Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On the Homecoming

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Last week a big thing happened in the Clark family. Our parents came home from their Church Mission in St. Louis. They were there for three years--three really long years it seemed. When they drove into town last week they stopped by seven of my sibling's houses one-by-one (except my brother Steve who lives in St. George). They met grand babies born while they were gone and hugged most of their forty-three grandchildren.

Our house was last on the route because they are staying in our basement guestroom. They bought a house in our neighborhood (around the corner from where we were raised) and it's being remodeled. At this point it's going to be a couple weeks before they can move in.

This has been a blessing for my family. Anson was only two and Ever two months, when they left for Missouri. My children have never really known my parents. Now every day they wake up and ask if "Umi and Grandpa are awake?" Ever has taken to my mother as if they are inseparable best friends. I suspect it has something to do with my mother's bright, fancy tubes of lipstick and her willingness to let Ever go through her suitcases for treasures. Yesterday my dad bought a chainsaw and became Anson's hero. Chup too, at my father's insistence he opened the brand new tool and proceeded to chop down a far-overgrown lilac bush in the backyard by the outside fireplace.
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And our shy Erin is finally warming up to Grandpa thanks to an abundance of licorice and grandfatherly patience.
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Last night we sat outside in the front yard, in the cool of the post-sunset evening and talked over my failed front garden beds. My front garden beds have long given me frustration, nothing grows on the west-facing plot thanks to the killing heat of the summer sun. It's frustrating how much anxiety I have over this failed endeavor--guilt tinged too, because I come from a prestigious family line of impeccable gardeners.

"Oh, we're going to help you with this," my mom said surveying the damage.

"Go get me a shovel and I'll start over turning it right now," my dad ordered.

And as he shoveled and mom plotted and I weeded I remembered how nice it feels to have parents. I had forgotten how much I still need them.





37 comments:

Ali said...

Courtney, I couldn't agree more about just how tremendously wonderful parents are. I am 44, I rely on them in many ways still, and their support is unfailing - although I live across the globe. (Bet your mom gets tears in her eyes when she reads your post - and your dad even more!)

Always best wishes
Ali

Diana said...

In the passing months, I have also been reminded that I need my parents, too. And I'm lucky enough that they live 5 minutes away. Welcome home!

shannon said...

Isn't awesome....and terrifying...that someday we will be the parents helping our adult children?

Donna Mosley said...

This felt so good to read. I just can't stop smiling.

Nancy said...

Wow! I "remember" when they left! I'm so glad for all of you that they are home again.
Oh parents - you are all so blessed to have your parents to love and hug (you'd better or I'm coming after you :-) ) My mother has been gone 26 years and my father 3. I "talk" to them all the time but it's not the same.

Kate said...

Ok This post made me well up. Parents are just the BEST!

Carol said...

LOVED reading this post Courtney - I lost my dad a little over a year ago - he was my hero - I loved him more than words can say - oh how I miss him each and every day - I'm thankful my mom is still with me - although she doesn't live close by - I try and see her whenever I can - keep treasuring your parents homecoming - keep making those beautiful family moments - they are treasures that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Jocelyn said...

Wonderful! My parents recently got a medical release because of my mom's heart condition. We thought she was going back right away and they have not been able to go yet. I think of my parents being able to go and see each of their children during this unexpected time home. It has been a blessing.

Lola said...

I want to write something--but not sure what. I will say how priceless-both the relationship you have with your parents and that they are back and that you need and want them in your love and I am sure, vice versa.
I never really had parents in the 'normal' sense and I was orphaned by 7 and on my own at 15.5!
Hugs!

Jen said...

Unless you are dead set on flowers, you might try planting tomatoes in your front garden beds. I had a similar problem with nothing liking the full sunny spot and the tomatoes LOVE the heat and full sun. I plant only one tomato plant every year because I get over 100 tomatoes off it. I hand them out to all my neighbors, eat them until I'm sick, and make lots of salsa.

Reenie said...

Welcome Home Umi & Gpa!!
xo

Teresa said...

I'm so happy for you that they're home. My dad's funeral was yesterday. Boy, do I ever miss him. Love your parents up, and cherish every moment...

Vanessa Brown said...

It makes me smile that you have this. And I want this. So I'll just have to be this someday. That sounds good to me.

Lisa B. said...

So so delighted for you and your family. This post made me so happy to read.

Cookie Marie said...

My Mom moved out of state last year after having quite the difficult time coping with some serious family problems. A lot of things have changed between her and myself. She no longer resembles the Mom that I grew up knowing. Life has dealt her some rough bumps in the road in the past decade. Rough bumps for all of us in what used to be a closely bonded family.

I no longer have a Mom I can turn to for comfort, for laughs, for safety and that feeling of "home". Your blog entry reminds me of all that I have lost, all that I miss and all that I will never experience again in this lifetime. I know family can be frustrating at times but it fills a spot in one's heart that nothing else can.

Without family, it truly does feel like being lost with no compass to guide one back to safety. On days like today, all I have are memories. Cherish your family, your parents.

I even miss the yard work we used to do together :) Good times ..

Carina said...

Come inspect my front yard for all the new drought tolerant, heat-loving plants.

kami said...

What a wonderful blessing. I'm a little jealous, wishing I had those kind of parents. I take heart, hoping that one day ill be able to be that parent to my adult kids. So wonderful to have them home!

ellen said...

Nice. So nice.

AD said...

You have the most adorable parents. Seriously. Look at that look on your dad's face with your baby. So happy for all of you to have them home. :)

Jennifer said...

So glad they are home and spending those priceless moments with your kids. I will miss reading about your adventures in STL as that is my birth place and where my grandparents still are. I hope the city treated them well!!

Amy W. said...
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Delightful Domestic Science said...

Those last few lines make me think of my heavenly parents and how much I'll realise I've missed them.

Amy W. said...

I will miss seeing your parents here in the St. Louis area. I had the pleasure of getting to hear them speak a number of times, and they were delightful. I am thankful for all of the hard work and love the put in out here in Cardinal nation!

jani vegas said...

I feel like I know you parents even though I don't. My son had the privilege of serving in the mission with them (Elder Crowley) and absolutely LOVES them. I am so grateful for how they taught and loved my son. I can't wait to meet them someday.

Alisha said...

I'm only 30 and my mom and dad are only 52, so I hope we'll still have many, many years together. Even though I'm a grown, married woman, I still need my mama! So glad your parents are home safe and you have that love and comfort.

Paula said...

Parents/Grandparents are a Godsend. My toddler absolutely treasures her Oma and Opa. I am blessed they are only a ten minute drive away.

Treble Clef ♪ said...

I love your parents. They are fabulous!

jensey said...
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Maren said...

Thank you for this post! I have a 12-day old baby and a 2 year old who thinks his grandparents walk on water. They used to live 15 minutes away and he had sleepovers there every week. They left 10 days ago to be mission presidents in Mexico. It has been hard, I still need my parents! But this account of the sweetness of homecoming makes me excited for how great it will be. I truly believe the LOrd makes up the difference. Congratulations to you all!

Lisette said...

Parents are great and as we get older we can appreciate more what they do for us.

Rick and Anne said...

How we will miss your parents here in STL! We will miss their talks at Stake Conferences and their happy faces.

H. Schwarting said...

Courtney, this is such a sweet, wonderful post! I do have a question...I am not Mormon, so I am fairly unfamiliar with your religion. During the three years that your parents were in St. Louis, were they unable to return to Utah to visit? To be more specific, are they not allowed to leave their assigned location for the duration of their assignment? (I know that their family could visit them during that time, though.) Thanks!

Ket said...

I lost my mom while I was pregnant with my first child, and my dad just after her first birthday. I miss them still, in little ways, every day. This post is a perfect example of why.

Blessings to all of you and your time together!

Janine said...

yep! can't beat having parents around :)

l.g. mcfifi said...

Court...give your dad lots of hugs today. I just lost mine in May. It is great your mom and dad get to be there with you.

Suze said...

Nothing beats mom and dad.

I had the pleasure of meeting your parents on several occasions during their mission- I was a new concert. While I'm not sure how I feel about the church at this point, they were wonderful examples and very loving people. Thanks for sharing them with us for a few years.

Suze said...

*convert