This Christmas

She stood just to the right of her Mom’s wheelchair, her Dad on the other side, joining us as we sang a handful of Christmas carols.  When we got to White Christmas, she started tearing up, I imagined that she was having trouble singing, “may your days be merry and bright . . .” Having a loved one in a nursing home, regardless of how nice the facility is, is difficult, especially during the holidays.

As our choir broke up and people wished the residents a Merry Christmas, I went up to her and asked if I could give her a hug.  With that hug, I tried to convey that I understand, I feel her pain, that she’s not alone.  Though I wanted to offer some words of comfort, I didn’t know what to say and even if I did, the lump in my throat wouldn’t have let me say it. 

Is this her first Christmas without Mom at home?  Does she feel guilty that her Mom is in a home instead of at home?  Does her Mom know who she is?  Does she recognize her when she comes to visit? 

Singing is not my gifting.  While I can sometimes carry a tune, it’s pretty inconsistent. I often vacillate between singing alto or soprano and I don’t have a clue about harmonizing. This is pretty disappointing considering I come from a musical family.  But I didn’t go along with the group from New Song Community Church to showcase my talent, I went because it’s something I would want people to do for my loved ones. 

Music is such a great way to connect with people – there were very few residents that weren’t singing along or smiling as we sang.  It was only for an hour, but I was so grateful to be a part of a multigenerational group of people who went to bring a little Christmas cheer to people who might otherwise have had a quiet or possibly lonely Friday night.

And to the woman standing next to her Mom, I pray a special blessing for you and your family this Christmas.

A Slow December

This has been one of the most laid back holiday seasons I’ve had since my kids were little.  Most of my shopping was done the first week in December and I even had a chance to bake cookies and make the traditional buckeyes early in the month so it could be something to be enjoyed instead of a frantic rush to just get it all done before Christmas. 

Buckeyes

There have been visits with extended family members and of course, trips to Tecumseh Bread & Pastry.  Thankfully doing chores, playing ball with Hannah, and helping with the kid’s remodel seems to be keeping me from gaining too much weight despite all the holiday treats.

Several inches of snow have fallen, especially on the west side of the state, but it hasn’t kept me from attending events like the grandkids Christmas program.  My daughter-in-law sang a beautiful rendition of Noel that moved me to tears – I so wanted to record it, but my phone is being extremely temperamental. 

The Littles singing Away in a Manger

You can just see Ben in the picture as well, playing the drums.

Great Christmas Pageant!

Life hasn’t been all puppies and rainbows – when I tried to update my google analytics on the blog, this happened and I had to call tech support to get it up and running again.  It’s possible that I did allow myself to get a little stressed out about it.  I mean, what if someone actually wanted to read something I wrote and all they saw was my fatal error?

Fatal error: Can’t use function return value in write context in /home/content/p3pnexwpnas08_data01/35/2559135/html/wp-content/plugins/googleanalytics/class/Ga_Admin.php on line 106

Perhaps the best part of the last few weeks has been ordinary moments like this.

Who doesn’t love Legos?

It’s hard to admit, but I haven’t always been present in the moment – even moments like this with the people I love. I’m often thinking of all that there is to do and moving on to the next thing.  Slowing down has been hard, but I’m learning to sleep more, rest more, and simply be here, truly experiencing what I’m doing right now.  I think I might be on to something.

Dreams Can Come True

There were two things that I hoped would happen when I retired – that I would be able to spend more time outdoors and that I would have the opportunity to do more physical activities and not spend my day sitting at a desk answering emails. 

Now, in my dreams, the outside part always happened when it was 80 degrees outside and the physical part was doing some weeding or tromping around the sixteen acre farmstead.  Reality has been somewhat different as this past weekend found me on the west side of the state of Michigan, just in time for the first big snowstorm of the season.

snow-storm

On Sunday I shoveled the walk a few times, trying to stay ahead of the storm that was dumping inch after inch of fluffy white snow.  The last time I went out was around eleven pm and it was so beautiful – I had forgotten what it’s like when everything is covered with snow: trees, houses, roads, and the reflection from all that white makes it seem like it’s almost daylight.  I know it’s always looked like this, it’s just that for several years, I haven’t taken the time to notice it.

The reason I was up so late shoveling snow was because I had been assisting my son and his wife with a demolition project.  Once all the grandkids were in bed and asleep, we ripped out drop ceiling tiles and framing and two subfloors that were covering beautiful wood floors. 

wood-floors

There’s something so enjoyable and satisfying about the demolition process, but my favorite memory is of my daughter-in-law.  This woman is so creative – she paints, crochets, sews, and is always coming up with something new and beautiful for her home or her family.  Which is why it was so awesome watching her attack the framing for the drop ceiling with a sledgehammer.  She got it done! 

Between all the demo work (once the ceiling tiles were out, my job was mainly to remove the debris from the house to their storage shed until it’s time to put everything in a dumpster come spring), the shoveling, and watching the grandkids for several hours so the kids could get out to a couple of Christmas parties, I’ve done more physical labor in the past four days than I’ve done since the great dumpster fill of July 2016

The work was hard and I’m tired and hurting pretty good right now, but seeing my dreams become reality is a beautiful thing.  Being able to help my kids, my parents, and others and spending more time with my grandkids brings me a satisfaction that I haven’t felt in a while.  It’s helping me to be present in the moment and fully experience what’s happening instead of just cramming more stuff into an already full schedule, trying to multitask but in reality doing everything haphazardly and poorly. 

There’s more I’d like to say on the subject, but it’s all I can do to keep my eyes open long enough to get this post sent out into the world.  This kind of tired is the best kind of tired.