Just Like a Kid Again

Over thirty years have passed since I moved from my childhood home west of Little Rock, Arkansas. I always enjoy trips back to visit. And I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon which often occurs on these visits. It lasts only a few seconds, yet reflects a lifetime.

Time at home typically includes seeing my parents, my brother and his family, aunts, uncles, and sometimes cousins. Time for catching up is a necessity. How are the kids? Gart? Your new job? Who’s getting married? Having a baby?

Our conversations flow freely from current life events and challenges to past memories. Laughter fills the air as we reminisce about things that happened years ago. Remembering those times is refreshing, solidifying, even more, the importance of family in my life.

And then it happens. For a few brief moments, I’m a little girl again. Skipping across the yard to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousins. My parents, aunts, and uncles are suddenly young adults once more. No gray hair, no aches or pains.

Just as quickly, reality snaps me back. I am no longer that little girl. They are no longer those young adults. Now, I am also a grownup, walking beside them. I may no longer be skipping, but my heart is smiling.

These moments leave me grateful. Moments in which the memories of childhood wash over me. Sweet moments in which I feel just like a kid again. ❤

More Waiting

Wednesday did not go as planned. Yes, I had a moment of clarity which encouraged me to be patient and focus on others. My mood improved and I felt prepared to face the rest of the day. At least, I thought I was prepared.

After being in pre-op for more than two hours, my dad was informed his surgery was canceled. Apparently, previous surgeries had taken longer than expected. A new anesthesiology policy would not permit the procedure to begin unless there was a guarantee of being finished by 5:00 P.M. What?!

Although the doctors were sincerely apologetic, I was extremely frustrated. You can imagine how my dad was feeling. I could not simply walk away without advocating him.

I not so quietly reminded them that Dad is 75, diabetic, and had been on a liquid diet for five days in preparation for this surgery. This was not acceptable. The doctors agreed and offered other possibilities, none of which were “best scenario” options.

Returning to the waiting room, I informed the rest of the family. By this time, I was angry. I shot off several texts to friends and family, expressing my frustration. Let’s just say, that patient attitude I had reclaimed earlier-well, it was gone.

Some dinner and quiet provided time to think about the situation. Maybe dad is not supposed to have this procedure right now. Are there other options to pursue? I don’t know. I do know we will do some more waiting. And for now, that is ok.

Waiting provides time for praying, researching, and asking questions. Which hopefully means the waiting will lead to wisdom. Which brings us back to patience.

My sweet dad with his youngest granddaughters. ❤

On a positive note, we were able to enjoy the Fourth of July. A small family cookout and some fireworks at a local park. For that I am thankful.

Longevity

I have thought about this word many times in recent days. Longevity. I’ve often said I hope to be the ninety-something-year-old grandma playing the piano at the nursing home. My family usually chuckles or says, “I’m sure you will be!”

Typically, we think of longevity in reference to long life. Obviously, I have no way of knowing how many years I will spend on this Earth. However, I cannot deny the common thread woven enduringly (so far) through my fifty-one years. Music! Here’s to forty-eight more. 😉

Picture me, maybe seven
Stringy hair in my eyes
Sitting on the piano bench
Grandma sweetly smiles
Hands on keys, eyes on notes
Melodies flowing clear
Sharing music from my heart
Even though young in years

Picture me, fifty-one
Trying to hide the gray
Teaching music to little ones
Exhausted every day
Hands on keys, eyes on notes
Melodies flowing clear
Sharing music from my heart
During these middle years

Picture me, ninety-nine
Grey hair in a bun
Glasses perched on the end of my nose
Ready for some fun
Hands on keys, eyes on notes
Melodies flowing clear
Sharing music from my heart
Even after all these years

Where do the years go?

Pieces of Your Heart

Grandparents are special people. My grandparents were an essential part of my childhood. Spending time with them was important. As a child, you don’t really think about losing them. You imagine they will be part of your world forever. Then you become a young adult, or in my case, a high school student and that idea is shattered.

When my Grandpa Mahar died, it was very sudden. Early on the morning of July 4th, he woke up before anyone else, sat down in his favorite chair, and did not wake up again. We had seen him the day before. The family would be gathering on the 4th to celebrate. How could he be gone?

I mostly remember shock and tears from that day, almost thirty-five years ago now. The reality of my mom losing her dad brought a new perspective on the frailty and brevity of life on this earth. And it was made even more difficult because there had been no chance to say goodbye. This seemed especially hard for my mom and her siblings.

This was not the case for my own children with their first loss of a grandparent. Before my father-n-law passed away, we knew our time was limited. Watching as death approached was not easy, but we found comfort in having time to say goodbye. He will have been gone for three years this coming week, and we miss him more with each passing year.

One circumstance is not easier than the other, just different. Grief is present in both. We hang on tight to memories. We look at photos, share stories, cling to anything that reminds us of the person we lost. And as soon as we think our grief is fading, a birthday, holiday, or other event brings it right back to the forefront.

Sometimes the grief catches us off guard, and we are encompassed by unexpected emotions. How do we respond? That depends on the person, for we are all different. But here are a few personal thoughts:

When tears well up
Let them fall
When your heart aches
Let words flow
When a friend is near
Lean on them
When feeling motionless
Take one step
When tempted to forget
Remember
For that memory
Is a piece of your heart

A memory of my Grandpa Mahar: He is wearing overalls and telling me if I do him a favor, he will dance at my wedding. 😉

A memory of my father-n-law: He would always bring me a box of See’s candy when traveling to California. We both had quite a sweet tooth. 🙂

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Times of Great Joy

Growing up, I always looked forward to Christmas Eve. My Grandma and Grandpa Mahar lived next door, and we always had a party at their house that evening. Memories from those gatherings remain lasting.

Grandma’s house in more recent years.

The most important of those memories revolve around family. My grandparents’ small house would be filled with aunts, uncles, and cousins. Kids were running around playing, laughter filling every corner. Barely a place to sit down, and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Grandma’s dining room table would be covered with all the goodies everyone brought to share. Homemade frosted sugar cookies, divinity, and fudge to name a few. Candy canes and fruit also added color to the table. We would snack until our tummies couldn’t take any more.

With all those treats, we’d need something to drink. Punch! Every year it was lime sherbet and ginger ale-so tasty and festive. I love the taste of that punch to this day. And of course, there was always coffee. 😉

Presents were sometimes part of this celebration, but oddly enough that isn’t what I most remember. There were so many of us, twenty-six grandchildren to be exact, I can’t even imagine preparing those gifts. But somehow, they did.

I’ve experienced this Christmas Eve party over the span of many years as a child, teen, and finally adult. My perspective may have changed, but the purpose did not change. It was a time of great joy which I always looked forward to, and a time I now greatly miss…

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It will be a quiet day in comparison with the aforementioned parties. There will be cookies to bake and decorate, time with my family, and a Christmas Eve service with a message of hope and beautiful carols.

Our home this year.

Our house will not be full like my Grandma’s once was, but our hearts can be full none the less if we choose. They can be full because of the reason we celebrate.


Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing

St. Henry’s Christmas Bazaar

I’ve been attending the annual St. Henry’s Christmas Bazaar for almost twenty-five years now. The first one I remember took place a few weeks after our car accident and before the birth of our first son., Robert. That was a special one. We were greeted with smiles and tears. So many expressions of thankfulness that we were ok.  (See post Struggle for Control)

This event takes place at St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Owasso, OK. The home church of my in-laws and the church where my husband grew up. We have many happy family memories associated with the Christmas bazaar, especially our kids with their Grandma and Papa.

If you arrived early enough there were homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. But if you missed those, no worries. Frito chili pie and tamales were on the lunch menu as well as pie. Any kind of pie you could possibly want! It doesn’t stop there, oh no. We also had to visit the bake sale section before heading home.

The kids could expect to be spoiled by their Papa at the bazaar. He always bought too many desserts. Plus, there were toys, books, Christmas ornaments. I still have a pair of green earrings he helped Robert sneak around and buy for me one year.  The kids also witnessed Grandma making crafts or baking items for the event in the weeks prior, and we always enjoyed looking for her items on display.

Probably the only thing Papa bought more of than desserts were the raffle tickets! Sometimes the kids would get to help draw names out of the wire basket and call out the next winner. Such anticipation and excitement followed by a celebration for the lucky name called.

Looking back on the happy memories associated with our family through this church, it’s funny how nervous I was about meeting my sweet in-laws for the first time. My husband was raised Catholic and I was raised Baptist. Seemed like a big difference at the time. Not only that, I had been married and divorced, which would affect his membership in their church.

I was not excited about Gart sharing this information with his parents when we were dating. How would they respond? Would they understand? Of course, my worries were for nothing. They loved me like a daughter from the very beginning.  And we’ve had many occasions over the years to attend services at both Catholic and Baptist churches all together as a family.

Today I think about the special place in my heart for St. Henry’s Catholic Church and their annual Christmas bazaar. Tomorrow I will go once again, look at the crafts, possibly buy a Christmas gift, eat lunch with my mother-n-law and of course, eat pie! My father-n-law, my kids Papa, will be missed as we reminisce over times past. But we will continue to make new memories and form new relationships.  

Who would have thought so much joy could be found in a simple Christmas bazaar?

I hope I can get there in time for cinnamon rolls this year…