Tuesday, May 14, 2013

3 beautiful things

Haven't done a 3 beautiful things post in a long time. It's time today.

1. lilac bushes in full bloom
2. a birthday serenade from the high school choir
3. the hug I get from my friend, Ruth, when she greets me.

So many other things that were moments of beauty today, too. Am grateful.

...may there be mercy and appreciation when moments of beauty come my way.


And a happy birthday to me! 

I love birthdays and we are celebrating all month. 

...may there be mercy in choosing to enjoy the life given

Monday, May 13, 2013

blown away by love

Yesterday I received a card that surprised and touched me so deeply. It was my first ever Mother's Day card, reading partly as follows:

Thank you for all that you do.. love, care, share, pray, worship, work, sing, treat, smile, hug, bring joy, laughter, and comfort. and tons of encouragement... thank you so much for loving me, always listening to me and encouraging me. I love you so much.


did I say wow?

So blown away by the gift of love given me by my young friend who told me I am considered her adopted mama.

When I have been so mired in the dark places of life this last length of months, (okay, 2 years). this gift of love shines the purest light of God's love deeply into my spirit, lifting me up into places that feel like the verse that says "her children will rise up and call her blessed." (Prov 31:28)

Again I say, wow.

...may there be mercy in the sweetness of the gifts of love.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

a little this, a little that

Random thoughts...

work:  I have finished training our new Recording Clerk. She's bright, has experience with documents, well organized, detail oriented and is rockin' the job. Already she works on her own for hours at a time, only asking me a couple questions here and there. It's awesome to be able to do my own job full time again!

Well, full time and then some as I've been working quite a bit of overtime trying to get a handle on how far behind my desk got while I covered the other job so much. Between vacations, (mine and the now retired person's), sick time and Fridays, there were quite  few weeks this year wherein I only worked my own desk a couple days a week. Those days would be spent putting out fires, but not making any headway into the mess.

I'll work a little more overtime during the next 10 days, but then I'll take a break.

vacation:  yes, one week at the end of this month and two weeks in July. Not to mention the week at the end of the year. Happy!!  Officially, I get 3 weeks per year, plus one personal day. Since I generally butt my vacation time up against holidays, I can end up with the appearance of 4 weeks of time off. Sweet, really sweet.

This month, I'll have a combination of down time and a brief surprise visit to see Mama. It's fun to surprise her. Plan is to have my sister distract her, then I'll knock on the door and ask if she has the coffee on. Can't wait!

the Man:  also working overtime, which makes time together even more precious. His birthday is next week, but he hasn't mentioned any particular gifts of interest. We may just go for nice dinner next weekend. I may find him something fun at the Train Museum in San Diego. He may actually come up with something. Who knows? At least we still like hanging out together, eh?

family: am quite concerned about brothers, and for each of them in a different way. Al just turned 63, but a recent picture of him shocked me at how much older than that he appears. Jerry isn't yet fully recovered from his accident last year. Buddy is a walking skeleton looking for his next drug fix.   There are days that I wonder if any of them will make it to see Christmas this year. 

Deb is working at a new job and loving it. So happy for her! Mama is struggling with the issues of being elderly with bankruptcy and post-cancer treatments. 

me:  today, I'm tired. Lack of sleep, which feels all too common right now, combined with the overtime and a lot of emotion. I'm actually doing okay, with the exception of not making enough time for taking better care of myself. I've skipped my workouts for about 10 days now, not good for my physical or emotional health. Tomorrow I go back to working out when I get up. Although the getting up time will be much later than my usual 5 a.m. 

And I'm wishing for more time to be knitting.

...may there be mercy and comfort in the random, normal bits of life.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

short and sweet

The last 2 blog posts were terribly long. That's not going to become the norm here. Only at times!

This post is just to show I can write something short and sweet. :-)

Today we went on an old style Sunday drive. Cameras in hand, letting adventure and whimsy take us where it would.

We discovered that there is a little, old cemetery nearby. It's a few miles down a back country road, hidden from mainstream traffic. Some of the headstones are hard to read, but on closer inspection I find birth dates in the 1800's.

I get lost in the names, the dates and the making up of their stories in my head.

Finding myself talking to some of them, asking what happened in their short lives.

Wondering how they lived so long in times much different than these.

Since the Man was waiting for me, I said an early good bye, with a promise to return soon.

...may there be mercy in marking of the history of lives gone before.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

sweet tears, precious gifts

This afternoon I had taken off my glasses to do something and as I reached for them to put them back on, I noticed they had tear stains on them. Again.

If you know me at all, you know how very much I hate to cry. It’s a messy, unpleasant process and it gives me a headache. It feels awful to do, it feels awful to sit in the emotions. Not to mention that one cannot be any kind of pretty when crying. It just isn’t possible with a variety of liquids running down one’s face and mascara smudged all around the eyes.

Okay, that last part was my vanity talking. I know. I keep working on that vanity thing.

And I know that I judge myself much more harshly than I would ever consider for anyone else. That whole “we are our own worst critics” thing comes heavily into play. With anyone else’s tears, I am fully able to love and support and encourage, or simply sit being a witness to their story.

This week I had several opportunities to be on the receiving end of loving, supporting, encouraging, and simply being a witness to my story.

Hate to have cried so many times this week. Just hate it. It was really hard, but I know, so necessary.

The first 2 weekends in May are always extra hard for me. Mother’s Day looms large, hitting my emotions squarely with an in-your-face taunt of all things taken out of my grasp, of pain and regret in the realm of wishing we could have done more to have a child in our home, of big dreams that have died.

Hiding this pain has become a way of life for us. Since just about everyone has children, and many of our friends are moving into being grandparents, there is no frame of reference, no true comprehension of how very different our lives are from theirs. There isn’t an understanding of how it actually does get harder for us at times, and not easier, with hearing about the varying stages of life, the firsts that they get to celebrate, the growing stages, the difficulties of parenting toddlers and teens, the fun of planning college dorm rooms and weddings, the joy in the anticipated arrival of a new grandbaby, the knowledge that they will have someone to care for them as they age.

We miss out on much with other folks. Many times we hear about the fun things that they all did together, but they didn’t think we’d be interested since we don’t have kids. Much of the time, it is something we would have enjoyed immensely, even without small people of our own, just the being together in community would be nice. Or even the thought of an invitation to join in. It’s a feeling of exclusion and of not being good enough in and of yourself, as if we are lacking something, somehow, and just can’t measure up.

But there is still a boatload of nurturing love in my heart for kids and young people. Love that needs to be expressed.

So I’ve spent much of my life investing love into other people’s children. Spending time with them, listening to their woes and joys, their normal, everyday lives. Encouraging them, sympathizing with them, loving them, becoming auntie-c to them. The one who isn’t one of their parents, but who loves them deeply and without reservation.

There is a level of sweetness to life that comes when we can be involved in a child’s life, no matter who the child is. And yes, I’ve tasted that sweetness, savoring the delicious moments of a spontaneous hug coupled with the words, “I love you, auntie-c” from precious little ones, teens and young women into whose lives I’ve been invited.

Precious, treasured moments. Snugged safely in the banks of my best memories.

And then, the little one goes back to Mommy, the teen back to her parents and the young woman back to her life and her own family.

And I go back to wishing for someone to call me Mama.

This week, I talked with my counselor about finding ways to parent without being a parent. About what I’ve done with that for so much of my life. How it still isn’t enough for my heart since they still go home to someone else, the someone else who gets to be Mama.

We talked about how no one really gets that I actually am Mama, but my children are not here. In 1984 and again in 1997, I miscarried. Since I believe that life begins at conception, I also believe that my longed for children are waiting for me in heaven. It will be amazing to finally see them and hold them.

It’s hard not having them in this life.

And as we talk, my counselor tells me that he actually does have a level of understanding of my pain - they had miscarriages. They were unable to carry a child to term. They eventually adopted. But in the midst of it all, they also knew that they were parents. Mama and Daddy to children they would have to wait to hug.

As I realized how much understanding was on the other side of this conversation, I discovered there were tears on my face. Tears that reflected my pain, yes, tears for their story, yes. And yes, tears for the affirmation and understanding that I am Mama.

Dangit, but I hate to cry. It was really hard to sit with these emotions and to talk about them. But it was good. It was important. It was helpful in the healing process.

As I left my counseling session, I tucked my emotions and my tears safely back inside. Or so I thought.

Going about my normal life, the next day had a lunch date to celebrate birthdays with a young friend. The month of May brings a ton of birthdays for friends, for family and also for both the Man and me.

My young friend turned 20 last week. She’s a gorgeous young woman, full of life and joy, and so very normal in her challenges and dreams. We talked nonstop about a young man that has caught her interest. They are friends for now, but they are talking about the possibilities of a dating relationship at some point since they both recognize there are feelings between them. They both have high standards about their faith and about their individual relationships with God being most important. It was a fun conversation.

And then…she gave me a priceless gift.

It was a moment of encouraging her to learn to be friends with guys, of counsel about having not only dating relationships, but friendship with them, and of the importance of keeping her family close,

As I do with all my young friends, I reminded her to keep her parents close, that she has only one Mama and Daddy forever. At that point, she reached over and took my hand, saying “and one adopted Mama”.

Precious, treasured word, spoken with absolute love and certainty…  to me.


Oh, wow, to me.

I soaked that loving moment in deeply as she went on to tell me that she has always felt like I was her adopted mama, much closer to her than an auntie.

Yes, tears running down my face again. Still I hate to cry, but I noticed that these were sweeter tears that tasted not of sorrow, but of love.

I’m still sipping at that memory cup, savoring the deliciousness of it. Taking it deep in my heart, knowing it will probably be the only time here on earth that it comes to me. Deeply grateful that God brought me this amazing young person who looks at me as an extra mama in her life.

And then God gave me another sweet gift of something a mother of daughters gets to do.

One of my coworkers has a daughter who is a senior this year. This young friend shares my love of shoes, fashionable clothing, and being a very girly-girl. Since her mother doesn’t care much about such things, she calls on auntie-c to shop with her. Over the years, we have had such fun finding cute clothes and shoes for her, and for me.

Today is her senior prom. She asked me to go with her to get her nails done.  

It’s a little thing, getting your nails done before prom, normal and part of the fun of getting ready for that big event. Not something that really jumps out as a gift in life.

But it really is something that would normally be done with either her friends who are also going to prom, or her mama.

Something that a mama would savor in the joys of moments in her child’s life and in the sweetness of memory later.

She wanted me to go with her. And her mother thought it was a fabulous idea. Now granted, her mother is not into pretty nails and all that froo-froo.  And she did  go with her daughter to get her hair done in an updo. 

But I know that it would have been a happy morning of mother-daughter time that was graciously given to me. 

When I picked up my young friend this morning, she had that sparkle in her eyes. The sparkle that says she was anticipating a fun time with me, her auntie-c, and then the fun of getting all dressed up to go out with a really nice guy to a big event in her young life.

Oh, the laughter and silly fun we had today. We got iced coffees at Starbucks. We fussed over color vs French and what would go best with her dress. (French, with a very elegantly understated design on the ring fingernail) We picked up the boutonnière, delighted with how well they matched the color of her dress in the flowers.

She and her mother gave me a sweet taste of what I would have had with a daughter here.

Driving home after I dropped her off, happily showing off pretty hands to her parents, again there were sweet tears running down my face. Again, tasting not of sorrow, but of love.

Mother’s Day continues to loom large, and the emotions associated with that day don’t just automatically go away. But I’m deeply grateful for these priceless gifts. 

In my heart, it feels like God sprinkled a little extra love down on me and gave me my own personal Mother’s Day.

…may there be mercy in the shedding of sweet tears

If you are newer to my blog, and don’t know anything about our childlessness, there are a couple blog posts from a few years ago that speak to our story.