Our Erika left home at thirteen to attend boarding school in Kenya. For the past couple months we have had the joy of having her back while her husband attended Officer Training School. (No wives allowed.) She is easy to have around—a neat freak to the point of washing dishes BEFORE dinner as well as after. She shared her Netflicks and the recipes she has found on the Internet for such delicacies as carrot zucchini bread and penne pasta with provolone cheese sauce and roasted butternut squash.
She also shared her pets. Both cats slept with her each night, but Gus deserted her in the early mornings to curl up on my bed while I read my Bible and drank my first cup of tea. Very pleasant except when he decided to rub his cheek on my Bible and push it off my lap! The cockatiel whistled excitedly from the sound of the car door until we entered the house, and took to strutting across the piano and singing whenever my husband played. If any of the three of us were reading or watching TV, the cockatiel invariably claimed a shoulder.
I never got Erika to the ice rink with me, but she runs several times a week, refusing to let a little Northwoods snow and ice keep her from training for a May marathon. Wednesday she came home from a thirteen-mile circuit through the woods and along the lakes feeling exhilarated. Exhilarated, mind you! I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
I thought she would be bored to tears stuck in the woods in the middle of winter with two people who retreat to their computers after breakfast and hardly speak until evening, but she ran, read e-books on her new Nook and used up scraps of yarn to supply herself with dish clothes for years to come.
We shared books and movies and our love for God. We enjoyed talks in the hot tub, laughed and shed tears. Even the occasional spat taught me more about myself. My children were a delight as babies; I enjoyed them through all the years of growing up (well, mostly!); but as young women, I have come to value their friendship more than ever.
Erika, you will always have a home in the Northwoods. Come back soon! (Next time bring Dan.)
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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