Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas: changing seasons in a few different ways

Chassidy and John are getting married in a month.
That looks very stark when printed out in the little white box. Where did the time go? I don't know if I'm ready to do this! I have become so accustomed to having her sweet face at home every night, to hanging out , reading together separately, cooking, singing, laughing...gosh. This will be like a cross between sending her off to college and sending her off to Africa again. Although she'll be in Rowlett, this is all uncharted territory for us. What a wonderful adventure this will be for her and John. Anyone who has seen them together have seen the reflection of Christ in their radiant faces. And we all love John so very much, he's already one of my boys. He has a sweetness of spirit and a love for people that is very rare in this day and age, especially in a man of his age (24).
Chas and I are both guarding our time that we have together, making every moment of Single Girl Chas time count. I know that we are looking forward to the married lady stuff she will be her recipes for stuff, decorating her apartment, random trips to Costco, having Mom and Chas days while John goes golfing with Max or Robby or one of his other buddies that golf. I know that she will always be our baby no matter how old she gets, that she will always be able to curl up in mama's lap like she did last night for a snuggle.
Brandon will still be in the house with me, but with his hours, i will have a lot of alone time on my hands. That's probably why God has led me back into the book of Isaiah again, that's definitely going to take up some time. And I will actually maybe get busy on my genealogy stuff, and clean out my closets, and simplify, and give away stuff that needs a new home. Not to mention being mom to everyone else and nana to my near-perfect grandchildren. I hope we will all continue to get together every chance that we can, making more memories for all of them. I hope I'm doing a good job. I hope that one day when I am gone, they will look back on our time together as being blessed, and happy, and that I gave them good things that will last.
Winter has brought some changing seasons in more ways than one....Chas will be a wife and daughter in law, John will be a husband and a son in law, and I will go back to being a little more Jane and a little bit less of the mom that makes dinner and takes care of everyone every night.
Sounds like we're all growing in the right direction- closer to each other, and to Jesus.
And, in the words of the highly irritating Martha Stewart- that's a good thing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

summertime memories

I was thinking back the other night about how much I loved this time of year as a child. It was so close to the end of the school year that you'd think you would go crazy before it got to that final day. In retrospect, I'm sure our teachers felt the same way. But back then, teachers were fearsome creatures for the most part, with helmet hair, firm foundation wear, heels and nylons. I was absolutely terrified of most of them. Our mother was a stay-at-home mom, as most women were in the early 60's. That one particular summer, there was a mixture of good and bad memories. My sister got her first car, which was...i think an old blue Ford Galaxie maybe. The only thing I remember was that someone had painted desert sunsets on both visors, done in oil paints. Kinda like automotive paint by number. That impressed the heck out of me. That was also the summer of skateboards. My brother Joe was the only one to possess a REAL skateboard, which I was warned off of by pain of death. So I tore apart some old roller skates, got Daddy's saw and a 1X4 board, and made my own very ghetto version of a skateboard. I seem to recall an alarming number of skinned knees and elbows. There was also the guilty pleasure of illicit rides snuck on Joe's skateboard while he was at football practice.
My first BIG bicycle was that summer too. And I mean, BIG. Wish I had it back. It was one of those old cruisers with balloon tires and nifty handlebar streamers. The cool kids had Stingrays, the girls being the pink ones with sissy baskets which i secretly envied. There was a ravine at the end of our street that led into a wooded area that was forbidden, therefore constantly explored by all of us. I don't remember ever seeing a grownup down there, it was the Never-Never Land of our street and we were the Lost Boys, so to speak. I guess Paul was Peter Pan because he was absolutely, totally fearless. The rite of passage was to successfully navigate the ravine. The ravine had a track worn in it from kids riding their bikes down this one spot. You had to get up a good head of steam to actually make it from one side to the other without wiping out. Imagine an enormous half-pipe with trees and brambles. There was a pretty long straightaway to get up to supersonic speed, then flying downhill. a heart-stopping flight up to the other side. If you were lucky, you made it up the other hill. If not, you and your bike rolled/fell over into the ravine. Not a good thing. Bones got broken there. I guess I will never forget the feeling of invincibility when I finally managed to get that enormous, slow blue bike up that hill.

I had a pretty wild imagination, and Mama had accumulated some old party dresses and stuff for me to play dress-up with. In my imagination I was everything from Scarlett O'Hara to a Spanish Dancer to a banshee (white sheets. Irish thing.) This was normally a covert activity since I got teased unmercifully by my brothers and the older kids in the neighborhood. I had actually gone outside in Spanish Dancer mode (red ruffly dress, my sister's high heels, and a comb stuck in my hair with a curtain over it. ) There I was, on the sidewalk, when one of the cool teenage girls rode by on her bike. But this time instead of laughing at me, she just slowed down a little, smiled at me and rode by. I now realize that look on her face was a longing for younger days. That was the day that we got the bad news. My sister's best friend's brother was in Vietnam at the ripe old age of 18. He'd had the cool car, the cool hair, just a cool dude. Kinda like Paul LeMatt in American Graffiti. He stepped on a landmine that summer and came home in a box. His little sister was in one of my classes at school. She didn't talk that next year.
That next year was the one where the cool girls drifted away from the awkward ones, they destined to be prom queens and Playboy bunnies, us destined to be the artsy weird musical ones. I think I got a lot more mileage out of my lifestyle choices, personally. It gave me some quirky, artsy, blindingly intelligent children who are a total joy to me. And those cool chicks? Mostly grandmas like me. If they're very, very lucky.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Leaving fingerprints behind

As I was cleaning house a few weeks back, I noticed that all the doorknobs were sticky. Brandon said, "that's how you can tell the grandkids have been here. sticky doorknobs." We'd had 30-something family and friends over for Easter. 16 of them were the kids, and between the dessert table and Easter candy, there were some little fingerprints that stayed behind. A few squirts of odo-ban and a sponge took care of the doorknobs. A small price to pay for the joy that they gave all of us that matchless Saturday afternoon. I remember looking around a few times at all the happy faces, and my heart was so full of thankfulness. It made me reflect back on all the years of hard work raising that bunch, knowing that I was woefully inadequate for the job. Yet here they all were, grown up and with kids of their own, hanging out and watching the babies run around like little crazy people in our little green meadow. Everyone was laughing and talking, children bouncing from one set of loving arms to another between mad dashes around the yard. This was John's first time to meet the family, and he got the sister's seal of approval. He was designated pitcher to a lineup of small fry who were heroically smacking an old soccer ball with Chassidy's t-ball bat from second grade. And as I watched my bunch, I reflected on how faithful God has been to all of us. Jamie, Aubrey, Cindy, and Shannon grew up to be great moms. Kelly is the new daughter of the heart, Roxanna a sister of the heart and in Christ, Brandon the favorite uncle, and Chas the "cool aunt", our precious Katie, along with a load of other friends. I remember being almost overwhelmed thinking that many people loved me enough to put up with me all these years. And I hope that they will always see my home as a peaceful refuge from the fast pace, where they have a place on the porch with a glass of sweet tea, with nothing more pressing than watching squirrels run up the ancient oaks. I hope it will always be a place where they are fed too much, loved, accepted, and celebrated.

And I hope that I leave behind a lot of fingerprints pointing to Christ.