Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Hundred Little Things and More

Today marks 4 years and 4 months since you left us - 52 months, 224 weeks, 1,580 days. In terms of Eternity, it is just a drop in the bucket of time. Most days, it seems like a lifetime ago. In many ways, it was. Life is different in so many ways now. Memories are marked by what happened while you were still alive and what has  happened since you left.

And there are so many memories. Some are the huge, life- changing ones - weddings, births, anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays; but most of them are the little things. The hundred little things and more. Those moments in time, that make up a day, a week, a month, a year. The hundred little things and more that don't really seem to matter at the time because you take for granted that there will be a hundred more.  And then, one day, there are no more - the memories, the hundred little things, are all that are left.

At first, every single one of them hurt. A hundred little things and more that could bring me to tears, in mere seconds. Tears that would last for hours or sometimes days. They hurt so much, cut so deep, that sometimes I could hardly breath.  While I found it impossible to believe all those memories would ever become more than a reminder of what I didn't have anymore, the painful recollection of what I'd lost, the fact that you were no longer here, in time, they did.  Slowly, ever so slowly, some days, when one of those hundred little things would come to mind, they would bring a smile.

They became a connection between what was, what is, and what is yet to come. They became a reminder of the past, yet at the same time, a bridge to the future. They became a source of joy and hope.  (And, yes, at times, they still brought tears. Sometimes, the tears were still torrential, but more times than not, they were short- lived). They made me grateful - grateful for what we had, the life we built together, the children we had and the men they had become, and the future ahead. They made me more aware - more aware of the hundred little things and more that make up my days, weeks, and months now that will also become a part of who I am. They made me stronger because I know I can go through dark days and still come out the other side. They made me acknowledge the pain and struggles in others and understand in a much deeper way. They made me so much more attuned to both the beauty and the pain that is all around.

But most of all?  They enabled me to see the Grace and Love that God surrounded me with.  I always knew it was there, but it was not until it was all  that was there, that I truly appreciated the depth and the magnitude of His love and grace. I never saw how He covered me with them in a hundred little ways. Not until I was able to see myself through the filter of this unending love and undeserved grace, was I able to extend them to myself and others.

So, thank you. Thank you for the life you lived. Thank you for the many gifts you left behind, for the hundred little things and more that are always in my heart and in my mind and will forever be a part of who I am.  Thank you for the hundred little things and more that let me know you are never far. Thank you for loving the person that I was and helping me become the person I am now. Thank you for the sons you gave me and the father you were to them. Thank you for being here for us, then and now, in a hundred little ways and more.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

To my Sons on Mother's Day

                                                                                                              May 14, 2017

Dear Sons,
This is the 32nd year I have celebrated Mother's Day as a Mom.  In the quiet of the morning I am remembering past Mother's Days and smiling.  I remember the many breakfasts in bed, me lying there, pretending to still be asleep, while you both and your Dad banged and clanged dishes and pots and pans.  I remember the smells of bacon frying and coffee brewing.  I remember the trays of food brought to me in bed that always held at least one flower from the garden.  

I remember homemade cards on construction paper with little hand prints, stickers, wildly colored flowers, and such heartfelt love.  It seemed like the blink of an eye and those homemade cards on the breakfast tray gave way to beautiful purchased cards that you knew would still make me cry. (I know, I know - it is not hard to make me cry.)

I remember the marigolds planted in Dixie Cups, the homemade heart magnets, and all the other treasures you have made for me throughout the years.

Then, I blinked and you were both men,  both taller than me,  both wearing shoes bigger than your Dad's - not my little boys anymore.  Each with your own distinct personalities and your own unique wisdom.

I blinked and one of you were not here for the first time ever on Mother's Day, gone away to college. While I was extremely proud of your choice, I missed you terribly.

I blinked again and the other one of you was not here for the first time ever on Mother's Day, gone overseas to serve our country.    I was also extremely proud of your choice, but I missed you terribly.

Part of me misses those Mother's Days when you were both were so very young and home was your whole world. Part of me misses those days when construction paper cards, breakfasts in bed, and a daffodil picked from the yard were given with such pride and love. I miss those days when you were both small enough to fit in my lap and a kiss and a glass of Koolaid would fix just about anything.  I will forever cherish  those days. Sometimes, they seem like only yesterday.  Some days, it seems like a million years ago.

We've walked some tough roads since those days.  We've had some very hard days, months,and even years.  Some were consequences of our own choices.  Others were paths we never would have chosen, if we had been given the choice. Through it all, the ups and downs, the good and the hard, the joy and the pain,  the chosen and the unchosen,  there were things that remained constant.

We were always there for each other, through the laughter and the pain, one giving strength when the others were weak.  We always knew God was with us, and that He did indeed have a plan, even in what seemed like the darkest of days.

I think most Moms (and Dads) have doubts about their parenting, if they are honest with themselves. Did they do the right things?  Did they do enough of the right things to negate the not right things? Were they available enough? Were they strict enough?  Were they too strict?   I have had all those doubts and many more, but what I can say without any doubt, is that I have loved you both since the very moment I knew you were coming.  I have loved you with a love that is strong and fierce and protective and unconditional.  I am so proud of the men you have become.  You are both faithful, kind, compassionate, loving men.  The world needs more men like you two.

I am so thankful, proud, and yet so humble that God entrusted me to be your Mom.  You both are the reason I get to celebrate this day.

To the moon and back.....