I got a little dose of reality last Sunday as I sat in church. Our dear Bucherts (who live next door) spent their final Sunday in our ward (they are moving so Becca can attend law school), and as I watched Becca up at the organ and Martin with his young men passing the sacrament, I was so teary. We have spent the past 4 years living 50 feet away from them; our children walk in and out of both homes freely, sometimes knocking, sometimes just letting themselves in. Becca and I have spent hundreds of early mornings together working out, and countless hours beyond that just hanging out and talking. She knows and understands parts of me that few others do, and in her I have found a soul sister. Martin and John have spent hours talking and working together-- when one needs a tool or some manual labor, all they have to do is head next door, and they often linger long after a project is finished, talking about some thing that really only the two of them can understand. Saying goodbye to the Bucherts is just the first of many hard farewells in store for us, and on Sunday I became a little more aware of that.
But, on Monday we spent a lovely evening in the canyon with the Bucherts for Family Night and it was such a beautiful night. We hadn't set any concrete plans, just that we wanted to do something outside and be together, so when Martin got home from work a little after 6, we didn't have much time. It was a happy blessing to have the evening come together so quickly and well. Sometimes when things like that are left to the last minute, despite having good intentions, it becomes a comedy of errors where everything goes wrong. I was sort of bracing myself for that, but we were blessed with a pretty perfect evening. We rushed into the store to grab a few things for dinner, John threw some supplies into the trunk, we settled on a location, and we got there. And the night delivered.
The sun was just setting, the wind was softly blowing, the air was a perfect temperature. We just hung out for a bit, the kids throwing rocks and looking at bugs, while the adults talked.
We set the camera up to get a couple of photos of the whole group, and let me tell you, the fact that everyone is looking in the right direction is a complete miracle. Also, enjoy George's ninja-painted face, and the residual green fairy paint on Anna, courtesy of Soren earlier that day.
I cannot get over how much I love Anna and George in this photo. I wish Anna wasn't blurry, but still, when I saw this I melted. They are such buddies.
John and Martin maneuvered some rocks into a circle and we sat around to eat a simple dinner of rolls with meat and cheese, chips, and stream-chilled soda. We told stories and sang songs (well, we sang one song, and then Eden and Soren sang many others :)), and watched the sky go dark.
About the time that we should have been packing up, John decided to whip out the camp stove and make some fried bananas. Becca and I were laughing as the dads leisurely and obliviously chatted and continued to cook bananas while we stood on the path with tired children, ready to walk back to the cars.
We shared a closing prayer together back at the cars, and felt so grateful for the blessings that have come to our families in the time that we've lived here. It seems pretty clear to me that God had a hand in getting us here at this time, with these people. So many of our closest friends here moved in within a very short time span of one another, and, it seems, the time is coming for many of us to move on to the next place. I will always be so, so grateful for the years we spent living next door to our Bucherts.