Andrew's parents always visit us every year for Gracie's birthday. They would come for AJ's birthday in January, but we are usually visiting them in New Jersey or my parents and I are visiting my brothers in California around his birthday. In past years, sometimes my mother-in-law (I still call Andrew's family my "in-laws," as I'm not sure how else to refer to them, at least in a succinct manner. I mean, I wouldn't call them my husband-who-died's-family...I don't even think that's proper English.) would even come to our house and help for a couple weeks in the summer. But now that Lydia lives with us and can watch my house, we have been spending summers with Andrew's family in New Jersey.
All of the young widows I know, or know of, throughout the country (only a handful) returned to their parents when their husbands died. It is so incredibly difficult being a single mom, while both my parents and Andrew's parents live in New Jersey.
As I've mentioned before, I stayed in Minnesota, because Andrew told me before he died not to sell our house. At this point, it's been 3.5 years since Andrew died. Andrew and I usually moved every two years. So, I think if he were here, for all I know, we might have already moved, perhaps not outside of Minnesota, but moved nonetheless. So I think we'd be free to move to New Jersey if we chose to. It's just complicated now that we've built friendships, routines, and a life in Minnesota after sticking it out these past few years. We have neighbors my kids climb trees and look for bugs everyday with, our lake that we love to walk around, and a sense of community. I love Minnesota and how it's a great place for my kids to grow up. In fact, our town of Eden Prairie was voted by Money Magazine as the #1 place in America to live in 2010 - due to affordability, proximity to a city, community-life, etc. Minnesota feels like home.
They're such amazing children. And they should feel that by being surrounded by tons of love, not just by one stretched-thin mother. The kids' uncles and grandfather teach them about what it is to be a man, play catch with them, and treat them with love and affection. I have always longed desperately for that type of love to be a regular part of my children's lives. I long to be not the only person that loves them sacrificially and with all my heart. It unburdens my heart when I see how eager they are to hang out with my kids and that they love them nearly as much as I do.
My children's best interest is what's most important to me. Please pray for wisdom for me.
Above, Andrew's brother, Jon, is alternating between playing catch and baseball with the kids.
AJ has turned away from the game to take a picture of the sunset.
Running from cousin Ethan