June is always a special month for our family as we celebrate four birthdays (out of seven) and our anniversary. This year is our 40th anniversary which is a milestone. Every family has milestones and though some bring joy and some sorrow, our Father walks with us through each one.
Last week we met in Orlando with our son’s family and were anticipating a few days of memory making. However, due to Tropical Storm Colin, the memories were not quite what I was expecting. Instead of watching our grandchildren experience the wonders of Disney, we were able to spend lots of indoor time with each other! What a joy! Our oldest turned 10 years old so for his birthday we gave him his first “leather” Bible with his name on the front. Watching his reaction to that Bible was a delight to my heart. He asked his dad where to start and they decided on Mark. He perched himself in a corner every day and excitedly began his journey reading through Mark. There were fascinating discussions, pretty good questions and insightful 10 year old responses to Jesus. Those are memory makers at its best. Of course, there were also a few times of water park fun that were precious as we watched three delighted children enjoy each other. While sitting in a lounger, I felt so grateful for the gift of parenthood and grandparenthood are stages in our life of trials, joys and growth and our Father has been and will continue to be there through it all.
After returning from Florida, I had one day before I drove to Memphis to experience another stage of family: an elderly parent. My mom has been having progressive difficulties this past year and it came to the point that she needed to be moved from independent living to assisted living. Unlike the previous week of experiencing family joy and wonder, this has been an experience of grieving and sadness. I grieve the passage of time that has taken my mom from a vibrant, energetic, active woman to one who is being asked to downsize to one room so others can take care of her. It’s a very difficult transition for her and breaks my heart to watch. I go through her closet with her and hear how significant some dress is because it is one my dad gave her, or another suit she was wearing when she taught a specific class. History . . . so much history . . . so many life experiences and memories. I feel so grateful for the gift of being her daughter and our Father has been and will continue to be there through it all.