Friday, March 30, 2012

Grandma Goes Home

Some of you may remember this post written a couple of years ago about my grandmother. As we laid my grandmother to rest this week, I have more to say about this beloved and nurturing woman.

In November, my baby and I arrived for 2 weeks and ended up stayed for five months. I saw my grandmother more in the past 5 months than I had in the past 5 years, and I wouldn't have traded this special time for anything. God's timing was perfect, as always. Although it was hard to see her earthly body failing, her spirit was very much alive in her final days, dispensing advice, voicing opinions, and issuing decisive instructions.

We hired a young woman named Cara to help care for her in the mornings. "How do you like Cara?" I asked. Grandma liked her very much, and added an endorsement that made me smile, "She's not annoying at all."

The day arrived when she no longer felt like leaving her bed.

Was this the same lady who spent last summer planting flowers in containers around her garden? The same lady whose eyes still held a spark at my baby shower last September?

Oh, how she loved the Duckling, her first, her only great grandchild. "Where's the baby?" she would ask as soon as I walked in the door. "How is he doing?" She was always telling him she loved him. We all said "I love you" often these past few months.

My grandmother's yard held the most fragrant violets I had ever smelled. My grandfather had troweled them up from the dirt at a place he worked back in the 1960's and replanted them in the fertile former-farmland soil of their home, where the violets multiplied. I looked forward to them every year, violets being my favorite flower. This year I felt like there was a clock ticking. I wanted those violets to bloom so badly so I could dig some up and replant them at our own home, well aware that next year at this time the property might be home to a new family, perhaps strangers. As those delightful purple buds began to bloom, Grandma grew weaker. She grew more tired. Some days she didn't seem like herself. It was hard to see her beautiful garden come to life and she no longer be interested. One recent day, as the violets were in the full bloom, the daffodils past their prime, and the magnolia tree shed its blush colored petals on the ground, she peacefully left this world.

Last year during my awful pregnancy, my sense of smell made life unbearable some days. The only redeeming quality of hyper-olfactory was that I could smell the spring flowers in a new way that I had never smelled before. A lilac bush five hundred feet away smelled like a bouquet under my nose. Flowers that had never had much of a scent before suddenly emanated a deep fragrance and I would often say, this must be what flowers in heaven smell like. Everything smelled heavenly.

I admit that I can't help but wonder what beautiful flowers she might be enjoying now. Ones that make those lovely violets seem inconsequential, and yet they still matter. Because the last five months has served as a reminder of what I always knew. What we do here matters, and our time spent here on earth is only about a few things. It's about a few simple truths that a even a child can grasp. Our mission here is to love and care for one another and glorify God. It's about preparing to meet the Lord and live in his kingdom forever.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Stolen Moments

A large part of my blog has always been homemaking, except for when I tell an occasional story or anecdote. I love home arts, and ever since I could pour water out of a tiny toy tea pot into a miniature tea cup set before a dolly, it’s been one of my main interests. Lately, it’s been difficult to adjust to a schedule that allows any substantial homemaking activities due to the family obligations I’ve described in a previous post. I struggle to find time in my schedule and small ways to learn new things and refine my domestic skills while making caring for others a priority. Can I possibly be the only one who struggles with this? Even if your circumstances aren’t exactly like mine, I’m sure there are busy mothers out there with a sink full of dishes, a mountain range of laundry forming, and a slow cooker in over drive. I just don’t know their names or where they live because they won’t tell me.

Lately, I’ve looked to make a difference in small ways. Here are some homemaking pursuits I’m doing in roughly 15 minutes a day.

Scrapbook-ing. Working on a scrapbook is a great way to both organize your memories while giving you a creative outlet. It’s something I can work on little by little, and when the baby wakes up I can pile everything back into a box so it’s out of the way until next time. Meanwhile, I feel good about making something for our family and recording our precious memories. Making a scrap book is like making a cake. It can be a fancy three-tiered piece of art or a simple vanilla sheet cake. It’s flexible and you can accomplish something lovely without a lot of bells and whistles.

Organizing. This is what ideally I should devote at least 15 minutes a day every day to doing. Baby items can get out of control so quick, and he’s already outgrown one size of clothes. Lately, I’ve been doing some clutter busting using the approach of selling, donating, or giving away items that we no longer need. Some people feel great after shopping, but I feel great when a box of “stuff” disappears from my living space.

Planning Future Projects
. Because I can always dream! Seriously, I'm not "pinning" stuff on Pinterest for my health. I want to spend 15 minutes once a week either working towards a craft or cooking project, or flat out completing one if it's manageable. You know those outgrown baby clothes I mentioned? Well I'm taking the most worn ones, the ones so bad you wouldn't even donate them in good conscious, and am cutting them into squares for a memory quilt some day.

Enjoying Spring. If it's a warm sunny day, nothing will stop me from getting outside and enjoying God's creation. My duckling loves the sights and sounds of this exciting new world, and I love to show it to him. Red breasted robins everywhere, trees blooming, and all the colorful bulb flowers coming to life. Not to mention the exercise. I think if I do nothing else in a single day, this may be the most important and enjoyable chore on my list.

So tell me, how do you as a busy woman find time to manage your home, life, or family? What are your stolen moments?

Friday, March 2, 2012

We Are All Fine Here

“Hello! How are you?”
“Doing good to hear from you.”
“I hear the baby in the background.”
“Yes, that’s him.”
“Is he okay? Do you have to go?”
“No, not yet. He always sounds like that. I’ve got about ten minutes before----”

Fussiness blooms into a scream. The kind of scream babies only get when they are in pain.

“Is he alright?”

We are all fine here.

I need to call that company about the thing. Now where did I put that phone number? It’s upstairs. Climbing stairs. Why is the dryer running? Oh, that’s right. I have something drying in there. That reminds me, I really need to wash that last load. If I don’t do it right now I’ll forget. I’m thirsty. Where did I put my glass? Not up here. What did I come up here for anyway? I can’t remember anything. This is just terrible.

We are all fine here.

I’m standing in the check out line at Target. I’m thankful that Duckling is in a semi-sleep state so I can get in and out without causing the usual scene. As I place my purchases on the conveyor belt, a grandmotherly type comments on my cute baby and attempts to befriend him. For a reason known only to him, Duckling erupts in a horrifying episode, clearly terrified of this kind matron. The lady looks hurt. She has unknowingly approached a high needs baby who does not respond to strangers. “It’s okay, he’s just colicky,” I sigh.

We are all fine here.

My grandmother is wasting away. She has little interest in food and difficulty maintaining her skin and bones physique. There is talk of giving her a pill that will make her hungry, make her want to eat. I’m astounded that such a pill exists. It must be the least popular pill ever invented. I tell the Mister this and he laughs.

We are all fine here.

It’s midnight. The house is dark, quiet. The glow of my laptop screen is oddly comforting, like a nightlight into another world. I break sections off of an imported Swiss chocolate bar and savor the taste. Truth be told, there is not enough cocoa bean harvested to make up for this season of life. Click click click my fingers tap on the keys. There is no crying, no screaming, no phone ringing, no nonsense. An e-mail pops up from a friend. “How are you????”

I am finally fine here.


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