Saturday, November 28, 2020

Welcomed

I have welcomed these four days off from work over the Thanksgiving holiday. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and had been working too much during the day and staying up even later at night to complete additional work for other clients. Needing a break, Thanksgiving has provided just that. 

I planned ahead and started cooking Thanksgiving dinner the day before so that our meal, even though it was just for the four of us, wasn't going to keep me in the kitchen all day. We had a lovely meal at around 1 p.m. and we had the dishwasher loaded and the kitchen cleaned up by 2:15 p.m. Josh and Zach carried all of the Christmas decorations bins upstairs from the storage room and we as a family assembled and decorated the tree. I had 12 bins ready to be returned to the storage room that evening, with only 5 left to sort and unpack. 3 to fill with normal house decor that I put away once I put all of the Christmas items out and two that still need to be sorted and purged. Yes, I have 17 bins of just Christmas stuff. What can I say? We love Christmas! 

I loved looking at all of my table and serving items, towels for both the kitchen and bathroom and going through many decorations that have been passed down through our families. Disappointed that a crystal platter had shattered in its box, but then I realized I still have two more that I love. I placed three plastic platters in with the two remaining crystal ones, and found all of my Christmas goblets and place settings were ready to be consolidated. Quickly, I got rid of a few plates and small bowls that I do not use and got rid of a few mugs that just don't hold a cup of coffee the size that I need to be able to function on a daily basis. 

I placed all of the platters, service items and towel bins in the stacks to be sent back downstairs. I actually found myself to be a bit sad. The tears came quickly and there was no hiding them. Christmas won't look the way we are used to this year. Christmas will probably look the same way that Thanksgiving did. Just the four of us. There won't be any need to pull the service for 20 out, the goblets and other stemware. There won't be a need for 5 platters and 10 bowls. Because it will just be the four of us. 

Covid weighs heavy on my heart. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss being able to host large get togethers and feed lots of people at once. I miss celebrating with the people that I love. And it took downsizing and repacking all the Christmas glassware for me to realize it. 

Yes, I like the quiet. Yes, I like being home. Yes, I like not having to run everywhere on holidays when I am already a bit worn out already. But I will still miss hosting in my home. Covid is here for the long haul, this I know. It will take quite some time for a new normal to be established. And that new normal may not include large numbers of people for some time. But in the meantime, I will be more intentional. I will text frequently. I will knock on neighbors' doors and leave plates of cookies and pumpkin and banana bread. I will make more cards than I normally do. Not just Christmas cards, but Thinking of You cards. I Miss Your Beautiful Face cards. I Can't Wait to See You cards.

Many of those cards will also include dinner invitations that will let the recipient know that when we can be together again, I can't wait to set the table with platters and goblets and fold the napkins just like my mom taught me so many years ago. They will be invitations back into my home where we can share a meal, enjoy a beverage and revel in the storytelling we have all missed. 

Until that time occurs, I have made the decision to use all the napkins and towels in the kitchen and the bathroom. I will light all of the great smelling seasonal candles. I will set the table and enjoy the winter berry centerpiece. I will use the beautiful hosting items that have mostly been gifted to me, even if no one other than the four of us are here to enjoy them. Because they are too beautiful and hold too many precious memories of meals shared with the people we love to be boxed and stored for the season. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Long Overdue


Long Overdue
Kelli J Gavin

My friend returned from overseas last week. She has been gone for over three months. I missed her and continued to pray for her family of 8 as their absence was felt.  I was disappointed when I didn't see her at church yesterday morning. I saw her husband and some of her kids, but entered into a conversation with another friend and was convinced I missed her.  

Today after work, I was racing and entered a very busy Costco with the intent of grabbing my dozen items and heading out the door as soon as possible. Costco was swamped and slow moving.  As I rounded the corner after selecting my greens, squash and a pumpkin pie, I saw her third son by the baked goods. I said hello and asked who he was with. 

He shouted, "My mom!"

And just at the moment, I felt my missed friend's hands on my arm and within a split second, I was enveloped into an amazing heart to heart embrace. You know those kind of hugs. Where your arms hold tight and breathing becomes just a little bit easier. The kind of hug where you weren't really sure what you needed up until that minute, but you find it was that hug was needed all along. 

Oh, how I enjoyed catching up. Sharing our hearts and how we were praying for each other.  To see someone's face to face, mask and all, to hear the words come from their mouth rather than read them from a text or email.  More hugs were exchanged as prayers were said in the middle of Costco today.

In these times of Covid-19, do not forsake relationships. Foster friendships. Love each other and pray for each other. Knowing that some relationships with family and even friends can be strained during this time, find ways to practice forgiveness if need be so that you can continue loving, being encouraging and always kind. And as it was proven today, always stop in Costco, forget your to-do lists and warm your heart with a long overdue hug. 

Thank you, Michelle. Much love to you this evening. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Fix It

Zach, our 17 year old son with Autism hurt his neck yesterday morning. He has been miserable for two days. Ice and heat, ibuprofen and lots of love and reassurance has been what is getting Zach through this weekend. He seems to be counting down the minutes until Monday when he knows that Josh will take him to the Chiropractor. 

"Mom has to go to work. Dad will take me to see Dr. Reisgraf. He will make me feel better. He will fix it."  Zach has repeated this phrase over and over as if to calm himself and remind him that it is going to be okay. 

Zach rarely speaks about what pain he is experiencing. A few years back, Zach had surgery on both feet to correct a deformity that was present since birth. He was very vocal about his pain and it was so atypical for him, we knew how much it hurt. Painful big toes filled with blood and puss, he was miserable and would limp frequently.  We put off the surgery for so long because we didn't know how we were going to keep him laying down for three days with his feet elevated and in walking boots after that for another week. Both feet were reshaped and the surgery was absolute perfection. Zach did an amazing job with recovery and we felt bad that we waited so long.  

Zach will have a nose bleed in the night and wake up and take care of it himself. He once split his back open on an open dresser drawer and tried to mend the wound himself with Elmer's glue and bandages.  With PICA, he often scratches small wounds until they become big wounds and then additional wound care with tons of ointments and bandages are needed to help prevent infection from setting in.  He ripped his knee open in a fall up a curb and decided to remove the scab while en route to Devil's Tower in Wyoming. He used to lower half of his tee shirt and never said a word to me that he was struggling in the back seat of our vehicle. 

So when Zach can barely turn his head, holds his neck in hand when rising from sitting and groans with anything that requires learning over, we know his pain is excessive.  He also requests lots of hand holds, cuddles closely on the couch and reminds me that tomorrow is Monday. 

I am so pleased that he knows Dr. Reisgraf, trusts him and knows that his hands bring relief even to the worst pain. He has witnessed every member in our family receive care from this doctor and he knows that relief isn't necessarily immediate, but it will eventually happen.  

I think of all the times that I have been in pain, of all the times that I could barely move and relied on the kindness of my husband and children to help me with the simplest of tasks. Recovering from surgeries quite a few times in the last 3 1/2 years, sometimes, I even needed help to get out of bed. I have needed help with dressing and showering, putting my hair in a ponytail, preparing food, help with housework and packing backpacks. And each and every time I have needed help, no one in my family has every shied away from a request.  They are eager to help and kind when they understand someone else's pain. 

And when we are serving Zach during this time that he is experiencing pain, I think of what a privilege it is that he knows he can ask for help. That he can trust that we will help him. Fetching ice packs from the freezer, warming heat packs in the microwave, applying muscle rub to numb the pain if only for a short while. I am thankful that he knows that Josh and I serve him freely expecting nothing in return. We love him and so we consider it an honor, not an obligation, to help him in his time of need. 

These days are long and challenging.  Just keep loving your families. Love them and serve them.  Serve them so well that your example of kindness is then passed on to someone else. Be an example for your children of what it looks like to help others without being asked. That modeled behavior is passed down to them unknowingly and often replicated when they get a chance.  


Not If, But When

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