Now we're ready
Almost four years I ago I was sitting in the same bedroom in the same house in Colorado Springs where I sit as I write this post. I am compelled by a strong desire to express my thoughts and feelings about my family, but chaotic scenes run rampant and I can't seem to chase them down long enough to be coherent. So, forgive my ramblings on this wet cold night as I attempt to share my thoughts.
We are a blended family. My husband and I were both divorced, young, with five children between us, and we needed each other, needed the chance to make a life together that neither of us had experienced before. Little did we know how very hard and difficult achieving that goal would be. We made mistakes along the way and as always in divorce, children were hurt. We struggled to create a happy home, and tried to do better with each mistake we made. There are memories tucked away deep inside that can break my heart when they surface, and I can only hope that our children aren't as scarred by those mistakes as I think they surely must be.
This past August we celebrated thirty three years of marriage. These days I am prone to ask my husband, "how did we get here, where did the years go?" He always has the same answer, "one day at a time." As with any marriage, we are not the same people we were back then. Life can either make you or break you. That saying about lemons is true. If lemons are what you get, you make lemonade. We made a lot of lemonade!
Our oldest grandson is now twenty-five and I think his birth began to bond this family together for the first time. Suddenly, we weren't Mom and Howard, or Dad and Linda, but Nana and Papaw. Our kids began to get married, started their own families and maybe, began to learn a little bit about how hard life can be. By 1996 our nest was empty and our journey through life together was reinvented once again. With two sons in Arkansas, two daughters in Virginia (close to us) and another son in the Army who finally settled in North Carolina, we seemed to always be singing Willie Nelson's song, On the Road Again.
Sometimes I wondered if we were trying to be the best grandparents because we didn't believe we'd been the best parents. But now all these years later I think it was God giving us the opportunity to see what great parents we could have been had we started out together in the beginning. We are a great team and most of the time we are on the same page. We love our family with a fierce love, all thirty-eight of them. Our beautifully blended family of five children has given us twenty-five grandchildren, (one is still baking, but not for long) one grandson-in-law and two great-grandchildren.
So, why am I sitting in the same bedroom in the same house in Colorado Springs, and why does that prompt me to write about my family? Because we are here, once again, taking care of our youngest daughter, Amy. Four years ago she'd been through brain surgery to remove a tumor, and we spent the month of January of 2011 taking care of her family. We had to leave sooner than we needed to and it was hard to say goodbye and go back across country to our home in Virginia. But over that year she improved, and was cancer free until this past April when another tumor developed.
Crisis in families can either tear them apart or bond them together. Amy's war with cancer has brought the brothers and sisters together in prayer, concern and caring about her well being. Bonded, no longer step brother or step sister, just brother and sister. God can work miracles like that in the midst of sickness and disease. It's not that we haven't felt bonded as a family until now, but no doubt these last few months have drawn us closer than ever before.
We have three family photos taken over the last twelve years and it's fun to look back at the first one, when we thought our family was so big. We can't seem to have a final photo with everyone in it, but that's what families do, they grow, they change, and branch out to make their tree larger and larger. And during all that growth and change we bond and love deeper. And give support, physical, emotional, and if needed financial, but the greatest support is prayer, earnest, crying out to God, prayer. When our faith is tested and we think we can't go on we cry out and He is there.