Friday, October 30, 2015

Sacrificial Love

My little pumpkins searched for pumpkins!  The boys rummaged the patch with earnestness for the best "finds."  Each son insisted that they found the perfect one.  Personally, I think the pumpkins with blemishes have character and rank highest on my list.

Basically the entire month of October is Cooper's birthday month.  He is the only one in the family with a birthday not in December or January.  And.He.Loves.It.

Cooper does have to share his birthday with other October babies in the extended family.  He doesn't mind sharing the celebrating as long as he gets his own cake!

Over fall break, we took a quick trip over to St. Louis to visit the City Museum.   Caleb came prepared with a head lamp (that actually came in handy....who's laughing now!).

The City Museum is filled with hidden passages, mazes...
 ten-story slides....

ball pits (by the way, I jumped into the ball pit too and forgot how amazingly fun it is to jump around in a ball pit!)....

 a ferris wheel on the roof....

top sort of thing....
 human hamster wheel and so much more!

 Free St. Louis Zoo was an added bonus the next day!

Another highlight of the break was taking the kids to their first concert: Toby Mac.  What made the evening was Cooper's concert attire: shades and a necklace.  He also had some pretty sweet dance moves.  This mom has to keep up!  

Grandma's health has rebounded since the last post (thanks for the texts, prayers, and concerns!).  Mentally she is a bit scrambled.  It's been a joy to spend precious moments with her.  We're praying for God's perfect timing for when he decides to bring her home, and we are thankful for the time we've had in her company.

I made Cooper's birthday cupcakes for his class.  Cooper decorated them.  He had so much fun making Minon cupcakes (could be because he ate about half the marshmallow bag!).

As mentioned in my last post, my sweet Grandmother has taken a bad turn with her health.  A few weeks ago, she had a massive stroke.  On one particular day, when she was completely unresponsive, we thought she would pass.  I said my goodbyes and let her know it was ok for her to go to heaven.

But it wasn't her time.

The very next day, my mom called me in complete shock.  Grandma was awake and responsive.  It was surprising, and yet unsurprising.  Grandma has always seemed a bit immortal to me. She has a fight in her that few know unless they truly sit in her presence.  She's a contradiction.  Externally frail, yet internally mighty.

Physically she's rallied.  Mentally, she vacillates between lucidity and confusion.  It amazes me that she can recite her home address from 1954 with complete accuracy, yet she can call you the wrong name.  The mind is truly a mystery.

We certainly don't know the time we have left with her, and perhaps that makes it all the more precious.  Each visit we make special, not knowing if this is our last time together.  Each time I say the same things: she's loved; she's special; and she always made me feel the same.

We pray for God's timing for when he takes her Home.  God's timing is a mystery.  But, I've seen glimpses of God's hands in each day.  Perhaps the most touching thing to watch is my mom tending to her mom.  She does so in a sacrificial, honoring way.  She tends to her mom's needs: buying her fresh pajamas, ensuring the wheelchair cushion is soft and wounds are well-dressed.  She talks to my Grandma in tender ways.  It's not about the words she utters, but the manner in which she delivers the words.  She's loving on my Grandmother when Grandmother has not to offer back.  And when I watch the display, all I think about is how this is love in its purest, most raw state.  It is lovely.

For the days God has given us with Grandma, we are grateful.  For the opportunity to watch love played out in our family, I am thankful too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tender Moments With Grandmother

The Traders Point Christian Academy finished its first running club season.  At the end, we had 35 kids participate!  It was a complete joy to watch them run.

Cooper was part of the team, and he finished his first 5K race.

Fall soccer season just ended for two sons.  I spent several months planted on the sidelines of a soccer field.

Cooper celebrated his 9th birthday (a few weeks early) with a couple of quite friends at an indoor climbing place.

Little brother joined in the celebrating.

All that climbing makes you hungry....for birthday cake.

I spent some quality time my thoughts, an orange vest, and a walkie talkie doing parking lot duty for soccer.

We snagged an open few hours to get family pictures.  More pictures to come.  She took 500 shots, and I thinking we might just have a few ones with four smiling boys!

It's been forever and a day since I blogged.  The whirlwind of life has sucked me under and left little time to even think about blogging.  Today, I have other things to do.  Dishes are pleading to be placed back on shelves.  Laundry needs to find a home.  Dinner needs to be given a thought.  But somehow, these things seem inconsequential.

During my childhood I was blessed to have Grandparents that lived nearby.  They were not technically immediate family, but they were to me.  We attended the same church as my Grandparents, and so most Sundays we'd love on them amid services or the pews.  Because they lived close to my high school, they were a constant presence at games, concerts, and awards.  They treated me to overnight dates where I slept in the "pink room" on a double bed with a bright white comforter and plenty of room to toss and turn.

My Grandfather passed away a decade ago.  I mourned his loss, but found comfort in the Grandparent who remained.  My Grandmother  continued to live her life and did so with vigor and zest.  She served at the church school, the hospital, and in the church nursery for many years.  Until just recently, her daily routine included miles on the track or, in inclement weather, at the mall.  She married a long-time friends just three years ago (and the tender age of 90).

But despite her busy schedule, she still always had time for family. When I would visit, we'd all sit in her living room and catch up.  She made you feel like you were the rockstar that landed on her recliner.  She soaked in your words, laughed at my corny jokes.  She listened intently to the stories about my kids and beamed when I listed off their accomplishments.

She's almost 94; she's been the picture of health until the last few years.  On Sunday she had a major stroke.  The boys and I arrived at the ER and took turns by her bedside.  She was awake, but her awareness and communication ability fluctuated.

I stood by her side.  I wondered what to say to someone who was such an influential person in your life on this side of heaven?  I love you was a given.  I kept repeating how she was the best grandmother for this blessed granddaughter.

Grandma continues to hang on to life.  Today I stood by her side again.  This time she rested in a hospital room.  She was in a deep sleep and could not be aroused.  My mom said she's heard that people in this state of consciousness can still hear.  And so, I listed off my memories, the special moments, and the tender times.  When I reminded her of the (unwelcomed) green peppers she used to place on my pizza, I laughed.  I swear she smiled along with me.

As I turned to leave, I told her I loved her.  Her mouth moved.  I heard "I love you too."  My mom wasn't so sure; she thought it was garbled words.  We will never know.  The fact of the matter is that I don't know what she said, but I know how she felt about me.  She loved me.  She showed me that for forty years.