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A Year of Firsts

By | Family, Just Thoughts | No Comments

Mark and I have lots of requests to revive this blog, but our life has become so incredibly full, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to sustain another project. However, today, I find myself with some time as I’m confined at home with a respiratory infection and also, the nature of the day compels me to write a bit.

This year began rather strangely — just a couple of weeks after the birth of our 5th grandchild in late January, I was called to Texas to help with my Mother, who was in the hospital wth a laundry list of serious health concerns. She was in and out of ICU and my sisters needed more help to stay with her at the hospital. My first trip down, I had five days with her and she was in pretty good spirits, all things considered. Mentally she was quite sharp and we reminisced about many things. She also asked about each member of our family in Kansas — needing a person-by-person report. Since she lived up here in Andover on two different occasions, she also knows a lot of people at NewSpring and asked about each of them as well.

Mother had many friends and relatives who came to visit. One afternoon, she had 23 visitors in the waiting room. We had to divide into groups and go into her room in shifts. In addition to the time with my Mother, I got to visit with aunts and cousins I hadn’t seen in years. At the end of the five days, I returned home to take up my responsibilities at the church, thinking she would be dismissed after a week in rehab, but got called again a few days later as she was re admitted to ICU and my sister was taken ill, so I needed to fill in for her.

It was during the second trip (only 3 days) that Mother became convinced she was dying. We talked very frankly about it and she assured me she was ready to go. Having said that, the doctors kept assuring us that she was not at end of life, so I left on a Friday to resume responsibilities only to get a message that next Tuesday that she was gone. She was almost 91 years old and I don’t think we left anything unsaid, but I would have hugged her a little tighter if I had know it was the last time.

She died in March and when her birthday came in April, it was sad, but I tried to imagine her celebrating in Heaven with my Dad who moved to Heaven back in 2010. In May, when Mother’s Day came around, I realized she was reunited with her Mama and they were so close in this life, I’m sure it was a sweet time for them. I did find myself wanting to rewind and redo some Mother’s Days that I didn’t express my love as I would have wanted to. Regret is a hard condition because there is no remedy.

Today is my birthday and there has never been a year that Mother didn’t call and wish me Happy Birthday. As a mom myself, I would share with her that I always think of her on my birthday as she was such an integral part of that experience! I also know that she remembers that day WAY better than I do. She has shared the story with me many times so that I can almost envision what it was like for her. Of course, I have NO memory of that day, but without my Mother’s love to take on number 4 with an already crowded family, I wouldn’t be here. I truly owe her my life. Just 12 years later, she could have legally disposed of me. She wouldn’t have of course, but she had just gone through long months taking care of my older sister through a life-threatening disease and she had a full house with a limited budget. I’m quite sure I was inconvenient. I remember someone telling me once what a burden I had been as a baby — bad timing, cried all the time, etc. When my mother heard of it, she was LIVID! She said she asked God for each one of her children and she very much wanted me. I would hope that all mothers express such love and acceptance to their children no matter what the circumstance.

Perhaps the most sobering thing about this year is the awareness that Mark and I have entered a new season of life. It seems like just yesterday, we were bringing our babies home from the hospital, but now it’s our grand babies going home in the arms of our grown children. Of our four parents, only one is still living. Those sandwich years are almost over, then we become the top slice of the bread instead of the peanut butter in the middle. It all happened so fast! And, why is it that busy days consume lives faster than newspaper in the fire?

Mark and I have often discussed the seasons of our life together and since we were just children when we met and lived in the same area before that, I’m so glad we can walk pretty much all the way down memory lane together. We smile and shed tears as we remember all the amazing things God has let us experience and we shed tears over the regrets of opportunities missed, even though God is so faithful to redeem our mess-ups. God is SO good to us!

Our goal in this new season is to be thankful every day and apply God’s wisdom very carefully as the days left are short.

Remember your Creator while you are young, before the days of trouble come and the years when you say, “I find no pleasure in them.” Ecclesiastes 12:1

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12