My parents left yesterday, and now I feel a little lost. I was so amazingly blessed to have them here, for three and a half months. I was spoiled by their help and love. Now, with Chinua gone, and them suddenly gone too, I feel like that halo of family care has been lifted, and I am alone.

Except that I'm totally not.

I have the most amazing family around me, my friends here at the Land, and no girl with her husband gone for three weeks ever had it better. At the very least, I have people to talk to, at the best I have hands around me to help.

But there is something about the love of parents, or should I say grandparents? My parents love their grandkids with the fervent intensity of devotees in an ashram in India, making their Darshan gleefully.

No one else feels this way about my kids. Except, perhaps, me. Maybe.

What grandparents have that I don't have is distance. They have distance from the time in their lives when they were raising their own kids. They have distance from a lot of the parental fears of messing up. They have a lot of freedom. They also have the assurance that they can always hand the kids back to the parents.

I've loved seeing the relationship that has grown between my parents and my kids. Having my mom and dad staying here at the Land has taught me a lot. A few things are:

1. That I am sinfully independent. I would rather pull myself up a sheer cliff with my teeth than let someone help me. This past winter, after giving birth to my third child and having surgery, I've been forced to accept help from people who possibly love me more than anyone in the world. Pure torture.

2. That I am terribly controlling. Kid A told his grandma the other day that she "does a lot of things wrong" because she put the juice in the cup before the water (yes, I dilute our juice) instead of the other way around. I'm not as bad as that. I just don't like it when someone does dishes for me and the dishes are in the dish rack the wrong way. You know, important stuff.

3. That grandparents are just as much family as parents are. This should be obvious. It's just amazing to me, how much the kids thrive on the love of their Grandpa and Grandma. Chinua was actually raised by his grandma for a while.

4. That my parents are two of the most giving, loving, flexible, incredible people I've ever known.