Joy? Peace? Hope?

John 1:29″ The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Parenting at every stage presents its own highs and lows. Yay! Little Prince is walking…Yikes! We need to baby proof everything. I have always appreciated each stage and embraced that I will have successes and failures in each of those stages….until now. My boys are 15, 16 and a week shy of 19. They are on a hybrid schedule for school (my oldest is home from college until January) and these kids can suck my life force like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.

Last night, I prepared a family dinner and you would have thought I was asking they to lay down in the street so I could run them over with my car. My attempt at a lovely meal around our table so beautifully decorated for Christmas…hopeful that we could talk about our highs and lows of the day, the Advent season, smiling at each other lovingly was an epic failure. They complained, they fought, they were jerks. My joy at having the family around the table together slowly began to seep out of my body. As I looked around at each of these people that I GAVE BIRTH TO and then stared helplessly at my husband, I had this deep sadness. Who are these people? Where did they come from and what are they doing in my house? It’s ADVENT and we will be HAPPY!

As I prayed about this last night and again this morning (and in full disclosure there were tears) I realized that my joy in the coming of our Savior this season can happen simultaneously with the struggles of parenthood. It doesn’t diminish the Christmas story. This week we light the candle of peace for week 2 of Advent and my prayer is that even in the midst of total chaos, I remember that Jesus will still be returning in the form of a baby…God’s son. Shaping my thoughts in this way does help me cope with the less glamorous parts of parenting of which there seem to be many during the teenage years. With all the change and uncertainty 2020 has brought (fear, isolation, and struggle for so many) this doesn’t change fact. The fact is that God sent his son to live among up. A savior for all the world to see and acknowledge. There is joy and peace and hope in all of this.

I may need a break from family dinner for a hot minute. Kids will still be jerks sometimes, that’s life. Dealing with this is much easier knowing that Christmas is coming, Jesus is coming, our hope… Emmanuel.

Lessons from my Grandma

My grandma always said “growing old isn’t for sissies.” As a child, I didn’t give much thought to that statement. As I grew up, I thought maybe she was referring to laugh lines, or the need to color the gray hair that started to pop (God forbid). Or maybe she was referring to the need for reading glasses or “peepers” as she fondly referred to them.

I grew up in Indiana and my grandparents lived in a suburb of Chicago. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a week at their home every summer by myself…no siblings…just me! It was such a special time and I look back on it with such wonderful feelings of love for my grandparents. My grandma and I would shop, visit my great-grandparents, and play a lot of Gin Rummy. Through the years, I would hear her utter “growing old isn’t for sissies” and shrug it off and move on to the next thing. Now in my 40’s, I look back and think my grandma was so smart and dolling out words of wisdom like King Solomon!

The older I get, I start to understand that grandma wasn’t just referring to the pesky annoyances of physical beauty. Although, in full disclosure, I’m quick to have my roots done, just had my first experience with microblading for my thinning eyebrows (OUCH and yes, that will be another post), and am indeed, typing this wearing glasses that are now, regularly, close at hand. I’m beginning to understand that as I age, time has started to speed up. There are aches and pains I didn’t have before, my children are growing up at a pace much faster than I would like and the days turn to weeks turn to years in the blink of an eye. I now realize that you have to be tough to grow old. It’s not for the faint of heart! I have such respect and admiration for those who have walked this earth longer than I have. I’m no longer the school girl casually listening while waiting for something else to come along. I am upright and standing at attention. What can I learn from you? What words do you impart on me to make this journey in life matter? No! It is NOT for sissies!! It is hard and unfair at times and also wonderful and beautiful.

My grandma is no longer here. She is in Heaven watching over me. I would give a lot to have one more day with her and ask her to share her wisdom with me. I would sit at her feet and listen with such close attention. I would be present and acutely aware of the moments that we share. I would be intentional and not take a second for granted. And that’s her lesson to me…her final gift in all of this. Slow down. Be present. Laugh with your children. Enjoy your husband, family and friends. Growing old isn’t for sissies, so go for it! The gray hair is going to pop and the eyesight is going to fade. Love who you are now, today, in this very moment and enjoy every second.