Cherish the Moments

As I approach nearly a half-century of life on this earth, it should be noted that I have spent 25 of those years as a mom, and over 21 years on my own, in the adventitious life of single motherhood. I started this blog roughly three years ago and admittedly have not written as much as I intended or would have liked. All I can say about that is, I’m working on it! 😉  I started writing it because I was at a very pivotal time in my life as I was sending yet another child off to college, (the third in four years) and I was overwhelmed by the concept of having only one child at home… a nearly empty nest.

Today, I sit here still recovering from my very busy weekend, which included two, excuse me THREE college graduations; all on the same day! Truly epic moments in two of my three oldest children’s lives. I am somehow managing on adrenaline, caffeine, and the pride I feel for their accomplishments. I think back to months ago when we realized that my two oldest children would be graduating on the same day, at two different universities, three hours apart… I couldn’t imagine how I would make that sort of choice, which direction to travel, who might I be letting down. As their graduations grew closer, in these last couple months, I knew I had to make some sort of a choice; it was so unfair, but as I have tried to teach my children, life isn’t always fair and I did have to choose.

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Three years ago, a year ahead of schedule, my oldest daughter was graduating from college, receiving her Bachelors in Psychology. However, she was out of state, and I was unable to attend due to back problems I was having at the time and I was unable to make the trip because I could not travel. It broke my heart, and hers as well.  I believe it was that quiet heartbreak that perhaps led me to make the choice that I did to attend my daughters graduation. The thing that also made this decision bearable, is that I knew I could send his sisters to help celebrate my son on his own special day.

It had been crazy week at work and I was more than a little exhausted come Thursday afternoon, when it was time to get ready to make the two hour trip to my daughter’s apartment so that I could be there for her ceremony Friday morning. I’ll be honest, at one moment I almost changed my mind… my momma heart was breaking because I could not attend both and I was trying to find a way to do everything and be in both places at one time. It had been suggested to me that I could attend my son’s graduation and then the reception my daughter and son-in-law were having later that evening. It sounded all good and fine–but I knew my daughter would be heartbroken again, and I knew I couldn’t do that. I texted and talked to my son a few times and he was in good spirits, excited that his sisters were coming and that he would see me later in the day when he joined us for my son-in-laws ceremony in the afternoon. Then we could all celebrate together Friday night as a family.

The real craziness began when I had texted my daughter letting her know when I planned to leave so she could know when to expect me. Instead of texting me back she actually called, wanting to know if I could please come earlier. I told her how tired I was and that I hadn’t even started getting ready, but she was really persistent and I agreed to leave much earlier than planned. I was tired and a little frustrated when I climbed into my car for the two hour drive, yet, somewhere in the first ten minutes or so this sense of peace came over me (an answer to earlier prayer) and I was happy and looking forward to arriving and having a late dinner with my daughter and her husband.

I stopped for Starbucks and gas and continued down the interstate, singing along with My Bridge as I drove along. Every song just continued to lift my spirits and fill my once conflicted heart with peace and joy. As I entered Omaha, I was actually glad she had encouraged me to come early. It was just starting to get dark and I have terrible night blindness. I listened to my GPS as it told me which direction to go as she had asked me to meet her at a friends house. I was a bit unhappy at this, as I really wasn’t much in the mood to meet anyone and just wanted to eat and go to bed. As I arrive in what was a very nice neighborhood, I was perplexed, I couldn’t see her car, nor read the house numbers, so I was having trouble ensuring I was in the right place. Then I see her, she was waving her arms, so I stop. She tells me to park in the driveway and I do, happy to be able to get out and stretch my legs.

What happened next was one of the most exciting moments of my life as a mom. My daughter preceded to tell me that the home we were standing in front of was not her friends, but instead her own… they had bought a house!! It took a few seconds for it to sink in, but then I was so excited to see the entire house and really enjoy the moment!

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She then gave me a tour of their beautiful new home and I just couldn’t believe that one of my children had been able to reach a milestone in their life that I have yet to meet myself. My daughter and her husband are homeowners! I am still so in awe and just so very proud of their hard work and determination that has allowed them to keep reaching for the stars and achieving their dreams.

Now for graduation!!

What a day it was! Her husband, David, made us an early breakfast as we had to arrive at the event center an hour before the ceremony began. Thank goodness for technology, as we were able to text and Snap Chat with her leading up to moments before the ceremony began. This same technology also allowed me to stay in touch with her sisters as they were celebrating with their brother as he prepared for his own ceremony.

 

It is also with this wonderful technology that I was able to watch the live stream of my son’s graduation ceremony, 165 miles in the opposite direction. It worked perfectly, shortly after Carrie’s name was called and she received her diploma, her brother received his and I got to see them both! ❤ It was about this time that we left for lunch and Guy and his youngest sister got in his car to make the three hour drive to join us for my son-in-law’s ceremony.  They arrived just in time and we were able to watch as David received his diploma as well. Shortly after his name was called Carrie and I, along with her siblings, headed back to their new house to finish preparing for the reception and awaited the arrival of family and friends. Kayleigh was able to make it after returning to work for part of the afternoon and I was able to meet some of Carrie’s friends and co-workers.  I was even able to talk the graduates into putting on their caps and gowns for a group picture… making my momma heart smile.

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Jess and I would drive home so that we could head back east to help my son move into his new apartment. Our only cargo… the family cat (who will be 18 this July), who somewhere along the way adopted Guy as his human and their lives forever changed. He was in some of my son’s senior pictures four years ago and was noticeably sadder when Guy went away to college. They both cherished the times he was home and I knew all to well that the day would come when Gonzo would no longer live with me. He tolerated the trip quite well and was instantly thrilled when he saw his boy when we got out of the car! He wasn’t to sure about the apartment until we started moving in the boxes, many were from the basement and it was almost comical to watch him sniffing them and realizing all was well in his world. A boy and his cat reunited. ❤

 

This weekend was more than eventful… it was unforgettable, and I am so glad it went exactly the way that it did. With every worry that I had before it began, I can’t imagine it not happening just as it did. Which only reminds me of what the Bible tells us in Psalm 139; that He knows us from before our beginning, He knows what we will say or do… long before we do. He has already written our story, we just need to spend time with Him, listening to His direction and following where He leads us.

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So don’t let the worries of how a moment will or won’t happen keep you from really enjoying that moment, from cherishing the memory that it will become. Live in those moments, share them with the ones you love and hold on tight to each and everyone. Because life changes too quickly and you wouldn’t want to miss it along the way.

 

Until the next moment,

 

Trading Chaos for Hope

As I have mentioned previously, my older kids didn’t come home this summer, making it very quiet. Too quiet for this mom who has always been used to the bustle and noise that four kids are capable of making. Yet, in a fairly short time; four became three, three became two, and now there is but one little (or perhaps, not so little) bird left in my nest. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for them and all that they are doing. They are stepping out into the world, trusting God and following the path He has laid before them.

I just miss the chaos.

I learned a long time ago that I am one of those people who tends to be more productive when things are a little on the crazy side. I prefer a busy day at work, over one that is quiet with less tasks to do. I like to be moving and doing, making some noise… I tend to not do quiet very well at all.

When all four kids were younger, we were extremely busy–we were always on the go. In the early years it was soccer games in the spring/fall, softball and baseball in the summer. As my older children entered middle school, we added band and chorus, as well as more sporting events. Then we became more involved in our church, with Awana and other forms of fellowship. It was there within the walls of our church that something unexpected happened, my extended family began to grow. The relationships that I formed there, that my children did as well, gave us the family we so desperately needed.

But the walls stood high.

As a single parent, perhaps more so because of the broken person I was… I struggled for years to let people in. Somehow, in this new environment I was finally able to let down my walls and started letting people in. I was shown unconditional love over and over again. My children saw firsthand what compassion looks like and how to be more like Jesus themselves. I have always said that it takes a village to raise a child (especially for the single parent), I am so very blessed that the majority of my village was within the walls of our little church. With my children, I learned what “normal” looked like, how families interacted minus the hurt and dysfunction. It was the beginning of our healing process as a family, of my healing process as a parent and a child of God.

Thank God for Hope.

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So I am back to dealing with the moments when I feel sad and alone, and the darkness closes in. I wish I could say that one day it will just “poof” vanish and I will always feel happy and content. I don’t think that is possible for any of us as mere humans who walk this earth, less possible for those of us who have experienced more darkness than we sometimes care to admit. Yet, in the darkness, He is there. As I woke this morning, I set down at the table with my coffee and opened my Jesus Calling devotional.

     HOPE is a golden cord connecting you to heaven… I never leave your side, and I never let go of your hand… without the cord of hope, your head may slump and your feet may shuffle as you journey uphill with Me. Hope lifts your perspective… You are reminded that the road we’re traveling together is ultimately a highway to heaven… the roughness or smoothness of the road ahead becomes much less significant. I am training you to hold in your heart a dual focus: My continual Presence and the hope of heaven.

These were exactly the words I needed to read, that He needed for me to read. It seems so ironic that it always works that way. I may miss a day, or study something differently; but no matter what I read or where I read it from; He has me reading comforting and encouraging words from some sort of a devotional; ultimately directing me to His word through scripture.

Romans 12:12  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

Hebrews 6:18-19a  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace

Then His words direct me further, to song. Thus allowing me to sing and praise Him for all he has done in my life. He is always with me, has always been… even in the darkest moments, the saddest moments, the moments when I feel the most alone.

When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.

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He carries us… He never leaves our side. We are never alone.

So even as my children fly away, out into a world that I have hopefully properly prepared them for. I am not alone, my God is with me, He loves me and He gives me just what I need… when I need it the most.

Until the next moment,