Seeing Rainbows

Life isn’t sacred.

Life is precious and wonderful. It can be tedious or exciting. Life, as Glennon Melton Doyle says, is brutal and beautiful… brutiful. But life isn’t sacred. Sacred means holy, set aside, reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object.  I’m not saying that life can’t be those things, but general everyday life doesn’t qualify as sacred. However, there are moments in one’s life that are sacred. Birth, when a baby takes its first breath, causes those present to catch and hold their own breaths, waiting for that first cry as air fills the infant’s lungs. Death is also one of those sacred moments; being present as someone takes a final breath is a holy experience and a sacred honor – one which I count myself blessed to have witnessed.

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My husband and I discussed some of this a few weeks ago as he prepared to undergo an angiogram. We were filling out paperwork for his Advance Directive in the event things went horribly wrong. He didn’t want to have life indefinitely prolonged via medical support if there was no hope of recovery. We did the hard work of discussing how long I should wait for him to come out of a coma or allow him to be on life support, should those things be in our immediate future.

We experienced sacred moments yesterday. It was a beautiful morning: the smoke was finally clearing from our skies. I wanted to visit friends who were camping in a lovely Riverside spot before they left to journey home, so SuperDad and Moses and I drove the short distance to the state park. I walked the first half-mile with them, smiling at how happy our dog was to be sniffing everything. We parted on the bridge; man and beast continued on their favorite hike together while I returned to where my friends were camped. About 30 minutes later, when I was expecting their return to us, SD called to say the dog was having trouble breathing (this was not terribly uncommon and usually righted itself within minutes) so they were resting before moving on. Ten minutes later, a second call let me know that Moses wasn’t recovering well at all, and could I get a cart to meet them? My friend J and I asked the camp host if there was a cart available but she did not have one, so we drove to my house for our folding wagon, quickly returning to the park with it.  We met SD and the dog on the trail: Moses had slipped into a coma. We gently moved him to a blanket and lifted him into the cart. The trail back was rocky and uneven, and the decision was made for SD to go retrieve the car while J and I walked with the wagon along a smoother path until we could all meet up. At a stopping point in the shade, J reached down and pet the dog; she noted that his heart was beating quickly. By the time I reached down to feel his chest, Moses’ heart had stopped. There was no trauma, no misery – just a quiet ending. He was having a joy-filled morning, walking on one of his favorite paths in the woods until with a final wag of his tail, he laid down to rest. SuperDad was there to give him water and keep him company. When Moses took his final breath, he had a loving hand placed comfortingly on him.

Death is sacred, and in those important, holy moments of yesterday, there were people to bear witness to it. Aside from the fact that he was a 14-year-old Labrador retriever – that makes him the human equivalent of 98 years of age, so clearly his time had come – I think that is why I am so at peace with his passing: he was ushered out of this life with loving hands. Moses now at the proverbial Rainbow Bridge, where he is free to sniff whatever he wants to his heart’s content. We weren’t his first family, so if the legend is true Moses will have at least two joyous reunions in the future. There are some wonderful dogs I know of who went before him, and I imagine there is quite the dog party happening now.

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A visit from Little Foot

It is still winter here where the snow falls like powdered sugar.

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Little Foot arrived at our house on Saturday evening. His mama and daddy both caught the stomach bug he’d just gotten over, and Oma and Opa were happy to have him here so his parents could rest.

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The resident uncles pretend it’s not a big deal to have Little Foot here for a visit but given the opportunity, they are happy to interact with their nephew.

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It’s hard to focus the lens on a moving toddler!

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This boy is amazingly mellow. This is the first time he has spent extended hours in our house without his parents here with him. He has asked, “Mama, where you? Dada?” a few times. However, most of the time he is content to play. Opa’s meatloaf, Oma’s pumpkin pie, bananas and peanut butter toast have been the favorite foods for the past day, along with muffins and breakfast breads at church on Sunday morning. Green beans were decidedly “meh.”

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Oma, why is there only a tiny bit of sparkles on this toenail? 

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I’ve been taking advantage of his nap times to get some rest myself, even if it’s just reading a book. And really, who could resist just watching him sleep?

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This nap, however, is coming to an end. Time to get back down on the floor and play!

We’ll be heading home to his mama and daddy this afternoon. They are feeling better and I have work tomorrow.

 

 

MTM: Summer

 

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Photo taken on the teenager’s 17th birthday

 

It’s hot here this week, hitting the low 90s, but at least I don’t have to drive 8 hours in an un-air-conditioned truck to the other side of the state and back, nor am I spending my week with hundreds of teenage boys. Why yes, it is scout camp week.

And off they go...

And off they go…

Of course, without the person who wakes up at 0430 to open windows and switch on the whole-house exhaust fan, our house isn’t very cool in the mornings since we don’t have central air conditioning. It’s all about windows and fans.

Four generations of handsome guys

Four generations of handsome guys

I should probably back up a little and show a few pictures from a little over a week ago, when we all gathered together at the home of my husband’s parents. My father-in-law was having his 80th birthday party.

Family 4x6 resizedThis family picture is from that evening (baby was sleepy and didn’t want to smile for a camera). It was the first time all 8 of us had been together since January 2nd.

This little piggy...

This little piggy…

In the past, there have been many times when I have disliked (or even hated) pictures of me. But now that I’m a grandma? Any picture of Oma with her sweet boy is a good picture in my eyes.

I tried to not be a baby hog, although I don’t know if I succeeded in that endeavor.

I did, however, succeed in jamming my toes into a chair at work last Thursday. Luckily, this is my “good” foot so it isn’t as painful as it could have been.

DSCN2529 Bruised toes, and this is my GOOD foot!

Those little piggies are sore.

 

 

 

 

 

Look at those thighs and that amazing core strength! Babies are awesome.

Look at those chubby thighs and that amazing core strength! Babies are awesome.

Just when I thought it would be too quiet around here, The Engineer, The Author, and Little Foot stopped in for a quick visit overnight between a holiday at the lake with friends and heading back to their own home. I could never get too much time with this boy.
Confession: I enjoy time with his parents, too!

His daddy had just finished playing so we gave Little Foot a turn at tickling the ivories.

His daddy had just finished playing so we gave Little Foot a turn at tickling the ivories.

For the curious, Little Foot is now 7.5 months old. No teeth have popped through those gums, but he loves to eat whatever we are eating. He continues to be a happy, snuggly baby — much like his father was 25 years ago. I am so lucky and blessed to have them only 80 miles away.

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In which The Scout turns 17 without a cake

Age three, SM wanted a dinosaur cake. His parents made one with Cheetos... His first (but not last!) Cheesy-Puffasaurus birthday cake

Age three, The Scout wanted a dinosaur cake. His parents made one decorated with Cheetos…
His first (but not last!) Cheesy-Puffasaurus birthday cake. And although he doesn’t show it in this photo, he was actually very pleased with his cake. 

At 17, The Scout does not want a birthday cake or even a birthday pie! This is because he decided back in January to kick excess sugar out of his diet.** He is leaving in a few hours for a week of Boy Scout camp, so this morning I made him an omelet with sauteed fresh vegetables for his birthday breakfast.

An older picture of The Scout and his grandparents. He's at least 3 inches taller now.

An older picture of The Scout and his grandparents. He’s at least 3 inches taller now.

Last weekend at his grandparents’ house, where we were celebrating his grandfather’s 80th birthday, The Scout and his brothers H-J and The Barefooter each made their own veggie omelets for breakfast. They are no strangers to presentation value, garnishing with an artistic squiggle of ketchup and sides of sliced melon. Extended family was impressed.

My four boys, summer 2000. Note the very dark tan hand around the baby's middle.

My four boys, summer 2000. Last Saturday was the first time the four of them had been together since the week of Christmas. Today that sweet one-year-old baby turns 17 years old.

A week of scout camp may be a challenge for him as he continues to have headaches, but he tells me that it has improved and no longer feels like someone is pressing a hot iron into his scalp! My resident teenager doesn’t complain — just quietly goes about doing what must be done. I’d worry about him going but SuperDad is his Scoutmaster and, as you may recall, is a retired nurse.
Our house is generally pretty quiet; this week it will be too quiet.

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** That’s right, my teenager does not eat candy or cookies or other sweet treats. He eats fresh fruit when he wants something sweet. This is totally his choice, and it fits with his generally healthy lifestyle. If given a choice between whole grain crackers and potato chips of any flavor, he’d choose the crackers. We haven’t had ice cream in the house for more than a month (and even then he wasn’t eating it). I’m proud of him for choosing healthy fuel for his body; at the same time, I’m pretty sure he’s not a normal teenager.

 

from blown glass swans to plastic pink flamingos

Twenty-eight years ago, on Saturday the fifth of March, there were flowers and blown glass swans on top of a tiered cake. Family and friends wished us well as we drove off in an old pick-up truck in the rain. Together we have bought 11 vehicles, driven thousands upon thousands of miles, moved 11 times, purchased 3 different houses (and sold 2 of them),  and raised 4 children.

Today is also Saturday the fifth of March. We are expecting rain much of the day and I’m sure we’ll stay home, but it will be a day of quiet contentment.

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We don’t always see eye-to-eye…

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…but we continue growing together.

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baby pink rhubarb = future pies for SuperDad