Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 In Review

It is an interesting exercise to look back over the year. Much has happened in my little corner of the world. As a review of 2010 I've chosen a sentence a month from the past year.

My main occupation since the beginning of this new year has been trying to stay warm.

Our winter road trip through the deep south was a wonderful experience. Each day was different from the day before, full of different sights and emotions.

I spent the weekend in the Pennsylvania mountains with forty of my girlfriends. The speaker was my older daughter. She shared her journey of faith with words and music that inspired a room full of women.

It is hard to find words to describe all the emotions involved in watching our grandson become one of the nation's newest airmen. Of course we are very proud of him.

Today I received an email from Iraq.

“HI MOM! happy mothers day i miss you and the family i would like to talk to you soon”

If you had asked me a year ago if Paul could walk a 5K I would have laughed at the improbability of the idea. Saturday Paul was laughing as we all cheered him across the finish line.

It was obvious the our Todd had found the perfect woman to be his wife. Pam adores Todd and is so proud of her soldier. Courtney refers to him as Dad. They are counting the days until he returns home again.Todd called the next morning. For the first time in more than eight years I heard his voice. He sounded so good. I cried.

I have been spending a lot of time with pain since my foot surgery five days ago. Pain just takes over your life and colors everything you see and do.

Sunday I was finally able to get to church. It felt so good to be back.

I saw the doctor this morning for a follow-up appointment. He is quite pleased with my recovery. It will be a little longer than I expected, but I will walk again.

This morning my seventeen-year-old granddaughter Sofie had her keys blessed. Sofie received something quite wonderful when she returned to the church parking lot. She had received a phone call from the admissions office of the University of New Haven. Not only had she been admitted, she was awarded a significant scholarship.

I can walk!

Monday, December 27, 2010

10 Joys of Christmas 2010

We've enjoyed a wonderful Christmas holiday this year. I'll share ten of the joys.

1. Joy one came on Thursday evening. We had just finished a Christmas Eve Eve supper at daughter number 2's home. We were trying not to talk about our young airman because he would not be home for the first time this year. The US Air Force wouldn't let him off. Then the door opened and in walked John. There was much screaming and crying and laughter as we rejoiced that he was home. Our family does love a good surprise.

2. Any grandmother will tell you that getting the whole family together at the same time in the same place is one of life's greatest joys. Here we are posing for a picture for gramma.

3.This year the simple act of walking around my house and being able to help with day's festivities was glorious. Not being able to walk for more than four months makes me very appreciative of my growing mobility.

4. My grandsons the manly men were having such fun together. They do make me smile.

5. My beautiful granddaughters bring us hugs and great joy.

6. Being part of the candlelit singing of “Silent Night” always makes me cry. Sharing it with family and friends makes it seem like a bit of heaven.

7. My husband, who is still a little boy at heart, spent most of Christmas Eve putting together a marvelous marble machine so he would have a toy on Christmas morning.

8.Our daughter adopted a blue-footed-boobie in our name. I love blue-footed-boobies.

9. No Christmas would be complete without festive neon yellow sweatshirts for the whole family.

10.The greatest joy is the love that fills the air and surrounds us all with love that makes us count our blessings and remember who we are. God is good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"What's A Virgin?"

One evening just before Christmas, 1969, I was at the piano picking out some Christmas songs. My six-year-old daughter joined me on the piano bench and we sang together,“Silent night, Holy night, round yon virgin..,” when she stopped singing. She looked at me and asked,”Mommy, what's a virgin?” Ahh, one of those questions every mother looks forward to answering. I said something to the effect that Joseph didn't help Mary get pregnant like daddy helped mommy get pregnant. She looked startled and said, “I didn't know daddy had anything to do with that!” She then seemed to loose interest in the subject and went off to play with her little sister and brothers.

The next day my six-year-old went grocery shopping with me. I was in the check-out lane and she was sitting in the cart's child seat. Just as the clerk began ringing up my order my daughter decided she had one more question. She asked in a loud, clear voice for all the store to hear,”Mommy, just what did daddy do to help get you pregnant?”

That little girl is now the mother of two grown children. I have greatly enjoyed watching her answer their questions.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I can walk!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas 1963

1963 was one of those years when everything in my world changed. I left my full time career as a nurse because I was pregnant. Hospital policy did not allow nurses to work after the second trimester. I became a mother. My husband accepted a job at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. We packed all our worldly belongings into a moving van and sent them off to Maryland. We moved out of our cute little house in Santa Monica and moved back to Whittier where we lived with my parents for the last month of the year. I was so in awe my beautiful newborn daughter that all the big changes going on in my life faded into the background.

Christmas morning I dressed my baby in a cute little red Santa suit. My day revolved around her. She seemed to delight in the Christmas lights. My family all delighted in her. The importance of our impending move across the country had not really sunk in with me. I didn't realize that this would be the last time I would celebrate Christmas with my parents, my brothers and my nieces. I did not realize that my role in life would largely change from being a daughter to being a mother. Two weeks later we left California and flew to Maryland.

The next Christmas I was large with child and my doctor advised against traveling across the country for the holidays. Santa found us in Maryland. Our house filled with children and we always stayed home for Christmas. I missed my California family. Every year when we put up our tree I would call home and exclaim, “ It's the pettiest tree we've ever had!” just as my mom had said every year. Every year on Christmas Eve we would open the big packages that had come from our families and celebrate California Christmas. I would have a few pangs of loneliness. Christmas morning we awoke to the happy squeals of our children as they discovered the pile of goodies brought by Santa. Our children all have wonderful memories of Christmas.

Was there a year in your life when everything changed and you just didn't realize it at the time?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Christmas 1989 & 1990

Some Christmas memories are melancholy and always bring a touch of sadness into the joy of the season.

One Sunday afternoon in early December 1989 we were sitting at the kitchen table when the phone rang. It was my brother-in-law calling from Colorado to tell us that my father-in-law had just died of a heart attack. His death was unexpected. He had been in the midst of a busy retirement and enjoying life. The day before he died he had put up the Christmas tree and gone to a children's party where he had played Santa Claus. That morning they had gone to church. In the afternoon he and his wife had sat down to watch their beloved Broncos play football. She turned to say something and he was gone. We flew to Colorado and drove across the snow covered mountains to be with the family. The mountains were beautiful, with all the small towns twinkling with Christmas lights. It looked like a glittery holiday card. Christmas lights reflecting on the snow always remind me of that drive and my wonderful father-in law. Bill was a good man. We still miss him.

Just over a year later we were again sitting at the kitchen table when the phone rang. This call was from my brother. After a very long, difficult illness my father had died of pneumonia. He had been in a nursing home for five years. His last years were hard. I was expecting the call, but it was still hard to believe that my sweet daddy was gone. We flew to California for the funeral. The church was full of friends and family who came to honor this good man. We flew back home on Christmas eve. My children, my grandchildren, and my mother-in-law were waiting for our arrival so the Christmas festivities could begin. My grandchildren were little and very excited about Santa Claus. It was a hard thing to celebrate that year. The joy and the sadness kept getting mixed up.

We love Christmas, as did our fathers before us. I feel their presence every year as we gather to celebrate the joy of being a family.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Christmas 1975

This time of year is so full of memories of times gone by that on many days I tend to get very nostalgic. Recently I came upon this letter to Santa written by my children in 1975. I cherish the memories of my house full of children.