The high desert of California has a particular smell. It is most obvious on hot summer nights. The tang of juniper, the strange smell of hot dirt, the sweet smell of flowers. On those nights, you can sit outside and feel the heat of the day come off the ground. In the cool of the night it is comforting. I spent many of my childhood nights like this. Sitting on my grandparent's back patio, drinking tea and singing songs, or listening to the adults chatter until sleep overwhelmed me. I would sit on my Grandma's lap and she would rub my back. There the world felt somewhat perfect and safe. Nothing could harm us, no bad could befall us, we were safe and wrapped in love.
I have never really gotten over the loss of my grandparents. They were so monumental in our lives that their absence can often sting. So much of who I am, what is important to me and how I view the world was shaped by them. When blessings come my way, or I think about how lucky I was to escape harm, my first thought is that it is a result of their constant prayers. I miss them both, but the summer I have longed for my Grandmother.
She would know what to say or not to say. She would hold me, love me, feed me, and comfort me. I wouldn't have to be a grown up. She wouldn't expect me to be. I long to be back on that patio safe and secure. I couldn't stop thinking about this as I headed back to work. After a cocoon of safety all summer. I stood in a place were I last was pregnant. I have struggled to find me again. Who I am as a teacher and colleague and how I take what I have learned this summer into my job, or to gracefully accept condolences. I don't feel like me at school. I haven't quite come back. I don't really know who I am there.
I should be planning my maternity leave. I should be huge and miserable in the heat. I should be discussing insurance and disability. I should be normal, but I am not. Or at least my normal isn't the same as it was. My anxiety is a bit higher, my anemia more present, my day more planned, my ambition lessened, my longing to work with kids larger, my future less planned. Someday it will make sense. Someday it will hurt less. I have faith in that.
However, I could use a long chat with my Grandma. I could sit on that patio and drink tea and listen to her laugh. I need her. I know that she is in heaven rooting for me. Praying for me. Cheering me on, and holding my son. If she were here, then feeling safe would be easy.
I know that this is adulthood. I rest in the knowledge that the God who gave my Grandmother such faith walks with me. I believe that as long as I am willing to follow God's path it will work out, but sometimes you get scared. Sometimes you are tired of being an adult. Sometimes you just want to go back to your safe place and rest. This will be a good year, and healing will continue. I will continue to pray for strength to have faith, because my faith is the legacy my grandparents left behind and the greatest gift they gave me.