag, one booster seat, one backpack, one rolling carry-on and one cat carrier. I already have many one dollar bills and coins in my wallet for the "smarte carte" we'll be renting at either end of the trip. We will travel first by plane to Chicago, and then by shuttle (with a layover) for the three-hour trip to Champaign; and I get to negotiate all of it. I am woman, hear me whimper! I am hopeful that a foot massage will await me at the end of our journey. I already know that many hugs and kisses will be waiting. I am looking forward to hearing Sweet Girl's cry of "DADDY!!!!" at the shuttle terminal.
Yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder.
Mine is fond enough. Take me home.
Blond Girl out.