Tag Archives: family

It’s Time for a New Trend

Today is October 7, the day my grandmother was born.  She would have been 97 if she were still alive. The interesting thing about my grandma’s birthday is that it occurs on the 7th as does mine and my mother’s, three months consecutively.  Mine is August 7th, my mom’s September 7th, and my grandma’s October 7th.  So when I found out that my first daughter’s due date was in July, we all wondered if she would continue the trend.

She didn’t.  She arrived three weeks early on the 4th of July.  We were surprised by her early arrival, but thrilled she was healthy.  As I looked at her, I thought about how she would be the beginning of something new in our family.

You see, for three generations there was a pattern emerging between mother and daughter; one of hurt and distance.

My grandmother, like the rest of us, had hurts and wounds she carried through her adult life.  She didn’t speak openly about them.  Part of that was probably the generation she came from and part because of who she was as a person.  But they came out in other ways, they always do.

She had four children; my mom and then a few years later, three boys in fairly rapid succession. From what I understand, my grandmother probably suffered from postpartum depression, among other things.  This left my mom feeling unwanted and distant from her mom.  In the latter years of my grandma’s life, my mom wanted to close that distance.  She tried talking to her, but my grandma just couldn’t bring herself to reveal those parts of her heart that she had hidden for so long.  I know this hurt my mom.

My mom wanted things to be different with me and my siblings.  Unfortunately, she too had hurts and wounds that made that difficult.  Compounded by several difficult circumstances and abusive partners, she protected her heart so fiercely that there was a constant barrier to getting close.  I know my mom loved me and I loved her, but try as we might, there was a familiar distance in our relationship as well.

000038457e9e14f79cbea85d29e17a09So here I was, looking at my own daughter, fearing that history would repeat itself again.  I knew it didn’t have to be that way; I hoped it could be different.  She and I would start a new mother/daughter trend.  One that would be full of love, grace, mercy, vulnerability, and authenticity.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who allowed me the time and space to deal with my own hurts so I wouldn’t lay them on our children.  And he’s been a wonderful partner in parenting.  God was also very gracious to bring wonderful women into my life whom I could learn from and go to when I was unsure.

I’m thankful for my grandma and my mom.  They each showed love in their own unique ways and they loved each other and me the best way they knew how.  But I’m glad there’s a new trend in our family. We don’t always get it right.  I wish there were things I would have done differently.  At the end of the day, though, we have a closeness that I had always hoped was possible.  My prayer is that my children continue the trend and do it even better…

Christmas Pictures

WP_20141212_003WP_20141212_006These pictures were taken the day of my mom’s visitation; the day before her funeral.  It was Christmas time (notice Frosty).  I was worn, sad, and a little anxious.

We started out the day about 4 in the morning, drove 90 minutes to the airport, and flew the 2 1/2 hours to Arizona.  We had some time before we needed to be ready, so we headed to the mall.  We wandered around, not really intending to buy anything, just wanting to pass the time.

As we passed Frosty, I remembered that we hadn’t taken our family photo for the Christmas letter.  We were going to take one over Thanksgiving break when my oldest daughter was home from college, but my mom’s health got worse and I flew to be with her before we were able to take the picture.  So Frosty seemed like a good place for an impromptu photo op.

And as usually, the kids had to follow the ‘regular photo’ with a crazy one.  I love that about my kids.  They know how to act in a socially acceptable and polite way when needed.  They even know how to properly pose for a picture.  But they also know that it’s okay to be goofy, silly, fun, and different.

For so many years, I was worried about always looking normal and acceptable.   My kids have taught me that normal and acceptable can be boring.  They’ve taught me to play and laugh.  They encourage me to try new things.  And they’ve taught me to laugh even when I fail.  They and my husband are my biggest cheerleaders.

So as I look at these pictures, my heart smiles.  They remind me that even in the midst of  grieving, I can laugh and have moments of joy.  And that joy brings hope.   Hope that life, even if different than before, will go on and have purpose and meaning.

And if you’re wondering where your pictures are from us, well…… I never got them sent.  Maybe next year I’ll be more organized.  But I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.