Monday, July 22, 2013

Time Well Spent

Moms do not like for their children to be ill, or to feel poorly, or be sad.  I'm no exception.  Even now with my children grown and caring for their own children, I don't like for them to be down.

Rock Star recently had to have surgery (she may blog about that some day) and I got to help out with the kiddos.  Pop was working so he didn't get to play as much as I did and we missed him. He stopped by when he could and was always warmly (and loudly) welcomed.

One of the worst things for Rock Star was being restricted...she couldn't lift her smallest superhero and he wanted so much for her to pick him up...check out this precious lil guy...he has mad climbing skills so when his momma would sit down, he'd climb up and snuggle up next to her.  It is so hard when they are too little to understand.

We made the most of the time we had and the days went quickly.  PhoJo is a one-of-a-kind superhero dad...When he wasn't working, he was working at home taking care of things...we tag-teamed the kiddos, did laundry, and made meals.  Even though Rock Star needed to rest and recover, she thought of things to do with the kids.  Check out our play dough fun...What a kick!

We built Trio block buildings and bridges.

We watched some fun shows.

We made a birthday card for Nana (Grammy's Mom...not Daddy's Mom).  Making cards was fun but taking a picture of all the kids with their cards was painful for the littlest guy.  By the time Rock Star gave up, he was still crying and the big brothers and sister were bored.  

We played in the water.

We even took down a dead tree in the front yard with our bare hands - with permission, of course!!  

On one of Pop's visits, he had a serious conversation with the smallest superhero about the pros and cons of playing with the electrical outlet.  Ha!

Of course, the sisters (except the currently Indiana sister) came over to visit and cheer up Rock Star and the cousins had some stellar play time and shared a meal.

Rock Star is recovering nicely and hasn't needed our help to run her household for a while now and I never want my children down...but...spending time with our grandchildren is always time well spent.  I'm grateful I am here and available.  God is good!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

In Memory and In Honor

In memory of a woman - a wife, mother, grandmother, community leader...and in honor of her daughter.

Our home town recently laid to rest a woman.  Pop and I traveled home to witness her memorial.  Her life and accomplishments alone merited our attention but, honestly, we went because of our connection with her daughter.  Pop is honored to work with her and I an honored just to be associated with her.  She is a woman of grace, beauty, and eloquence.

Pop with our friend
We share common stories and people from our raising.  We are knitted together forever simply because we come from the same place.  Her younger brother was Pop's age.  They were friends by kindergarten and remained friends, classmates, and teammates through high school.  He was taken from this earth all too soon when he was struck  by a car while he riding his bike.  His family, our home town, and a host of friends grieved his death.  Like his older sister (and all their siblings, I suspect), he was very bright and had much to offer this world.

As adults, we have come to know this precious woman and Pop and I have come to deeply respect and love her.  Attending the memorial for her mother made me love her all the more.  She spoke with poise, bolstered by the love of family and community.  The beautiful little church was was fitting.  She warmly welcomed everyone there and recognized the staff members of the medical community who had cared for her mother toward the end of her life.  She was the epitome of grace.

After she spoke, her next duty was to play a piano piece that was one of her mother's favorites...Clair de Lune.  I imagined a proud and pleased mother watching as her daughter's fingers deftly covered the piano keys to bring forth the serene melody.  Of course, her siblings, nieces and nephews (whom she speaks of often in conversations with Pop and me) had roles to play as well but her place was at the piano for most of the service.  She accompanied a soloist (also from our home town) during a beautiful rendition of The Lord's Prayer and also accompanied the home town chorale was during that piece that her music went flying off the piano and as she recovered the music she used the mishap to infuse humor into the situation...once again, grace prevailed.  There was no feeling sorry for her or wondering if she could go on.  Instead, she gave us freedom to laugh and in doing so gave herself freedom to pick up where she left off.  What an incredible woman!  Few could offer that kind of tribute to their parent as they grieved at their passing.

After the service, the family had arranged for cookies and cold drinks in the basement of the church and as folks mingled, I sensed that there was a reunion of sorts happening.  Pop and I sought our our friend and waited as she spoke with other people.  I'm convinced she sees the wonderful things in Pop that I see and she often expresses her appreciation for him when we are together.  She shines.  She glows.  She loves.  When she turned to us, she embraced Pop and cried.  I suspect she had been busy with preparations for the day and had not allowed herself much time for emotion.  I drew near and was welcomed into the embrace as she composed herself.  I will long remember that moment and I understand that she knows Pop is a safe place for emotion.  He understands and doesn't judge.

I teased Pop later that a lot of women seem to cry when they see him.  He protested a bit but knows I'm right.  He can't hide that soft side of his heart from folks...especially folks who look deep into his character and are privileged to be loved by him.  Raising four daughters has developed a softness in him that gives certain people (myself included) a safe place to fall apart and a solid place to stand up again.  I can be strong and brave in the face of catastrophe...until I see Pop...he reads my heart somehow and releases emotions I am sometimes not yet even aware of.  I hope that never changes in my lifetime.  It's good stuff.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Superman at Seven and Celebrating Independence Day

This year's July 4th Celebration was wonderful...only one problem...missing our Indiana kids. No one really talked much about "it"..."it" was just there. I wondered all day what kind of fun they were having and hoped it was a wonderful family time for them as well.  I know they made the most of their time and made some special memories with just their family.  DJ had asked her sisters to give each other an extra hug from her.  I think we are all at the point of ready...ready for them to come home so we can be together.  But that isn't what this post is about.

Pop always goes all out for the Fourth of July at Four Sisters Farm and he went over the top this year.  We were raised in a small Kansas town where the Fourth was done up right.  Each year we enjoyed a big parade with all the kids decorating their bikes up with patriotic decor.  One year, my folks set up my bike like the skirt of Betsy Ross' was so awesome! Pop ran races and chased the greased pig for cash prizes and oftentimes won.  We always had turtles for the "World's Largest Turtle Race" and that makes me miss my Uncle Curt who always rounded up a bunch of turtles.  One year though, when I didn't have a turtle, my friend, Janet who lived in the country let me pick out a turtle from her box of turtles and I won the race that year!  Crazy!  We also enjoyed digging up money from the sandbox, eating free sno-cones, and watching the fireworks display.  It was glorious...they still do it all and our children have experienced some of it as well...which is why Pop and don't wonder what to do at Four Sisters Farm for Independence Day.

This year, we added a HUGE sandbox around an old elm tree.  Pop insisted on adding a bench in the shade for the parents, which is also awesome for kids to jump from into the sand.  It was a big hit with the kids and I played in it some too!  Something about the feel of sand on bare feet takes me back to my childhood.

In addition to the sandbox, Pop created the "Octagon of Doom" which begins with a person walking across a big limb, then a balance beam, crossing the "lava pit", and then balancing themselves all the way around the sandbox frame.  Only a few have completed the treacherous feat! I've tried a few times but haven't done it yet.  Guess I need more practice!


Pop also built a skateboard swing which everyone tried out.  It is awesome!

We played, had our turtle race, dug for money in the sandbox, ate, swam, threw water balloons, ate sno-cones, ate again, celebrated Superman's seventh birthday, and did some fireworks.  Everyone spent the night but Bitty Princess was running a fever and her parents had to take her home...we sure missed them the next morning when we had pancakes for breakfast!

Happy 7th Birthday, Superman and thank You, God that we live in the United States of America and enjoy the freedoms ensured by those who have served in our armed forces. We are so very blessed!