Sunday, September 27, 2009
My sister was blessed with twins, a handsome boy and a beautiful girl and I was given the delight of my life, my sweet baby girl #1. Life was grand, sharing stories and pictures and feeling like once again my sister and I had something in common. It had been a long time since I had that feeling, especially since she had moved away.
Then one morning the phone rang and I could tell from my mother's voice that something was terribly wrong. You know that silence, that long silence that is screaming at you without a sound. My sister's beautiful little girl at 4 months of age, had died in her sleep. The world seemed to stop at that moment yet my mind seemed to race. So many thoughts ran passing by in a split second. There are two I remember strongest. The first was the instant panic I felt for my own child sleeping in her cradle. How does a baby just stop breathing? There is no warning. They are given to you, then taken away without understanding or explanation. The second was guilt at my own child sleeping in her cradle. Why my sister's baby and not mine? How do we share little girl stories now? If I share my joy, do I cause her sorrow?
I did not understand then, nor do I understand now, the strength of a parent at the loss of their child. Even witnessing it so close, I can not imagine myself surviving it. I get nauseous still at the thought of it and something inside of me just wants to curl up into a ball. How do you place one foot in front of the other or for that matter, even get up on your feet? My sister is a remarkable woman. The journey of her pain and sorrow is private and personal, hers to share if she chooses but I will say that she is my hero to endure a pain that is never over.
I find it odd that I think more about my niece's death on her birthday than I do on the day of her death and I wonder if it is that way for my sister? There is not a joyful birthday that passes for this trio of jewels that does not have sorrow mingled in with it. How do you have joy for two without sorrow for the one that isn't there? How do you watch them grow and become young adults and not wonder what she would have been like?
Twenty-three, the same age I was when this all took place, my sister twenty-four. We sure felt grown up but as I look at my baby #1 and my nephew, I know we were still really just kids, made older for the second time, (that's another story) by a death that came too soon and I am reminded that all sunshine makes a desert and I praise God even though I do not understand.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Well, the babies carved their pumpkins and set them out with our fall decorations on the front porch and that is where they stayed until they were reduced to slimy, moldy pools of pumpkin juice that no one wanted to touch. Brave daddy finally came rolling in with the industrial strength wheel barrow, shovel and hose to haul those twisted, distorted faces, once lovingly carved, to the compost pile. Into the heart of the pile they were cultivated and covered with plastic. Then, the magic began...
This spring we were blessed with this wonderful pumpkin plant complete with plenty of pumpkins for all the babies! Isn't it just like God to take something thought to be dead and rotten; something you never even think to have hope for, and bring it back to life. God reaches right into the deep, dark, secret places, into the heart of the garbage pile and works His wonderful, magical life restoring power to bring forth a new creation bursting with fruit. How amazing! How loving! How available for all!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
"How many times have I told you not to do that?" "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times..." Famous quotes from our mothers that we've always laughed about. Funny how even as a grown woman, they come rushing back when I do something stupid.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I love looking at the corn blowing in the wind, planted in nice, neat and tidy rows. That's me, liking things neat and tidy with everything in order, in my dreams... But if you look at the plant closely, there are so many colors on it. The green leaves, the golden tassels, the yellow and white corn and my favorite, the purple/pink silk. Then in the fall it all turns brown and is set to be useful for another season. God is sure creative isn't he?
To help satisfy my obsession, we took a trip to Jacob's Corn Maze out on M-72. This year the mazes were done in the image of a landing eagle and a flying eagle. We did them both and had a corny good time. My babies are all funny in their own way and I get a kick out of listening to them interact and try to get one up on each other. Most of it doesn't write out well, it's a "You just had to be there" sort of thing, to hear the timing and the tone but baby girl #3 said just out of the blue, "I don't understand about fishing, it's so boring" to which I responded, "Not if you're catching something." Baby boy #2 in his best sarcastic, girly voice says, "I just don't understand shopping, it's so boring." to which baby girl #3 promptly replied, "Not if you're catching something." Not funny written out, I know. But we laughed hysterically. Could be we were already in a 'corny' mood due to the purple silk arm pit hair, mustaches, uni brows and ear hair we were all wearing. You see, in my personal opinion corn mazes are not all that fun in and of themselves. Mostly it's hot and sweaty in there, you're getting eaten by bugs and you're thirsty and lost. There is a fine line between how much water is too much water because then there is that 'other' problem. And, if you are too uptight, you will spend all your time arguing over which way to go. My advice, relax, put on your corn silk uni brow and feed your corny obsession!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I love the cozy feel of the fire on a cool, crisp autumn day, the delicious smell of the different kinds of wood as they burn. I love that my husband can tell me which type of wood it is just by the smell of it. I love being snuggled up with him by the fire on a dismal, rainy, Sunday afternoon and I love knowing that we have provided for ourselves, by our own means. People tell me over and over that they just love my home, they feel so welcome and comfortable when they come in. I know that beautiful fire dancing in the fireplace gets all the credit.
For a man though, I believe firewood and manhood are directly connected. All a part of that inner, God given need to provide for and protect one's family. David has cut firewood for 35 years now and while his body at times grows tired of it, his heart never does. His drive never diminishes nor does the sense of urgency, that desire to see 20 cord of wood neatly stacked and ready to use. That peace in knowing your family will be warm for another winter. It is a ritual that begins in the spring and lasts well into the fall when we finally have all our wood in for the year.
My husband is a wonderful teacher of few words and as I watch my boys go out the back door with their dad and head into the woods behind our house, I wonder with a bit of awe and envy about what life lessons and manhood mysteries are being lived out in those moments? Even if I am out there helping with the wood it is a world which, as a woman, is not mine to know, and that is okay.
Friday, September 4, 2009
We have been fortunate enough to have lived on both ends of the financial spectrum. There was a time in our lives when we were not only too poor to afford a dryer, we were too poor to pay for the dryer at the laundromat. I can remember winter days when the house was full of little baby socks and little baby undershirts hanging from every spot imaginable. You learn pretty quickly what to hang where because it only takes one of your husband's work buddies stopping over and being greated by your bras and panties to figure it out!
I remember when we finally got our 1st 'used' dryer and my mother said to me, "You might as well take down your clothes line now, you will never use it again." I gasped in horror and swore that I would. Two years later, down it came never having been touched once.
There has also been a time in our lives when we've had more money than brains and I can honestly say I am more ashamed of the latter. There is nothing shameful in poverty but plenty to be ashamed of in wastefulness. It is funny the things you think you have to have and the things you never knew you needed until you see them. It is even more tragic that all those 'things' end up owning you instead of the other way around. Suddenly you find yourself working all the time to pay for them and spending all your spare time maintaining them. Why is it that the owners manuals never put that little tidbit in their disclaimer?
Over the years our life has changed a great deal and we are learning to 'declutter' but it can be a slow process. I now have a new clothes line and a dryer that has never been owned by anyone but me. I am greatful that I don't have to hang my clothes in the living room anymore (even though baby #2 still prefers to dry his clothes on the floor) and even more grateful that I have the time to hang them on the line.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
All morning I thought about what pictures I would like to take, designing a scrapbook layout in my head and trying to imagine how the story would play out. Well as usual, my life never quite goes like the fairy tale I conjure up in my mind. Apparently blueberries must come on in cycles because just as I thought, there were tons of berries, but since when did they start coming in pink? And hey, where's my camera? Well, we began picking slightly 'blue' berries and I convinced myself it was okay that I forgot the camera and I settled into the quietness of the moment. Then much to my delight, soft melodic chimes in the distance filter down on the breeze, my fairy tale life does exist, not... Baby #4's delightful ring tone abruptly brings me back to reality. His friend, calling to finalize plans about attending the JV football game, a little early. We drop 5 bucks in the little metal box and head home.