Straight from the North Pole

My son, his wife, and my grandson came home from Bangladesh this past week.  They have been living half way across the world for the past 18 months.   They had boarded a plane in Dhaka over thirty hours before they finally touched down in Denver on December 16.  I had a copy of the itinerary and knew they were flying from Dhaka, to Dubai, to L.A., to Denver, but I wasn't sure exactly what the flying route would be.

When they finally reached my daughter-in-law's sister's house,  I was one very happy lady to see them again!

Soon after they arrived to the Denver area, where we had gone to greet them home, I asked my seven year old grandson what route their flight had taken.  "Over the North Pole," was his reply.  "Yes, we flew over the North Pole," he said again with a look of amazement on his face.  "The North Pole, really?" I asked.  At his age I would not have even been able to fathom such an experience.  I felt almost foolish asking my next question, "Did you see Santa Claus?"  I mean, really, do you ask a seven year old if he saw Santa when he himself just flew over the North Pole?  "No," he said with all seriousness, he had not seen Santa, Mrs. Santa, or any of the elves.  "It was really dark outside.  It was dark.  We couldn't see anything."  He then went on to recount that they had also flown over Russia after they had flown over India.  After flying over Russia, they found themselves flying over the North Pole.

I am amazed at the experiences that this little family has had.  Atticus has seen more of this world in his first seven years than I can hope to see.  He lived in an exotic, difficult, interesting place where he was delivered daily by rickshaw to an international French bilingual school where he learned to read in French and in English.  He has traveled around to the other side of the globe four different times now.  He understands geography in ways most of us never will.

 Soon after his grueling journey, I glimpsed  my grandson as sat on the couch seemingly trying to adjust to the cold Colorado weather he had just encountered after boarding a plane in a tropical country.  He was the very picture of jet lag.  Before long, my world traveler was asleep with his beloved Oso, the teddy bear that I gave him for his very first Christmas, tucked under his arm.

Sometimes, you give or get the perfect gift.  I think that dear old bear was the perfect Christmas gift for my little grandson back in 2002.  In 2010, he was the perfect gift for this grandma.  He came special delivery via the North Pole.

Welcome home, Jon, Sam, and Atticus!

Over The River and Through The Woods - New Version

Brother and Sister
Together in Dhaka
Tonight I am praying for my oldest daughter who is flying somewhere between Dhaka and Abu Dhabi.  When she arrives in Abu Dhabi, she will board a plane to fly to Chicago.  Hopefully, she will be back on U.S. soil sometime tomorrow around 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon.  She will then fly to Denver.  Since she lives in Utah, she will not really be home until Thursday morning. She plans on spending Wednesday night in the Denver area.

Her journey gives a whole new meaning to the song we used to sing in school, "Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go."  When I first learned that song so many years ago, I never imagined that my children would be so spread out across the nation, and this year across the globe, when the holidays hit.  The new reality is that many of us have our families very far away.

Keicha has been in Dhaka visiting my youngest son and his family.  I am so grateful they have had a wonderful time together making new memories.  We have kept up on a bit of what has been going on through Facebook.  It seems it was a very sad farewell when Keicha, Jason, and Keicha's friend, Amy left Jon, Sam and Atticus today. Before the visitors left for home, they all got  dressed up and went out on the town.

Jason, Keicha, Amy, Samantha, Jonathan
Going out on the town

Thankfully, Jon and his family will be coming back to the USA for good around the middle of December.  Another long journey will be made to connect family for the Christmas holiday.

My husband and I had originally planned on going to Utah this week to spend Thanksgiving with my oldest son and his family.  When I decided to go back to work, we changed our minds and stayed home. That might have been a good decision.  A terrible storm is set to his Utah tonight.  My oldest son's wife who works for the Red Cross in Utah said they are already identifying possible shelters along I15 because a terrible blizzard is being forecast.

If this blizzard hits, my former husband, who has been in Colorado for the past few days with my daughter in the Boulder area, could be driving right into it.  Keicha will arrive in Denver from Bangladesh and could fly into the storm in Salt Lake.

I am praying that this storm does not hit as it has been predicted.  In the meantime, I think of those simple days when going home for the holidays meant that folks only went "over the river and through the woods."

Ten Days of Emotional Roller Coaster Rides

During this time of grief for the loss of my daughter Julie, we have also been going through a time of grief over the break-up of a marriage and family in our immediate family.  Since I respect the privacy of family members, I will say little about the grief that we have been going through because of the loss that is associated with divorce.  I only will say that we have experienced great turmoil, pain and sorrow.  Sometimes it seems almost too much to bear.  And yet, in the midst of upheaval, good things continue to happen.

On the 11th of November, my husband and I traveled to the northern part of our state support my daughter Amy during the difficult time she is going through in the break-up of her marriage.  That evening, we had a bon voyage dinner.  My oldest daughter Keicha, Julie's former significant other Jason, and Keicha's good friend Amy were departing the next day for Bangladesh.

My youngest son, his wife, and my grandson have been in Bangladesh for the past year and a half.  It has been difficult to have them so far away from home, and yet it has also been exciting and our lives have all been enriched because of the experiences this young family has had on the other side of this planet.  During the time they have been gone, they have kept us up to date on their lives through their the wonderful blog: .  We are able to keep in touch via the many forms of technology now at our fingertips.  For that I am thankful, but miss them, we do.

Thankfully, we were able to bring this family home for Julie's services in early June.  After a week of much family togetherness, a time when all four of my remaining children, all of my seven grandchildren, and Jason, Julie's former significant other, all seemed to move as one tight-knit pack, I wondered how all of us would survive another goodbye as we moved on to our separate lives.  Jonathan, Samantha and Atticus would journey back to the other side of the world.  Ryan and his family, Keicha and her daughter, my former husband and his wife would all return to Utah.  My husband and I would return to Southern Colorado, and Amy and her family would remain in the Boulder area, as would Jason.

It was then that I had the idea that Jason should plan a trip.  It would be something he could look forward to.  Bangladesh seemed to be a great destination.  Not only would Jason have an exciting trip to plan, but Jonathan and Samantha and Atticus could look forward to a visit from home.  Before long, Keicha also decided that a trip to Bangladesh would also be something wonderful to look forward to.  Her friend decided to join Jason and Keicha on the adventure.

And so, roughly five months after the first conversations about thinking about a journey to help with the healing from a terrible loss, the trip became a reality.  It seems the trip has been a great success.  That is what I read on Facebook.  I've seen the first photos.  I read a few status updates.  I've rejoiced that they have all been together and made happy memories.  

At the same time, our hearts have been breaking over the break up of a marriage that has been a major part of our family for a decade and half.  Life does not seem fair at times.  It seems much too painful.  And then, life seems exciting and hopeful and joyful.  It definitely has it peaks and valleys.  The most accurate description of my life over the past ten days would be to describe it as one big emotional roller coaster ride.  Thankfully, I have a husband who holds my hand through the entire ride.  For that I am extremely grateful.