Wednesday, October 27, 2010
She makes it look easy.
What a whirlwind couple of weeks it has been for my family this October. There has been so much going on- good, bad and in between, that I haven't had a moment to catch up here at Nitty.Gritty. I also find that being home around so many family members made it 'less urgent' for me to post, since we were sort of living out what I might otherwise blog home to them about. So that's the explanation I have for not updating here.
We packed our whole family of 8 into an RV and took a 12+ hour roadtrip across 5 states to be with all of my family and friends to remember our dear Grandma Shirley as she passed away October 17th. It was a bittersweet time for many of us as we have such fond memories of sharing life with her. They say there are two types of people in this world- givers and takers. She was a GIVER through and through- always giving joy, love, happiness, a word of encouragment or sharing a meal made by her hands and heart. She will be missed and remembered by so many and I am grateful I had the chance to be home in Minnesota to take part in celebrating who she was and always will be. As my great-uncle John said, "Shirley was a true love machine". I was lucky to know that, feel it from her firsthand, and hopefully take some of that with me and turn it around to pour out to others as I walk through life too.
That top photo is a picture of me with my family- my parents and my four siblings. We haven't taken a picture together like this in years. Being together was special- but after driving all those hours home with our youngsters, Chip and I vow not to do that again for a long, long while.
And I'm not kidding.
AT about the 8 hour mark each way we were ready to have the trip be over. Especially Crew strapped into his carseat and screaming to let us know he had had it. Not fun in Chicago rush-hour traffic. Or anywhere for that matter. And at that 8 hour mark you realize you are only two-thirds of the way to your destination. It starts to feel like a terrible mistake to be traveling; but somehow we made it there and back. The kids LOVED spending time with their cousins and catching up on the fun they've missed out on the past couple of years. There were lots of fun and games and laughter and screaming (especially from Wyndham when Grandma Genie pushed her wheelchair while running through the halls of the building where we stayed!) and there was lots of crying, yelling and 'drama' too. I won't even go into all of that but you can just be thankful along with me that we didn't have to have surgery to try to reattach Crew's fingers. That's all I'm going to say about that- we're all still traumatized from that elevator incident! Eeeks!
Now for an update on Wyndham. Today marks 4 weeks since she had her double-foot surgery. It has felt like a long, long time for us, so I can only imagine how long it has felt for her. She can only sit in her wheelchair, or lay on the couch or her bed. Oh yeah, she has a special toilet seat to sit on once in awhile too. Yesterday she saw her surgeon for some x-rays and was re-cast as part of the ongoing recovery process. This time around she picked pink casts. I think she was actually starting to tire of seeing those bright orange ones and just wanted a little change in scenery. You can see she was checking them out this morning and then gave me a thumb's up too. What a steadfast spirit she has about her. I could learn a thing or two from her about patience and perseverance. I wish a lot of times I could be more like her. Look at the smiles on her face as she does her coloring pages. That's how she is most of the time.
We keep trying to make things "fun" for her as she's healing, but she's the one that smiles through the pain and monotony of her situation. We bring stuff to her- like the dollhouse that normally sits on the floor, and she also loves to spend time doing the paint application on the computer. She's very good at it and can start the program all on her own. She inspires me everyday; she makes it look easy!
Just before we wnt to Minnesota one night I was needing a chocolate fix of some sort, so I quick whipped up a chocolate cake mix. Instead of just pouring it into a 9x13 pan I poured it into the giant cupcake pan and decided to frost it and let Wyndham blow out 2 candles in "celebration" of surviving 2 weeks with her casts on. It was sort of a way for us to turn a bad situation into something a tiny bit wonderful. Right away when the kids saw the cake they wanted to know who's birthday it was. =) I told them it wasn't for a birthday, but instead it was for letting Wyndham know how proud we are of the way she is handling having to wear double-casts right now. They were so excited to see her blow out candles and celebrate something like being home from the hospital. It has been rough for us as a couple (I could write a short book on that!) and as a family, and I know it has been difficult for Wyndham too. She doesn't smile all the time and sure wishes she could be doing what she used to be doing, but at the same time, I am proud that we're all still hanging in there as best as we can do.
That's one of the many gifts I think my Grandma handed down to me and now I occasionally find I pass along too. I told her years ago, after surviving the loss of a child and living through tragedy, that she had made the suffering look "easy" to me and so many people around her through the years. You'd never know it from first meeting my Grandma, because of the smile on her face and the joy in her life, that she had lived a life of trials. She was so good at trusting God and giving all her burdens to Him. I learned from her that you don't have to live a life feeling sorry for yourself. You can move through your sorrows and suffering and she lived her life as an example of that- finding ways to turn her trials into opportunities to experience God's love, mercy and grace.
I feel like I fail more than I thrive when it comes to stepping up to these life challenges. But I hope that even through my failures I will learn that there is reason to keep going. I am so thankful for my Grandma's life, for the love and support of my family, and even the inspiration of Wyndham in her suffering. She makes it look easy and that never ceases to amaze me. I hope to become more like her- and can sense that God is growing patience in me right now too. Not always easy; but it is a good thing.