Turning Fifty

Stunned awake this morning by a dream that’s been hard to shake. I was swimming with my sister in our parent’s backyard pool, only our parents don’t actually have a pool in their backyard. Nonetheless, there we were enjoying ourselves and, apparently, completely unaware of the time. Once inside the house, like a punch in the gut, it dawned on me that I was now extremely late for a performance. Like it was 7:44pm and I was supposed to be singing from 7-9pm that night. Yikes!

I’ve had other dreams like that through the years. Maybe it’s that deep down panic that I won’t be prepared for an engagement. Or worse yet, I’ll miss it altogether letting everyone down. I can recall several dreams where they’ve already introduced me onto the stage and I’m nowhere near where I need to be to get to the platform on time. Psychoanalyze that.

Anyway, in the dream, I’m frantically checking my phone to see if anyone has tried to contact me, all while calling out for my Mom who was slated to take me to the event, about a forty-five minute drive away. I’m thinking there’s no way I’ll be able to get myself dressed and ready, hair and make-up, and set list. Still, I’m scrambling. Where’s the blow dryer?! I’ll have to do my make up in the car. Where’s my red blouse?! In the dream, it’s a post-Thanksgiving, Christmas event. Why we’re swimming late November, I don’t know. Dreams are weird that way.

Still calling out for Mom, there’s no response. I begin searching throughout the house, but she’s nowhere to be found. Finally, I enter her bedroom and find her near comatose in the bathroom. Eyes closed, white as a ghost, and seemingly incoherent, I thought she was dead. But, as she began to fall sideways I lunged to catch her and her eyes suddenly opened.

And just as a feeling of great relief washed over me I woke up.

Understandably, I was physically shaken by such a nightmarish dream. And try as I might to drift back to sleep, my thoughts were all over the place. Just earlier that day I had told my hubby over lunch that I hoped to have many more years with my parents and how I wished we lived closer. And, strangely, just that morning in church I had pressed down the corner of the bulletin where the fourth verse of “Crown Him With Many Crowns” struck me afresh. Particularly these words…

Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time…

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. I’m literally just days away from the big 5-0 (got my first piece of mail from the AARP to prove it!). Maybe it’s because I’ve been praying for a grieving family and their son whose years were cut short. Maybe it’s because Dad, not Mom, recently had a week long hospital stay, a bad bout with pneumonia, and subsequent visits to correct his atrial fibrillation (and I made the mistake of googling the life threatening risks of cardiac ablations). Maybe it’s because another friend is now caring for her aging parents; a mother who broke several ribs during a recent fall and a father whose tumble left him battered and bruised simply trying to fetch the mail. Or maybe it’s transitioning into a new role as Grandma (read my previous blog!) and focusing my energies a little closer to home. Perhaps all of these things culminated into a dream that got me thinking about life, the sovereignty of God, and how we spend the brief time we’re given.

For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night (about 3 hrs., Psalm 90:4). Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (verse 12). My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years…(Proverbs 3:1).

And this one, a new favorite…Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants…the fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you…(Leviticus 25:10 & 11).

Carpenter Husband keeps asking me what I want to do for my fiftieth. I tell him nothing elaborate or expensive. Maybe an intimate gathering with friends and family? A special dinner date, just the two of us? Oh, and I need to remember to ask for chocolate cake. Because chocolate.

All kidding aside, today I’m asking a more important question. How will I spend this fiftieth year of jubilee? O Heavenly Father, Lord of my years, let the lighting of all those candles be a symbol of consecration to You.

And with that, I’ll leave you with your own thoughts and the last part of verse four…

All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

Thankful to be born…and born again to live in Christ forevermore. And you can bet I’ll be giving my folks a call.

Ever resting in His Sovereign Care…

Cheri

When Mom Becomes Grandma

When Mom Becomes Grandma…                                                                                                                                                

She receives a card from daughter for her birthday that reads, “Happy Birthday, Grandma.” For a second she thinks it’s a mistake, because “I’m not your grandma.” And then she realizes. The gift is on layaway. Nine months. We celebrate with cookie cake.

She gets all choked up in the store getting ready to purchase the first baby outfit. She picks the sleeper with little yellow ducks. Because ducks. And because God has not yet revealed whether boy or girl. She prays that he/she will come to know the Lord at an early age. It’s a holy moment.

The first sonogram picture makes it more real. He looks like a little bean. Daughter becomes Mama Bean and son-in-love becomes….well, Bean Daddy, of course.

They sand the old dressers. She paints them in cascading blues. Her kids had them in their room growing up, just as she had them in hers when she was little, just as Great Grandma had them in hers before that. Fourth generation dressers. Soon to be filled with onesies. Dinosaur onesies.                                                                                                                                            
She writes a song. It’s for her daughter and the baby. She cries at the piano. So much emotion welling up. It’s not just the hopes and dreams for Baby Oliver, but also for her own grown son. And all that being a mama has meant. She sings it as a surprise at the baby shower. Everyone cries. We cry because we’re moms.

And now she graduates to GrandMom. A Mom, only much grander. With credentials.

People send gifts. Handmade gifts. Made with love. And lots of stitches.

Wall hangings, blankets, quilts, and a beautiful layette made by dear Mother. The Great Grand Mother.

She feels the baby move in Mama’s belly. Making contact. He’s really in there.

She helps Mama get things ready. The due date is not far off now. So much preparation. Sweet anticipation.

Babies need a lotta stuff.

And yellow converse sneakers.

A week before due date there’s a fire in the attic. Everyone is O.K. We begin the painstaking process of sorting, cleaning, clearing out. The nursery was perfect. Everything just so. Baby clothes already washed and put away. Pictures hung on the wall. Rocking chair quietly waiting in the corner. And then there was smoke…

She takes the laundry home and begins the first load. Everything must be rewashed. Books wiped clean of soot one by one. Books signed and personalized to Baby Oliver from dear friends. Gratitude fills her heart in handling each one and reading the special inscriptions.

Though displaced from their home, insurance covers a hotel stay near the hospital until baby comes. A friend sets up a go-fund-me. A former teacher puts out the need and a truck load of baby items appear. So lavish a love drop she actually took inventory…one gently used bassinet, a stroller, two car seats, a playpen, a high chair, baby bath, clothes, shoes, hangers, teethers, bottles, booties, swaddlers, 400+ diapers, 2,000+ baby wipes, and one large stuffed Mickey Mouse.

She revels at God’s goodness and the kindness of so many. Of course. That’s Who He is. She’s been on the receiving end before. And it’s just so beautiful to see Him in action through the Beloved Community.

Since Mom and Dad won’t be able to bring baby home for awhile, some treasured friends lovingly prepare to host them in their spacious basement, complete with private bathroom, kitchenette, and room enough for three. There’s even a couch for Grandma. We transfer personal belongings to make them feel right at home. They can stay as long as they need.

Relieved. Baby has a quiet, comfortable place to spend his first days. Like his name which means the olive tree, it is a peaceful offering. The Biblical olive tree symbolizes fruitfulness, beauty, and dignity. Extending an olive branch signifies an offer of peace. She jokes, “Perhaps he’ll be a peaceful baby.” Even if he’s not, it won’t matter in the least.

We finally get the long-awaited call. It’s showtime! Son-in-love says, “Come!” We’re on our way in a flash.

She’s honored to get to be in the delivery room. Amazing. Mom and Dad did so good. Ollie, too. That first newborn cry. You never forget that. She did the best she could with the camera. And tried to balance capturing the moment and being right there in the middle of it at the same time.

She stays at Mama’s side while Daddy goes with the nurse to clean and check the baby. All fingers and toes accounted for. Mama squeezes her hand. He’s finally here. Oh, the miracle of human life. The wonder of Creator God.

7 lbs., 13 oz., 20.25 inches of baby goodness. And they actually get to take him home.

She sleeps on the couch to help with baby (using term lightly here). Lots of time to rock and bond. She learns that taking him outside often does the trick. He seems to sense a shift in the atmosphere and it soothes him. He is most precious. Mom and Dad are so good with him. Such good parents already. She is proud. And also not surprised.

She feeds Mom so Mom can feed baby. Lots of feedings. Diapers. Snuggles. And prayers uttered in hushed tones under the starry night sky.

After a week or so she manages a journal entry. Psalm 66:12 seems to fit…”We went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.”

And we are all so thankful. Humbled. And totally in love. #OllieLove

A lot happens when Mom becomes Grandma. Her heart expands, her influence increases, her life becomes altogether bigger-better-more.

When Mom becomes Grandma she becomes even more blessed than before.

Grace and peace…

Grandma Cheri