Saturday, September 30, 2006

Thoughts of Christmas

Every year, my sister & I undertake the yearly trip to visit our parents five hundred miles away. Most times we drive (actually, I drive as my sister does not). The first half of the trip ends in spending the night in a motel - and then I drive us the rest of the way in the morning. This trip usually takes place in October, mainly to take advantage of decent weather (they live in Oshkosh, WI - have you EVER experienced their winters...!?!?!?!???) and to get a "freebie" federal holiday. Working for the federal government, I try to take advantage of those holidays and work time off around at least two of them a year. To save a little on postage, we take our Christmas gifts with us - and leave them with the folks to distribute to each other and to our brother & his wife on Christmas morning.

So, this afternoon I spent three hours shopping with my sister in preparation for our October trip.

Christmas shopping is a very serious endeavor. One either finds THE perfect gift - or settles for something else - or as the patience wears thin - settles for anything. Where do these people come from that boast of loving to shop?? I have serious doubts about their sincerity. After thirty minutes of cruising the aisles, my feet begin to ache, my head hurts and everything on the shelf starts to look alike. After thirty-two minutes, I convince myself that anything put in the basket is THE perfect gift. After thirty-five minutes, I look for the shortest line and figure that a gift certificate added to the things in the cart will be just fine. Our parents have everything they could possibly desire ... how could we possibly get them anything they already don't have - or could get for themselves?

In retrospect, I think of how I start each new year with the same promise ... every Christmas present will be handmade - right down to the card & wrapping paper. By March, I start planning. By June, I buy just the right supplies for the project. August, I start the grand search of where I stashed those supplies. October, I finally find the supplies. By November, I've got a start on one project. December, I admit defeat and start attacking the stores. This is probably THE main reason why I came up with the idea in our family to exchange names among the adults for Christmas.

I think this year will be different. Every Christmas present in 2007 will be bought by Easter. I think I can handle that one. I'm sure if I'm careful enough, the gift I buy around Easter time will be just fine for the name I get in the name exchange sometime in October or November.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Being Grandma....

Today I'm spending the evening with our grandson. He's almost 2 years old - and one of the smartest young men I've ever met. What a joy it is to watch him examine everything! Now I wonder - did I appreciate the moments when our children were small? I hope so - and I hope they remember good times.

The relationship between grandchildren and grandparents is extraordinary. As a grandparent, you have all the flexibility in the world. You can choose to be wonderfully foolish. You now have the time to cuddle, get on the floor and play with legos, and listen with 100% attention to every word spoken by the grandchild. Simply - I love it.

The closer I get to retirement, the more I will love having that extra time. And I pray that I have the chance to spend a lot of it with our grandson or granddaughter. I hope they look back and remember the grand times they had with their grandma and grandpa.

Thanks God for proving two wonderful children - two wonderful soul mates for the both of them - and creating these two miraculous grandchildren. Once again, You have blessed us beyond all our expectations.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

10 September 2006

Tomorrow marks five years. There will never be a time that the world does not picture destruction, chaos and anger when "nine-one-one" is spoken. I was on my way to the Dayton International Airport with our son. He had joined the Air Force Reserves and that day was his departure to San Antonio, home of the famed "Basic Training". His dad was going to join us at the airport to see him off.
We were about halfway there when the phone rang. Our daughter had been watching the news - and the rest is history. Our son's departure was delayed - and the world became so very different. And still today I hear we shouldn't be over there. I just don't get it. What is it that it not understood? The land we claim to love was attacked - thousands of Americans died just by going to work and doing their job - and we shouldn't be over there?

I woke up with these thoughts this morning - on a Sunday morning, barely 6:30am. I would much prefer to wake up with more pleasant thoughts - such as, hmmm - Sunday, what things can I do after Sunday and my famed Sunday nap...

From my desk, I can watch the sunrise out of our 6th story window. We live in a high rise apartment - a first for husband & I. By some miracle, we managed to snag a 6th floor one bedroom apartment, all of 830+ square feet of it. Small? Yes, if I think of the 4 bedroom home we had for 26+ years we sold about 2+ years ago. Cozy here? You bet. It makes one very creative with the space provided. I would very much like to move to a 2-bedroom someday. But for now - this is home and every day when I leave & come back, it welcomes me warmly.

I've been reading our son's blog since day one - and I am amazed. He and his wife bought their first home - a condo. It needs some work (flooring and painting) and he's been writing of their progress. There's such insight this young man has. A husband, a father, a provider - and he's still our son.

I never really gave much thought to how dear husband & I should be raising both our children other than to always make sure we had time for them. Husband traveled a lot with his job (and still does) so that particular area fell to me most times. But even with all husband's traveling, we always managed to go together for most of the basketball games, the soccer games, Little League games, dance performances... My husband has a little saying written on a small piece of paper that's posted to his desk..... Time cannot be replaced. Now when I read our son's blogs, I have little to worry. While we may have made some mistakes raising our children (who hasn't?), the proof is in the adult. We did a fine job with raising both our children. They have turned out to be caring adults - and they're doing a beautiful job raising their children.

This must be the payoff every father and mother dreams about. Until the children are grown, your efforts as a parent aren't evident. And our payoff are the two beautiful grandchildren they thoughtfully have provided!

And now the sun is slowly coming up on this beautiful Sunday. Indeed - this is the day the Lord has made - let us be glad and rejoice in it!