Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Worthy

The best part of this Christmas was the day before.
On Christmas Eve morning, we gave the kids a bath and dressed them in their fancy clothes much earlier than we normally would of because we had a date with my Grandma.
In October, my Grandma underwent emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot doctors found the day after her 81st birthday. Since then, she has been slowly recovering, moving around to different facilities and undergoing continual physical therapy and speech therapy.
We haven't gotten to see her since her surgery because the kids have been sick and timing hasn't worked out, but everything fell into place on Christmas Eve and everyone got to come and visit her.
I was a bit nervous.
Right after the surgery, Grandma was partially paralyzed, couldn't speak, couldn't recognize anyone, and was in bad shape. I knew she had improved since then, but wasn't sure what to expect.
I was also nervous about how the kids would respond.
My children are blessed to know all of my grandparents, as well as some of Bryan's and so I didn't know how they would react to the changes in Great Grandma Hunter.
Frilly dresses rustled as the girls raced to push the handicap door openers, and I was thankful that the  lobby smelled of Christmas instead of nursing home.
My mom had gone in before us to get Grandma, whom she'd found roaming the halls in her wheelchair, decked out in her familiar sage green hummingbird sweater.
I breathed a small sigh of relief because she looked better than I expected and was instantly so excited to see us. She reached out for each of us, trying to hold us all at once. She stroked the big red bows on the girls' dresses and they shed their coats and twirled for her. Judah (dressed as Santa) received the greatest doting, as he was instantly in her lap.
We wheeled Grandma over next to the Christmas tree and the girls led us in "Away in a Manger" and "Go Tell it on the Mountain." Grandma LOVED the singing and tried to sing along, even though the words she sang didn't match ours. I could tell she recognized the songs and wanted to sing along as best she could. We spent some more time doing puzzles with her, but it was a short visit, as she tires quickly.
Leaving was hard. She got mad when we wheeled her away from the girls, and it was clear that she did not want to go, but also clear how exhausted she was. I took Cayden and followed my mom pushing Grandma back to her room. Grandma was frustrated, we think because she wanted to say a proper goodbye. She's not the type to take a goodbye sitting down. Every goodbye I've ever had with her has included a hug at the door, standing. But today was different.
The only person at her level was Cayden.
My girl leaned in to give Grandma a hug goodbye and they just clung to each other. Grandma looked up at me with tears as if to say, "This is what I needed."
I lost it.
Sitting there embracing both my sweet 81-year-old grandmother and my sweet 5-year-old daughter, the tears came as a witness to this special moment. It was a long hug. Count right now to 30 seconds. That's an eternity for a hug...and I had worried how my kids would react.
After Cayden, I hugged Grandma myself and my mom reassured her that she would be back the next day to take Grandma to my aunt's house for Christmas.
We could hear her chanting the word she repeats over and over again, fading as we walked away from her room.
"Worthy, worthy, worthy..."
This is the word she greeted us with, repeated the whole time we were there, and even sang at times. She can say about 5 words now, but overwhelmingly, she says "worthy" over and over. Her inflection will change to match what she's trying to communicate, even baby talking "worthy, worthy," to Judah.
When we got to the car, Cayden asked, "Why does Grandma always say 'worthy?'"
I wondered the same thing. Why that word?
It didn't take me long to think of an answer that made sense to me.
"I think it's because she saw Jesus."
"Huh?"
"I think when she was having surgery on her brain, she saw Jesus, maybe in a dream, and now all she can say is 'worthy' because Jesus is so beautiful and the only one worthy of our praise."
For a woman who has lived her life to tell others about Christ's love and sacrifice, I can't imagine it is coincidence that the one word God has enabled her to say with gusto is "worthy."
Thank you, Grandma, for reminding me, yet again, of our Father's love for us, and for giving me an opportunity to communicate that love and awe to my daughter. You are still touching our lives and making this world a better place.

"Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
His greatness no one can fathom"
Psalm 145:3

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I told you so

Is there anything more selfish than saying, “I told you so?”

Usually, this phrase follows the failure of someone else.

And in saying, “I told you so,” instead of lifting that person out of their failure (like Jesus would), I am choosing to wallow in their failure and remind them how much wiser I am.

Oftentimes as a mom, I find myself using some form of this phrase under the guise of creating a teachable moment for my children.

“I told you not to touch that burner!”

“That’s what happens when you pick your nose too much!”

“I knew you would trip with your shoes on the wrong feet!”

For some reason, in those moments when I’m frustrated (because I DID warn them about these things, and I AM smarter than them), my gut reaction is to scold them and remind them how smart I am. I like to think that the root of my scolding is because I so desperately want them to stay safe without burned hands and bloody noses, but is “I told you so” the best I can do as a mom?

No.

The first words out of my mouth don’t need to be a reminder of what I told them.

The first words out of my mouth need to be addressing the pain caused by their failure or bad decision.

The first words out of my mouth need to give life.

That means stuffing down the first (selfish) thoughts that come to my head and asking, “Are you okay? How can I help?”

Maybe later, after the knees have their bandaids, we can discuss the benefits of wearing shoes on the right feet, but the attitude of “I told you so” just teaches my children to react with selfishness instead of with compassion.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Rain

Yesterday, my girls were playing in the pool with the neighbors in the front yard. When I woke up this morning to rain, I thought, yep...that makes sense.
It rained last June 2, as well.
It didn't just rain, it poured.
And it made sense on a day that didn't make much sense.
Last June 2, Bryan and I calmly drove the 8 minutes to the hospital, pressed the 4 on the elevator and were quietly escorted to a room without an incubator where moms come to deliver babies that never give first cries. Down the hall from the rooms where my girls entered this world, I took the pills to induce my labor to deliver our 14-week-old son, whose heart was no longer beating. All day, I stared out the window, looking down on a little garden being drenched by a surprise June rain storm.
At 6:06pm, Hunter Hope finally arrived, and life will never be the same.
Hunter's story is posted earlier in this blog, but today I want to just be reminded that he was and will always be a precious part of our family.
Also, I want to share that God has blessed us with another pregnancy.
Due in 23 days, this June baby is much prayed over, much loved and much anticipated.
We are waiting to find out gender, so this will be a very new experience for us.
Please be praying for peace in my heart over the next month as we rest in the knowledge that Christ's love and sacrifice serves as the anchor for our soul, despite our circumstances.