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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

You walk into school, 5th grade...first day.  Your first assignment is to write a report on what you did that summer.  So, here's what we did this summer...

I awoke on a May morning to the sun shining through our faux plantation blinds and smiled knowing that this was in fact the first day of summer vacation.  I would like to say that I awoke all on my own, but apparently the boys did not get the memo that one sleeps in on summer vacation - the clock said 6:12 a.m. and here we were, ready to take on the day.  The remainder of the month of May was much the same, speckled with days where we slept until almost 7:30.  We went the the splash park, played squirt guns in the backyard and made chocolate chip cookies for snacks. 

June came in forcefully and sooner than later we were staring down at our first baby turning 6.  We were honored to host two wonderful visitors and eat Batman birthday cake.  The realization that my child is growing up without my ability to S  L  O W  things down  was almost more than I could take as I saw him blow out 6 candles on his cake.  It becomes more and more cliche every year when I sit down and reflect on just how fast it all goes. We shared our home amd lives with my niece for the month of June - it was everything I knew it would be and then some more.  The ups and downs of taking care of three kids was a good lesson as I continue to attempt to deny the baby pangs that are calling my name.  The boys simply adored the extra attention and  fart jokes that she supplied - mostly it was a good time had by all - mostly.

We headed home to Tennessee for July.  It was a trip like no other, unfortunately not for the reasons we had hoped.  The trip was scheduled because I intended to spend time with my ailing father and my siblings that have come in from states asunder to have time with him and time together - this was put into place months before we got word of Chris's Dad's stage 4 cancer diagnosis.  But as it would happen, the world came tumbling down while we were in Tennessee.  There we were buried under a family size mess of emotions and dealing with the complexities of life, death, health and sickness.  Life lessons of life altering proportions made a call and we were tested.  As we watched breath leave a father's life - it gave us pause.  As we watched will leave a son's life - we felt the grief.  As we watched strength leave a husband's life - we clung even more to each other.  As we watched love leave a grandfather's life - we learned (again) how hard it is to make sense of life...and what it means when it is over. 

We also watched a great man travel further towards that end stage of his life.  A great man that had saved lives by pumping a heart with his own hands lay there powerless to heal himself.  His son, the doctor, scrambling to find a solution.  His wife, the nurse, praying for a way to make sense of it all.  A daughter left feeling ravaged by what life had offered and begging for a reprieve.  A grandson wrestling with what it means to miss someone for the rest of his life.  A son-in-law warring against what life would be like without a father, or even a father figure. 

The summer has held so much in the way of lessons I would rather have learned in an easier way...and while I am certain, 150% sure, that God has his hands in every occurence, somehow it still aches in my chest.  There is an emptiness that pangs in my soul when I stop long enough to recognize the echoes as the cries I have yet to release, the sadness I have yet to feel.  Just as any other time in my life, of course, the juxtaposition of emotions is maddening.  As I gaze at the volumes of emotions I have shelved this summer, I am also forced to recognize how much joy there remains in my life - despite the tragedy, death, sickness...
there is JOY.  It is much more palatable to grasp for joy than to taste the tears of grief.  When I take part one of my two volume set of my 2010 edition of summer the emotions run over me like waves crashing into the shore - I am knocked back, breathless and begging for a rescue.  When I hasten to return it to the shelf I find it just a little less heavy then when I first lifted it up to take it out.  That is GOD at work - lightening the burden each time I confront it.  If only I had the courage to confront it all and let God take each and every part...but just when I feel my weakest, I find myself enjoying the joy of laughter, success - a glimmer of that silver lining.  Amazing.

So, one week left of blissful summer and I can say that this summer is one I will never forget.  Last moments shared, words of love spoke as though you know you may never get the chance to say it again, and evermore the learning that God is in control - another opportunity to ask for redemption and rescue and submit myself to what is so much bigger than myself. 

I fell in love all over again with suntanned skin, the smells of sunscreen and running through the sprinkler, eating popsicles and fighting the OK heat to finish it or wear it :-)  Watching the boys tucker themselves out splashing in the pool.  Spending time with lifetime friends and laughing at stories that you shared long before that moment while making new ones IN that moment.  Hugging sisters, brothers, neices and nephews and the laughter that happens when you're among family.  Sharing a goodbye to a good man that loved hard and will always be remembered.  Hearing another good man say his I love you's while he still can.  Taking it all in - good, bad, ugly, sad - all of it. 

Summer vacation - shew, what a couple of months!

1 comment:

CathMikk2 said...

Katie, This is very emotional, happy, sad. But most it is JOY.
Thank you for sharing your last two months. You are so strong in sharing your thoughts and words.

Bless You,
Cathy