If you ever hear me complaining that no one loves me, remind me to read this post. If it doesn't remind me that I am loved, I don't know what will.....
Last Friday, I went to visit my most adorable niece, Malena. I may have mentioned her before. My mom, sister (mother to Malena) and Malena picked me up at the airport. I haven't seen Malena in just about seven months and to a nearly four year old, that might as well be an eternity. But as soon as she saw me, even with no prompting from an adult, she recognized me and came running, with outstretched arms. She was my constant companion for the next three and a half days!
She held my hand in the parking lot, everywhere we went. At Costco, Kohl's, and Sunflower Market. We played all sorts of fun games together. We played with all her "kids" (aka stuffed animals). We had tea parties while drinking water from plastic cups with plastic spoons. We read stories of a daddy that is afraid of monsters and a giant that becomes king. We had a parade throughout the house, using a drum and noisy-makers. She let me use her barrettes and sleep in her big girl bed. She rode her bike in the neighborhood and we followed her "sister" (a middle school-aged girl walking in the neighborhood) around the block. We had such a fun time.
She turned four and had a princess birthday party. She planned it months ago. It had to be pink and purple. She insisted on a pinata. Her cake was chocolate and included cup cakes. Her mom spent hours making the cake--a pink castle with glittery purple turrets. Malena woke up and was so disappointed it wasn't chocolate. She jumped up and down when she saw her pinata hanging up outside.
As I was getting ready to leave, I told her good-bye. She burst into tears and told me not to go. I told her I had to go home....Darrell was waiting for me and missed me, my house missed me, I had to go to work. She told me she wanted to go with me. I reminded her that her mommy and daddy would miss her. She told me that Grandma and Pop could live with her mommy and daddy. I told her I would come and visit her again.
I called her when I landed back in Arizona and she was excited to talk to me. I told her I got home okay and Darrell was happy to see me. I told her I would call her again and visit her later.
Today, her grandma told me Malena wouldn't sleep in her bed, since Aunt Stephanie was going to sleep in her bed. This morning, she was convinced I was coming back and she should keep her bed waiting for me.
I guess she really does love me!
I also have friends at home who love me....my friend Lucinda called me several times this weekend, with no return call from me. She drove past my home and saw my car in the driveway--when it should have been at work. I wasn't available on Facebook, which was rather uncharacteristic. I didn't show up at church and didn't have a substitute for my Primary class. I guess I forgot to tell her I was going out of town. She was so worried, she and her husband came over to our house during Sunday School. Darrell was home, but in no mood to answer the door. But she was persistent. What Darrell didn't know was, she had talked to a homicide detective in our ward who advised her to check out the house and call the police if there was a foul odor (good thing I washed the dishes before I left!). Darrell finally answered and Lucinda felt relief immediately. We weren't murdered by local drug lords! I'm guessing from now on, I will give my friends a better idea of where I am if I go out of town!
But, I know I'm loved.
PS--I'll post photos of my weekend when I figure out how to transfer them from my camera!