Saturday, July 6, 2013

Older... and Wiser?

We've been celebrating quite a few birthdays lately.  My husband and two of our little ones had birthdays in May... they are now four and two - I won't share my handsome man's age!  My sister and my mother-in-law had birthdays in June, and we celebrated my birthday on July 4th with a family dinner at my mom's.  I know for certain she cooked ALL DAY in preparation... and we feasted like kings and queens at a festive table bedecked with red/white/blue table linens, candles, centerpieces and even candy favors at each place setting.  I told her I would have been totally satisfied with a sandwich supper... but she said that would never do!  Have I mentioned that cooking big family-style dinners is a Southern tradition in my family?!

We gathered for a group photo... our first since Christmas Eve.  I'm posting both so you can see how we have changed!

Christmas Eve, 2012

July 4th, 2013
My husband and I have started taking Timothy and Zola to church with us.  We pick them up, and then most Sundays we pick up Grandma "E".  While the children have Sunday school, we attend worship service... and then we all go to Burger King or McDonald's for lunch!  It seems to be a good fit for all of us, and Timothy and Zola entertain all of us royally.  They love their Grandma "E" and always are glad to see her.  We haven't tackled taking baby Nathan (almost one) along yet... wish us luck when that happens!

Ice cream at Burger King with Grandma "E"

Our little Nathan, almost one.
For the moment, things are going fairly smoothly in our neck of the woods.  My mom and her husband are taking Timothy on his first trip to Branson, Missouri in their motorhome.  They will attend KidsFest at Silver Dollar City, play in the pool at the resort where they park their rig, and attend a couple of shows.  Timothy is beyond excited... I hope Granny and Pap-pa Lee took their vitamins!  While they are away, Pap-pa Lee will turn 75... Granny is 74... and Timothy is 4 going on 14!  It should be interesting!

We are in the process of finding someone to remodel Grandma "E's" bathroom to make it more accessible for her.  Now age 87, she is having some issues with the bathtub, and the time has come to transition to a shower with a seat and a hand-held sprayer.  She seems to have accepted this.  Should she insist on taking a bath once in awhile, she will still have a tub in the guest bathroom that we hope can be outfitted with more grab bars to make it safer.  There are things that she still wants to do and is unwilling to relinquish (like puttering in her yard and garage and dog sitting), and for the most part, we are okay with this.  But they come with consequences... like stiff and sore joints, the risk of falls, and more.  We think we are prepared to deal with these possibilities, as well.

If I learned anything with Mam-ma Polly, it's that you have to pick and choose your battles.  I am trying to apply this theory to all age groups.  Some days are better than others.  I'm also trying to "let go and let God" - to practice what I preach.  I was not happy when my mom announced in May that she and Lee might be Workamping this summer in North Dakota... and then spending the fall in Kentucky... and we might not see them again until Christmas Eve.  But the North Dakota trip did not happen... and for the first time in YEARS, Mom was actually home for my birthday - and my sister's birthday - and we enjoyed wonderful family get-togethers for both.  (See what happens when you let God handle things?!)  I assume the fall trip is still a "go," and I am rolling with that!

My sweet husband is the best son - and uncle - in the world.  He is so patient with his mother.  Each Monday after he delivers Meals on Wheels for the local Senior Citizens Center, he picks up take-out somewhere and goes to his mother's and shares lunch with her.  He handles all of her yard work - mowing, trimming, fertilizing, weed control... and many other things around her house.  His older CPA-brother handles the finances, but my husband has offered to help his mother with her bill paying and small matters in between monthly visits from big brother.

On the "uncle" front, this man is truly hands-on.  He helps with everything from getting the children to church and back, playing in the park on a sunny day, watching one child while I bathe or change another, general playtime, meals, reading stories, bed-time kisses, and so much more.  He serves as a part-time "dad" to the children's parents... a mentor, financial advisor, and moral support.  It truly does take a village to see after all of these generations... and he's the greatest!

So here we are... many of us a year older... and hopefully a little bit wiser!  There are still new challenges - and I'm sure there will be setbacks - but we will weather them, with God's help.  I pray that things are well in your neck of the woods.  As always, I would love to hear your "Sandwich" stories.  Please send them to me if you are willing to share.  We can all learn a lot from each other.  What's your story?