The Future + Reality Check = Freak Out

While new mothers may scour child-rearing books for words of wisdom in facing their new challenges, Ecclesiastes is my go-to book. I especially like King Solomon’s words of wisdom in chapter 3:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Those words came to mind the other day as my husband and I were the Future+ Reality Check = Freak Out“forward planning.” As we talked about the future, our conversation morphed into the discussion of how fast time was passing and how quickly our grandchildren were growing up.

“Just think, in a little over seven years I’ll be teaching another of our girls how to drive,” I said. He gave a little shutter.

“What’s the big deal? I’ve taught four others.”The Future + reality Check = Freak Out

Bill’s response brought the reality check. “But you weren’t sixty-six years old.”

Yikes!

“By the time Isaac becomes a teenager, we’ll be seventy years old,” he said. “That makes us close to eighty when he graduates high school.”

His math began to freak me out. Even now as I ponder these facts, the overall picture of the future is too over whelming. I can’t fathom how we will handle all the responsibilities and challenges that will arise while raising two children at this stage of our life. There are just too many unknowns in the equations.

So I choose to focus on the present and the constants.

Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Peter reminds me to “Cast all your anxiety on him (Jesus) for he cares for you. 1Peter 5:7

Consequently, my forward-planning is changing. It’s shrinking. Last year our focus was to get through the school year. That’s when physical custody was to be reevaluated. It was. Nothing had changed. Although we have no idea what the future holds for us, it’s apparent we will be caring for the children for many years.

I have to be honest. I didn’t think it would be so hard. I was wrong. It is.

My plan to cope is two-pronged. One—narrow my focus. I will make vague plans for the distant future but my largest time span to plan out is one to two months. I have many good days but some days it takes all my efforts to just make it through the day and I plan by the hour. I used to wake up and calculate the hours ‘til nap time. Isaac doesn’t nap any more, so now the question of the day is, “How many hours ‘til bedtime?”

Two—find joy in everyday life. More than once we’ve joked, “It’s a good thing you’re cute.” And they are. They are talented and funny and love bear hugs, tickles and kisses. When I look at them as the treasure then are, the future is not so scary.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets freaked out by the reality of the future. What it that reality for you? What is your plan and method to cope?

My prayer: Father God, thank you for your promise to never leave us or forsake us. It is the stabilizing constant in my life. Help me to focus on the joys of raising our grandchildren and leave the future in your loving hands.

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What Do I Call You?

dreamstime_m_15253773When Katrena and Isaac came to live with us, we never anticipated the situation would become long-term. Katrena was affected the most by this disruption of their family unit. With tears she reported to her teacher and her aunt, “It not fair that all of my friends and my cousins gets to go home with their mommy and daddy and I can’t.”

Her hope—eventually she would go back to live with her mom. “Nothing against you and Grandpa,” she was quick to add, “I just miss my family.”

When circumstances changed, we had the sorrowful task of explaining to Katrena that she and Isaac would be living with us for a long time. After the tears dried she asked, “So what do I call you? Are you still Grandma and Grandpa or are you Mom and Dad?”

To all of our grands we are Grandma and Grandpa. Truthfully, one grandson can’t say grandma yet and he calls me “mommee”. His mother is “mama”.

I can’t remember our exact answer. We didn’t know what to say. We still don’t. We know they love their parents. Their mom has moved away but they see their dad a few times a month. So how do we fulfill Katrena’s need to live with a mom and dad without insulting her parents? How confusing will it be to our five other grandchildren if they hear these two call us Mom and Dad?

Isaac found his own solution. He calls Bill “Grandpa Dad.” What a smart kid! Only time will tell whether that continues to be his new name. Maybe I’ll become “Grandmama”

Katrena and Isaac with Bill's birthday cakeWe don know the right answers to all their questions. We have much to figure out. One thing we do know and we tell them often. No matter what they call us, we are a family. Our family just has grandparents for parents.

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, please grant us wisdom as we try to meet Katrena and Isaac’s needs and the needs of our other grandchildren. Help us create a real sense of home and family for these dear ones.

Its A Boy

working with grandpa

Solomon declares in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “ What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

The first part of that verse surely applies to our life. We have been blessed with three daughters. We also had two other girls in our care. One for only a year, and one for six years. At times my husband complained he was drowning in estrogen. He survived thirty four years of a female majority and now there is something new in our home.

A boy to raise.

Yes Isaac brought his sister, but we now have the unfamiliar joy and challenge of raising a son.

Our first adventure—potty training.

I did the initial leg of the journey. Same as the girls. Sit and do your business. Our grandson, who shadows Grandpa, has discovered there is another way to complete the task. The “big boy” way. He is very impressed by his accomplishment. Now we  teach him to perfect his aim.

Our home has always been filled with dolls, dress-up clothes and drama. However, we’ve discovered boys play much differently than girls. Every car or truck is crashed and smashed. Loudly. Repeatedly. And they all morph into monster trucks that roll or climb on top of each other. Play doh is fun, sand is nice, dirt is better but mud is best. Isaac loves to run and swing and slide, but soon after his cousins arrives, its full-on wrestling, imitating their monster trucks.

Grandpa is enjoying his tag-along. A little boy who can’t wait to jump intoGrandpa and Isaac his boots, put on one of Grandpa’s hats and “go to work” in the sawmill, or around the farm. He “helps” cut firewood with his toy chainsaw and stacks small pieces of wood in the sawmill. Every tool he finds is a hammer in his hand.

When Grandpa goes to the music room to play his guitar and bass, Isaac accompanies him and plays the drums and sings. Loudly. Actually he has great musically ability with pitch and timing. Mostly likely he’ll be a drummer.

We cherish our something new under the sun, just as we cherished the girls. But we always prayed for a son. God finally said yes. A late in life son whose name means laughter.

 Our prayer:  Dear God, we are so blessed by this son and daughter you have brought into our lives. We recognize the responsibility you have entrusted to us. Please grant us the wisdom to do this task in a way that pleases You.

It Started with A Phone Call

telephone

You never know what changes a phone call will bring or how it will impact your life. A year and a half ago we were surprised by a call.

“Can you come and get the kids?”

Although we had been asked many times in the past if we could come and take the kids for a night or weekend, this call was different. We were informed our daughter had tried to end her life.

She was in the hospital when we arrived at her home. Her two scared and hungry children waited for deliverance. Our two-year-old grandson was lying on the couch, crying, arms reaching up to me. It was almost 8:00 in the evening and he and his seven-year-old sister hadn’t yet been fed.  He gobbled up two servings of instant oatmeal as quickly as I could feed him.  My granddaughter had eaten a granola bar she foraged from the cupboard and was looking forward to “going out to eat.”

We gathered their things like the house was on fire. I grabbed clothes, medicines, school backpack, a stuffed monkey and a doll. The children had been at our house almost as much as their own so we had enough stuff to get us through the next few days.

Within that time it was apparent the children needed to stay with us for a while. At least until their home life had significant changes. Our daughter needed tough-love parenting as we loving advocated for our grandchildren. I bought a crib, sippy cups, and lots of diapers and wipes.

We cried and prayed and I began to journal. These outlets have been my way of coping. I will end with a journal entry and a question: What do you do to help you cope with difficulties when parenting your child and/or grandkids?

I Want My Mommy

“Mommy, mommynote pad and pen. I want my mommy.”

Their cries pierce my heart.

We cuddle.

Our tears mingle and bathe our faces.

Two little ones whose lives have been decimated by the paths chosen by their parents.

No excuses or explanations will comfort them.

I can only offer the sanctuary of my home,

My arms,

My heart.

Father God,

Is Your heart crushed when I foolishly choose to ignore Your laws?

When I cast aside Your plan for my life?

When I seek my own way, not Your will?

As I raise these little ones, please help me remember to seek after You.

To follow You closely.

To draw my strength from You.

Supply me hourly with patience and energy.

Help me model Your love and grace.

The task is too important and too great to do on my own.