Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 724

May 29, 2015

Day 724


It's been a busy week.  I seemed to spend quite a bit of it on the phone with different organizations, mostly regarding Ben's summer.  Wednesday I had to shoot over to Pella (42 min away if the speed limit is somewhat disregarded) for a meeting about Ben (more on that later).  I did some running around and lots of emailing and David had a birthday.  I had a lot of baking this week...just stuff.


And as the week progressed the cloak began to get heavier and heavier.  I really wasn't doing too bad when I last wrote.  But as June 6th gets closer, I'm feeling it.  I don't like it.  I wanted to be past this this year.


One night this week a friend, who was widowed just a few months before me, sent me a picture of a gentlemen she's kind of gotten interested in on a Christian dating site.  I was enthusiastic in my approval - for her.  At the same time, I was surprised and thought, "Dating?  Already?"  And then I had to remind myself it's been two years.  That's probably long enough to work through a lot of grief stuff.  Why then do I not feel ready to start browsing through sites like that for myself?  Am I hanging onto something that I really should be ready to let go of?


Maybe it's  the timing.  I should probably just assume until the 6th that my mind will not be working the correct way.


Monday was Memorial Day.  Will worked and the guys came and got some stuff done on the house.  When he got home we grilled hot dogs.  Lizzie spied the citronella candles on the deck and wanted to light one.  I told her no, the mosquitos weren't out tonight.  In complete seriousness, she asked, "Why?  Because it's a holiday?"


I went to the chiropractor Wed. and told them about my TMJ.  So they did some work on my jaw.  And now the pain is SO much worse.  I don't know what to do.  I don't know if their work caused the increased pain or if it was just progressing to this point anyway.   Every bite I take hurts.  I'm rubbing in essential oils which help, as do the Advil.  But I can't poison my liver to save my jaw.  The chiropractor explained that my jaw has gotten "off track" which is causing the pain.  I've been to several websites and I see that people talk about having to literally pull their jaws open in the morning with their hands in order to move their mouths.  I sure hope this doesn't get that bad.


Both Will and David have commented in the last week or so about my "laid back" parenting style.  I'm not sure they were intending to be complimentary, although they weren't complaining.  They made mention of this in comparison to other families we know.  I'll take it as a compliment.  I never wanted to be a hyper mother.  Although, really, it depends a lot on the kid.  Lizzie calls me, "strict" and I bet to her, I am.   Both she and Ellie are such loose cannons that I have to keep them on a short leash.  I've never been the type of mom to worry about bed times overly much - for the boys.  But it gets to be 8 pm here, and I start to get giddy.  The count-down to bedtime for the girls has commenced!  If I get them to bed even one minute after 9pm and the girls want a story I say in a fake-sad voice, "I'm so sorry, but not tonight.  It is way, way past your bed-time!"  I'm dreading the day they learn to tell time.


And I think it was last weekend that all 3 of the Littles were outside washing my van, which was fine.  They were having fun and if I ended up with a less-grimy van as a result, I'm happy.  Well, then I went to wash my hands at the kitchen sink and my new bottle of Bath and Body hand soap was missing.  I started hollering about this and eventually, a kid mentioned that was what had been used to wash the van.  I began to hyperventilate, which is silly.  It isn't like the soap is made out of liquid gold or anything.  But when I wash my van I always use dish soap (although I just read you shouldn't do that - it's hard on vehicle paint) so I just assumed that's what the Littles were using.  I was working up into a full-out yell when Will quietly said, "They're just little kids, you know.  They didn't know any better."  Whoosh...that took the steam out of my temper tantrum.  He is so much like his dad.
But anyway, I'm still kind of basking in the glow of being called, "laid back" at least  by some of the kids.  It makes me feel like I've succeeded somewhat!


Tuesday I drove down to Knoxville so I could see Ben in action at his Hy-Vee job before the school year ended.  I guess on his last day they presented him with his very own, real, Hy-Vee badge.  He was so tickled!  I surprised him at the store and got a picture of him sacking groceries.


I got Sam and Lizzie registered for swimming lessons this week.  They'll be at the Pleasantville Country Club.  I had only driven there once before for some football thing for Will.  I didn't realize until I went this week that the country club is located across the street from the city's trailer court!  I don't think you see that very often.  Small town America, I guess!


A couple of men were mowing the grounds when I showed up so they drove over to me and one took the registration inside for me.  The other started talking and asking how my kids were, by name and I was puzzled until it dawned on me that this was Will's football coach for four years until he retired!  He asked, "And how are you doing?" and I about cried because I could sense the sincerity in his voice.  It's so nice to still hear that, this far removed.


I ended up having a last minute meeting at the Christian Opportunity Ctr in Pella on Wednesday afternoon.  I felt bad because it meant I had to leave my house at 2:15, which meant I couldn't wish David happy birthday at 2:28.  He assured me it was fine.  But if we didn't have this meeting that day then Ben would not be able to start COC until probably July, which is silly since he goes back to school at the end of August.  So I went down and to my surprise, his case manager pulls into the parking spot next to me.  I walk into this conference room and it's a table full of people.  They all expressed disappointment that I didn't bring Ben with me.  I explained that he was at Hy-Vee at this time and I didn't want to pull him away from that because it means so much to him.  I'm his legal guardian and can sign anything that needs signing.  So then I rustled through my wallet and came up with a picture of the kids that was taken just after the adoption and showed that to everyone, pointing out who Ben is.  And then one worker, who I think may be a Christian (she just seemed exceptionally gentle and on her wrist she wore a bracelet that read, "fear not") said that she had been reading Ben's file and was just amazed at all our family had been through.  I looked her kind of surprised and she said, "You know, with your husband so unexpectedly dying and then adopting the girls?"  I was astounded that this kind of stuff is in Ben's file.  I have always assumed that any files on him are solely about him.  Although, I suppose anything that happens in the family is bound to have a bearing on his well-being, too.  It just surprised me, though.


I say that, but I am suddenly remembering something that happened years ago when Ben was a preschooler.  His physical therapist left his notebook at our house that had information on his clients.  Being nosy, I opened it up to Ben's page and found a note written by Ben's previous therapist to this  guy who took over.  In the note, the therapist mentioned that Ben's family was "deeply religious."  I remember at the time being a little offended because I thought that made us sound like of cult-like and what on earth did our faith have to do with Ben's physical therapy?  I guess nothing is ever private when you let others into your world.


 So says the girl who blogs nearly every detail of her life on the internet...


COC is definitely unique.  I found out that the board members had to vote on whether or not to allow Ben to be a part of their organization.  Lucky for us, the vote swung his direction, I guess!  Everyone wanted to meet both Ben and me.  It's not like he's moving in yet or anything.  He's only going to be there for one day a week this summer!  I guess they take it all quite seriously.  But, actually, I kind of liked that.  At Genesis, where Ben will also be one day a week, I only know the program director.  I have no idea who else works with him. 


Will has been working in the upstairs bathroom this week, installing a vent.  The workers had already wrapped the upstairs back of the house.  They have not sided it yet because they're going to replace the two windows up there.  Well, when Will cut through the wall to install the vent, he discovered there was no insulation.  It honestly wasn't a huge surprise, but I think we were all hoping to not know this because then it would add time and expense to the siding job.  We froze that first winter here and it didn't take long for Paul to start insulating the entire house.  I do not know how people survived before insulation.  I guess having a non-insulated house was better than living outdoors, so they counted themselves fortunate.


Will came downstairs and said we just couldn't not do something about this.  So he called the contractor himself who agreed that the work should be done.  The contractor called his supplier and within a couple hours, a warehouse from Indianola was delivering insulation and boards.  Will and David spent the afternoon ripping off the 1800s era wood siding and then insulated everything between the studs.   Early that evening my contractor arrived and by nightfall they had the boards on the side of the house.  So it all ended well.


My friend, Jaydeen, was re-diagnosed with breast cancer today.  This just breaks my heart.  A week after Paul died she was first diagnosed and went through a year of treatment.  And then she and her husband fell into serious trouble and separated.  Boy, did I pray for them!  And then God began to knit together the pieces that had unraveled and they came back together this past March.  They've been working so hard to restore what Satan nearly destroyed.  And now the cancer is back.






Wed. night was our end-of-the-year Patch party.  I was up to my eyeballs in baking both Tues. and Wed.  Not only did I need to bring treats for the party, but I had to bring treats for the youth group for David's birthday and then I had to make his cake and birthday supper.  He has asked for pineapple upside down cake for several years in a row now.  This year he got the brainy idea to put strawberries in the middle of the pineapple rings and then top with Reddi-whip.  It was actually very good.  I think we may have to make it this way every time.


My cute cupcakes
I wanted to do something special for the kids so I found this idea on Pinterest that involved making cupcakes and decorating them in  beach scenes using teddy grahams and gummy life savers, goldfish crackers, graham cracker crumbs, and tiny umbrellas.  Boy, was it time consuming!  But they turned out so cute.  No cupcake was alike.  Some had little bears laying out in the sun, some had bears frolicking in the water.  Some were both beach and water scenes...I outdid myself.


But for all that effort, I never sensed that my Patch kids were all that impressed.  The only thing I heard were complaints if someone else got an umbrella on their cupcake and they didn't.  Really? 


Sam's creation, post Jaws-like attack
But, I did get a kick out this: I saved three cupcakes so the Littles could make their own masterpieces.  I had to run down Pville and they worked on them while I was gone.  When I came home, I found Sam's.  He had crawled up on the counter and found some red decorator's sugar.  Then, he broke some teddy bears in half and created this grisly beach scene of utter destruction.  Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard.  He is SUCH a boy!


Will leaves Sunday for camp.  I am so sad about this.  I do not remember feeling this way last year.  But surely, I must have.  I am wondering, though, if it's actually sad feelings about the upcoming anniversary that I'm transferring to this event.  I'll only see him a couple of times this summer - one of those times will be next Friday or Saturday, so it's not like I have to wait all that long.  I just feel like he is slipping away.


Which is exactly what is supposed to happen at this stage of life.  He will be 21 later this year, after all!  He's a man and he's looking toward a future where I'll be in the periphery.  It's the natural cycle of life and a way to ensure that mankind propogates itself and hopefully, gains an ability to care for their parents at the end of their lives.


It's supposed to work this way.  It's natural.  It's normal.  It's what I want.


But I'm his mom.  And he was my first.  And as Abba sang a few decades ago, he's "slowly slipping through my fingers."  It's the slipping that hurts.


Marcia came over this week.  We were talking about widowhood.  Well, I was talking - she was listening.  She then made a comment that I have been really  mulling over ever since.  She said, "You know, Sarah, your problems in life are not because you're widowed.  If you were married, you'd still have problems.  They'd just be different ones."  Boy, do I know that!  I haven't forgotten that I was married to a sinner.


As was he.


She went on to explain that our problems in life are what the Lord uses as refining tools.  In my case, right now, that's widowhood.


The whole conversation both encouraged and depressed me.  I felt depressed because I like to think that I just need to "conquer" this widow thing - work through all the angst and loneliness and heartache and eventually, it will be smooth sailing once again.  Often, it's tempting to think that a second marriage would do that for me.  It's not uncommon, actually, for the widowed to jump prematurely into such situations for that very reason, among others.  It's somewhat discouraging to realize that we still live in an imperfect world.  No matter our circumstances, there are always going to be times of refinement. 


Ugh.  And I still have a good 40-50 years left yet to live.


But I was encouraged, too, because if widowhood is not the reason I am going through stuff, if it is not the cause of my distress, then perhaps a day will come when I really will be okay, despite my status and situation as a widow.


 A couple things pop into my head.  I remember shortly after Paul died writing here on my blog that a Christian's goal in life is never to be that of happiness.  Of course, being human, it's what we hope and strive for.  But that was never part of the salvation deal.  Our ultimate aim in life is holiness.  And how is this attained?


Through refinement in times of distress - the chipping away of all that is impure and an impediment to being a vessel that shows the light of Jesus.


One of my favorite verses has always been John 16:33.

In this world, you will have many troubles.  But rejoice, for I have overcome the world!


The assurance of tribulation is right there.  It is unavoidable.  We live in a fallen, sin-sick world and as a result, we will always encounter difficulty!  But in the end, the victory is ours.  It was secured at Calvary. 


This is what it means to have a secure hope.


All only temporary.




























1 comment:

  1. I am not going through this, of course. I can't even imagine going through this. But what I THINK at this point is that if I lost my husband, I would never want to remarry. Of course, that's not the right attitude. The right attitude should be -- I want whatever God wants and if he wants a second marriage, than let it be. I remember Elizabeth Elliot (whose first husband died at the hands of the Auca Indians) saying she thought she was a "one man woman" and then she got married 2ce more! Second husband died of cancer, 3rd husband is younger than her (a bit) and is caring for her in her old age. I probably said all this before at some point because it hit me so hard. We SO need to follow God's lead in every way, even when it is uncomfortable. May God give you wisdom in this!