Yes, that's the biggest change we faced last year, and we are still to this day adjusting to it.
As probably most of you know, we spend the majority of our time on the mission field. The last time the whole family traveled to the US was in 2013. In 2017, Alyssa finished 12th grade. So, we decided to do things differently for her sake this time. In April, the three older girls and I flew to the US, and the rest of the family followed us in May.
|Graduation in Pensacola|
Contrary to what we have done in the past, this time the kids and I stayed in Maine with family for the majority of the time we spent in the US. This was a deliberate decision that was needed for our family.
|4th of July with family|
Alyssa and Naomi got a job for the summer, and learned about living in the US and adjusting to the different mindset and customs of Americans. You read that right. Most of their years growing up were spent in India, a place with a vastly different culture and mindset from the US. India is what they know and where they feel comfortable, they consider it their home. So the summer months were ones of adjustment and learning, and also of rest. It was a time where we could connect with family and really know each other. We spent a lot of time relaxing, having bonfires, driving back roads, eating junk, and harassing each other (you gotta know my family!)
|A day at the fair|
The end of August we drove south to get Alyssa settled at college in Florida. It was the time we'd been looking forward to, and dreading! To say it was hard, doesn't even touch the emotions involved in leaving her, knowing that in a few short weeks there would be an ocean between us. I feel that a lot of these sentences could have a blog post all their own, but for now, here it is. And for those of you who are wondering, No, there are no pictures of the goodbyes. No photo evidence needed of that heartbreak. Moving on...
In October we returned home to India, a happy and sad group, that was adjusting to one less member. I can't tell you how many times I recounted passports.....six...only six...where's the....oh right.
And life doesn't slow down. Naomi and Melody suffered with dengue fever and Brian suffered with pneumonia. In between we traveled to the far corner of India on a ministry trip for two weeks, and lived the crazy, never dull days that make up our life here.
And Alyssa, she's faced her ups and downs, but has learned to love her life in college. Nothing about it has been especially easy, but she's doing an amazing job of thriving in her new life.
That was our 2017, a long, blessed, difficult year.