Today we dropped mom and dad off at the airport so they could fly home. This past month we have been so blessed to have had my family visiting to help us with Liam. To help while I heal - while Ross gets use to being the primary provider on such limited sleep - and to get to know this wonderful and sweet baby.
I have never been so humbled as I was this past month while the family was here. Being the youngest in the family, I was always a bit babied. I was a bit spoiled to be honest. When I sit to reflect back on my childhood, the way that my family serves others stands out so vividly. In my own life I have been able to experience such richness in being served. When I was in school Dad would wake me up with a cup of creamy tea. When I was sick Mom would stay up with me all night - making me ginger tea and rubbing my back, and then before heading into work a full work day - she would pile the kitchen counter high with foods and drinks that would be alright for me to consume. My sister would stay up late with me and work on homework or read so that I wasn't all by myself whenever I had to pull an all nighter because I procrastinated on a paper. So many memories stand out of how rich my life has been because of the examples of service that my family had provided.
When I moved away and attended University in Hawaii in order to complete my Masters - I felt closest to my family when I followed in their example by serving those around me. Cooking for my classmates. Helping to clean up after church services. Massaging my flight attendant roommate's head when she came home from a trip. And then when I got married and moved to the Big Island - cooking special meals for my husband. Writing him notes for his lunch box. Making handmade presents for children being born in the church and in his family. I have been learning that most times - it is so much better to serve than to be served.
After I gave birth to Liam, I wasn't in any position to serve others. I was so sore and couldn't cook. Sleep deprived and on edge with changing hormone levels. Sometimes I would want to just cry at the helplessness of it all. But my family was here - taking on the brunt of all the cooking, and cleaning, and shopping. Having my sister here in the beginning when everything was so new and raw was such a life line. She would listen when I would cry about how I didn't understand how hard it would be to breastfeed a child that didn't want to latch. And then she would gently give me advice and show me how - and be present for each feeding so that I didn't have to face failure after failure by myself. She stayed with me until Liam would latch and then talk to me to keep my mind off of how much it hurt. She would always have the teapot hot in the morning so that when I stumbled into the kitchen after Liam would want to eat every one or two hour feedings throughout the night, I didn't have to wait long to get a cup of creamy tea to sooth the weariness away. And she kept my cookie box constantly filled with sweet treats. Lemon bars, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls.
My sister and niece left and then a week later my parents arrived. With my mom and dad - it's like the pressure of having to do everything by myself lifts. They have breakfast on the table before I even have a chance to think about what I will cook. They do the laundry before I can even notice a pile. They let Ross and I sleep while they take care of Liam because Liam was fussy all night and wouldn't stop crying. There is evidence of their service all throughout the house. The freezer is stocked with proteins that they bought and made for us so that we wouldn't have to drive the hour long trip into Kona for groceries. The cookie box is once again full before they left for the airport. Liam's diaper supply is stocked for months. And leftovers are piled in the fridge so that we wouldn't have to worry about dinners for the next few days. Not only did they serve - but they also taught. They taught me that I had been washing my towels wrong. They taught me about gardening. They taught me about cooking - even going so far as to bring their own ingredients from San Diego. So much. They have done so much. I feel as if I have rested and fed and am at my fullest potential to take on this new role as mother while still being the type of wife that I want and expect of myself.
With the house being quiet except for the sleeping noises of my napping baby and a husband at rest, I type out my thoughts as I remember and am filled. Filled with peace. Filled with love. And filled with encouragement. My heart is so full. So very very full.