Jacob returned home from his trip to Israel last Monday.  In the pre-dawn hours, Brad and I drove to the airport to pick him up, and even though Anna was asleep at home we somehow felt like our family was back together again. Over the past week, bits and pieces about Jacob’s trip have trickled out. I think he grew physically taller on the trip (I guess teenagers grow that quickly!) and I know he grew on the inside too. My sense is that this experience will be one that he looks back on throughout his life—“remember when I went to Israel . . .”

On Wednesday, back to the airport I went this time to pick up my mom and dad from their extended stay in Israel. Their flight was longer and a bit more grueling than Jacob’s so they were tired, but glad to be back in the States and one step closer to home. I enjoyed hearing their stories about their time away and also their stories as it related to their time with Jacob.  Seeing photos and videos brought pieces of their trip and Jacob’s closer to home for me.

In the midst of airport runs and hosting my parents, the daily routines of life continued—work, laundry, yard work, and cooking some meals. Yet even in the midst of the ordinary, Anna and I managed a trip to the beach on Sunday for some kite-flying. These moments with Anna are numbered and I try to stay very aware of that fact. She’s right on the cusp of being fully a teenager, and yet there are these moments when she’s still a girl, wanting to run on the beach with a kite flying behind her not worried about what anyone else thinks. The wind was perfect for kite-flying too. All Anna had to do was let loose the string and off the kite went. The beach we have visited the most since moving to Long Island—West Meadow Beach—has a sandbar that is fun to walk around on when the tide is out. We gathered shells and Anna waded in the water. We didn’t stay long, but it was enough to satisfy Anna’s kite-flying desire, and long enough to remind me to savor these moments.

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