Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Epiphany

Here's my epiphany...

Someday, I may be here for my parents, instead of my parents being here for me.

Now, here's the lame part.  I'm 48 years old, and this is just now dawning in a real way.  I knew it - but I just hadn't really thought much about it.

I think my parents may have spoiled me a bit.  I've never felt spoiled, but as I've watched my mom over these recent weeks of illness and hospitalization, I've decided that I was/am spoiled.

My Mama has always, always been here for me.  She has been with me for the birth of all my children.  She came home with me and stayed for a week, cooking our meals, cleaning my house, taking care of me so I could take care of my babies.  She taught me how to be a Mom.  She taught me how to be a wife, a manager of my home, how to cook.  She has always been my friend.  She has always been a pillar of strength.  My Daddy too.

I've always thought of them as young.  They were young when I was born, and were always among the youngest of parents in my group of friends.  They've always been, and still are, very active... often wearing me out in the work they do around their house and yard, hiking in Colorado, serving in their areas of ministry, etc.

I still think of them as young, really... compared to most people their age.  (Does that make sense?)

So, as I've watched my parents deal with her illness, I've thought about all of this a lot.  My Daddy has worked like nothing I've ever seen from him in taking care of her every, single need.  It's been beautiful.

And I've thought of the thousands of times that they have taken care of my every, single need.

And I've thought that, if life goes as it naturally does, there will come a time when those roles are reversed.  They have always been here for me (it was their calling, and they answered that call) - but I, and my sister and brother as well, will one day be here for them (and it will just as clearly be a calling).  To meet their needs.

I've watched and learned this from them as well.  As they took care of their mothers.  My Granny lived to be 104.  My Mama went to see her every, single, day.  She loved her, listened to every story (some of them hundreds of times), shopped, cleaned, cared for her, made sure those providing for her were doing an excellent job - even when Granny didn't know it was happening - even when it was hard and Mama was exhausted from a full day of work herself.  That was also beautiful.

I will be here for them - a calling.

I can't imagine that it will be soon.  I fully believe this season of illness for my Mama is temporary, and she'll be back to running circles around me soon.  But someday, it's very likely to come.

Proverbs says of the wise woman, that her children will rise up and call her blessed...

My Mama is blessed - my Daddy too.

I'm so thankful that God gave me parents that, when that day of being here for them comes, will make this an honor and a privilege.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Times - They Are A Changin'

Traditionally, this is the day we drag all the Christmas decorations out of the attic and begin the mass chaos of unpacking (decorations), packing (stuff that Christmas decorating crowds out), arranging, re-arranging, etc.

Traditionally, tomorrow is the day that we trim the tree.  It's really one of my favorite days of the whole season.  All the kids stay home, at the same time.  We play Christmas music, fix hot chocolate, maybe bake snickerdoodles, we get out all the tree-trimming ornaments and divvy them up.  The kids have gotten at least one new ornament and made one ornament almost every year of their lives... They are 21, 19 and 16.  That's a lot of ornaments.  There is much laughter, much joy, much arguing over whose year it is to put the tree-topper on the tree and the appropriate way to arrange ornaments on the tree.

--- As a complete aside - here's the argument:  Do you arrange ornaments together in like themes?  (i.e., Star Wars, Barbie, Action Heroes)  This would be Luke's stance.  Or, do you arrange ornaments randomly and evenly around the tree?  This would be Erin's stance.  They will each die with their strong opinion on this subject.  The only exception is when Luke will move his storm trooper out of the Star Wars arrangement to be within shooting range of Christmas Barbie. ---

Circa 1997

Circa 2009

We have, through the years, included friends, sweethearts, and extended family in this tradition, but always kept the tradition.

But, times - they are a changin'...

Last year. 2010.

We are in a current fiasco of trying to find a day that my grown kids can both be here at the same time.  Between work, school, other-side-of-the-family visits, finals, etc., this appears to be near to impossible.  It is a tradition none of them want to give up yet, but I can see the writing on the wall.

I think this the beginning of learning to release some traditions and let my kids begin to make their own.  This is a much more difficult, soul-wrenching process than I thought it would be.  What will our new traditions be in a few years, as our kids grow, move, marry, etc.?

I'm excited to see what new traditions Brian and I can create when there are many days of just the two-of-us.  I'm excited to see what traditions our kids take with them to new grown-up lives and what new traditions they create that I never thought about.  I really am excited.


I think we've come up with a day that everyone can be home around work, finals, and such.  This year.  I plan to enjoy it to the fullest - knowing the year is coming when we won't be able to. And I will be sad.


I know the new will be good, but releasing the old is always difficult.

What have you had to learn to let go of, and found that God replaced it with something just as beautiful, if not even more so?