Sunday, April 22, 2018

That One Time I Thought I Was Going to Be a Grandmother

So, Blair and John Samuel were home, this weekend. His parents live only about 35 minutes from us and so they usually divide the weekend up between the two houses. This time, they were with us on Saturday night. We grilled steaks, sat around the fire pit, and then came back inside for dessert and a ballgame on TV. The newlyweds were cuddled up together on the couch, looking at their laptop. They were pricing houses in their area to see what they were selling for and telling us about their urgency to get out of apartment living. They just needed more space.

Next thing we knew, they were looking at trucks for John Samuel. He wanted something with a back seat, he said. Then, they were pricing small SUVs for Blair. They were just browsing and seeing what the going rate for all those things were. You know how you did when you were young and just starting out. You liked to make plans and dream a little. John Samuel is an accountant and so they have worked out detailed financial goals and plans for their future and were just playing around with some numbers on different things.

They'd planned this particular trip home to take John Samuel's mom, April, and me out to lunch after church to celebrate Mother's Day, a little early. They said they'd gotten us both the same gift and, with their time at home being kind of scarce, they were going to kill both of us with one stone. We certainly didn't mind and were excited about the nice and thoughtful treat. Just for us, their mothers. With John Samuel's ongoing CPA testing and BOTH of them having graduating siblings, it just seemed to be the last available weekend to rope off for a Mother's Day celebration without stealing the graduates' thunder and, goodness knows, we wouldn't want to do that.

Anyway, it was so nice to have them go to church with us. We all sat together.....even Carson, who usually sits with the youth....and me, who skipped out of choir to be with the rest of them. There, we sat. Together. Such a warm feeling for a mother to look over and see her son growing into such a fine, young man with his whole life ahead of him and her daughter so happy with her sweet husband and exciting career.

That's when it happened. That's when I lost all track of the sermon and my mind went off like a dog chasing a squirrel. You know the devil can do that to a person. Take your mind from the important truths being told to a completely different place. Places like the restaurant menu or the afternoon agenda or the week ahead. But, this was somewhere completely different.

Now, I was intent on listening, for sure. I heard the preacher announce the scripture he'd be reading and, as I looked over and noticed John Samuel picking up his Bible, it struck me that Blair was wearing a pink dress and he was wearing blue pants and a blue shirt. And like a lightning bolt coming through the beautiful stained glass windows, it hit me. This most extraordinarily glorious and yet horrifically harrowing thought......what if they're going to tell us that they're having a baby at this impending Mother's Day lunch?!?

Well, the devil really knew where to dangle that carrot because my mind took off like a rocket ship. The rest of the sermon went something like this.......

If you could only read one book of the Bible, I'd suggest the Book of John......
Why would John Samuel be looking for a truck with a full size backseat and back door? What's he going to put back there?
"In the beginning was the Word".....
And why would they be looking at a small SUV for Blair when she drives so many miles with her job?
Look how he has his arm around her shoulder and is stroking her hand. Aww, he'll be such a supportive husband through this.
"......and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
They're so anxious to get out of their apartment and it's so new and nice and full of people their age. Why else would they need more space right now.......well, besides for the wedding gifts still at my house?
And they insisted we go ahead and have our grandparent names picked out for their "dog". Yeah, right.
We are all so fortunate and blessed to have grown up knowing and learning about Jesus in church.
Blair did just have a doctor's appointment, a couple of weeks ago. But, why wouldn't they include their dads in this revelation?  Maybe they're in on the surprise.
We need to be enthusiastic about telling others about Him because so many people in this world have no idea.
She did mention trying to cook a more high protein and high fiber diet. And they did get both of us, mothers, the "same thing".
Oh, my word. I'm going to be a grandmother! I turn 50 in 2 weeks and then turn into a grandmother!

Have mercy....It's so hot in here? Where is that bulletin? I need to fan myself. And my mouth is dry.

Now, if you'll stand and turn to hymn number........
Ok, deep breaths. I'll find out soon enough.

After church, we all made the rounds to visit people on the way out the door. Several people wanted to speak to the newlyweds and asked how their new life was treating them. I remember piping up at one point, "Well, they have been married SIX months already, so they're really an old married couple now." I mean, in about 20 minutes, I was going to be told they were expecting and we didn't need anyone counting on their fingers when they found out.

We arrived at the historic restaurant and soon were met by April, who was coming from their church service. We were led to our table in the dimly lit dining room to some live, soft jazz being played. I complimented Blair's pink dress and asked if it was new. It was, which confirmed, in my mind, that it was bought just for this most special occasion. "I am so very clever to figure this all out," I thought to myself.
Blair sat down at the table and had two gifts. Identical flat, rectangular gifts wrapped in beautiful floral paper with pink bows. Well, my suspicions were confirmed. I mean, what else could it be other than framed ultrasound pictures of a tiny, little butterbean-shaped miracle. The butterbean-shaped miracle that would turn me from Mama to MeeMaw or Mimi or Granny Joni or whatever else I'd decide. The butterbean that I'd claim looked like my Blair and April would insist looked just like her John Samuel. I'd never been so blissfully happy and so horrendously nauseated in all my life. Was I ready for this? I hear it's the most wonderful experience ever and, sure, I was old enough to be a grandmother, but I always pictured that I'd be a little older. You know, like when I'm buying shoes for comfort only, taking Metamucil, and having knees replaced.
The waitress took our drink orders and brought our menus. After we made our selections, they announced they wanted us to open our gifts. Well, this was it. This was the moment I'd been waiting for since the sermon started and I looked over and noticed they were dressed in pink and blue. We looked at each other and I tried to open mine at the same pace as she was opening hers. I didn't want to spoil the surprise for her.......since she was obviously not as keen and perceptive as I was to the whole unfolding situation. Bless her heart.

We ripped the paper and there it was. The most beautiful and perfect.......oil paintings of Oak Alley plantation, where they were married, last year. They'd bought them recently from an artist, while in New Orleans for a cooking class. I'd never felt so relieved.....and so disappointed in all my life. For about an hour there in the glow of the stain glass, I'd felt life coming at me like the rapid-fire foam bullets from one of those Nerf automatic blasters. But, I was wrong. All wrong. And had to retract the prideful feelings stemming from my so called keen awareness and ability to assess situations......and, of course, repent for not listening to the sermon very well due to the chasing of squirrels all over the sanctuary.

So, in conclusion, I will recap some truths learned today. Things aren't always as they seem. Our minds can fill in a lot of blanks with the wrong answers as long as we keep giving it pencil lead. What God is saying to us is way more valuable than what our mind is whispering, while He's talking. It is possible to feel let down and ecstatic at the very same time. Sometimes, we want life to hurry up and, other times, we wish it to slow down, but it's best to just be content to let it go at its own, natural pace.

I love our sweet children for giving us a special day with such thoughtful gifts and precious time together. It wasn't the life altering, identity changing gift that I'd imagined but, it was perfect.

Just simply perfect and treasured.                  
Happy Monday, people.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Prom and Such

Well, prom was last weekend. Chasing that fabric swatch into oncoming traffic surely paid off as Carson and his date made quite the handsome couple. Had I not risked life and limb for the cause, I suspect they would've never coordinated this perfectly. In the game of chicken, all is well that ends well, I suppose.
Y'all know what a soft spot I have for prom. The sweet, innocence of nervous boys fumbling with corsages and girls excited about their new dresses and hoping their dads don't ask too many questions of the poor guy. I was helping with the pre-prom party and loved seeing the young couples trying to navigate the special occasion. I heard some of the other moms making a commotion as they looked out the front windows of the host home. It was raining and they'd spotted Carson, who'd pulled into the driveway and was walking his date to the door with an umbrella before going back out and parking his truck down the street. There are lot of things that Carson is good at, but how to treat a lady is quite possibly the area in which his natural, inborn expertise lies.
He and his sweet date have been friends since birth and her mom and I grew up in church together and so we go way back, too. She made some fun collages of the past and present that were so sweet and confirmed the fact that time, indeed, goes by too quickly.
While we all know that Carson dressed to match his date's runaway swatch, Sugar assumed that she was really the one with whom he was trying to coordinate. She believes in her heart that she's the only woman he will ever need in his life.  
And thanks to everyone who's sent messages about our little Sugar. The doctor increased her medicine and she's really improved. Today, we celebrate 13 years of having her in our family and we're so thankful that our little Sug is doing better. In keeping with tradition, we'll make our annual birthday run to Sonic and let her pick her pleasure from the picture menu.  
Blair was home with us all weekend. She came home to do John Samuel's little sister's makeup for her prom on Friday night and stayed to see her brother off to his last prom on Saturday night. John Samuel couldn't come with her as he had to study for his CPA exam and so it was just her. It's been a long time since Davis and I looked in the backseat and saw both of them sitting there. They'd seemed to outgrow throwing punches back there and Carson didn't once tattle that his sister was looking out his window. Maybe grown kids aren't such a bad thing.
So, the spring of Carson's senior year has added many things to my to-do list as of late and so I decided it was time to redeem the massage gift card, which was given to me by some sweet friends around the time of the wedding. One thing and then another had kept me from using it then, but I decided that this new life event might just as easily call for some massage therapy as well.

I showed up for my appointment today and handed the receptionist my gift certificate, which was good for one full body relaxation massage. After filling out some paperwork on my medical history, I was taken back to the massage room, which, of course, was dimly lit with soft music playing. The massage lady instructed me to undress to my level of comfort and get on the table and she'd be back in a few minutes.

Well, that's a predicament. There, I stood alone, left to contemplate my disrobing comfort level. Take off too little and how in the world would you get the full effect of a whole body massage. Take off too much and be the talk of the spa break room for the next couple of weeks. I was wishing she'd given more specific instructions like they do at the doctor, you know?  They're real specific there. So, I just went with my gut and climbed up on the table and face planted into the little head rest thingy and waited....hoping I was dressed appropriately.

Having no idea how long the massage would take, I'd cleared the first part of the afternoon to enjoy the experience. I'm sure there's another word for the massage lady but, anyway, she came in and started loosening up all my muscles starting with the right side of my back. About the time she made it around to my left arm, I heard my purse vibrate in the chair. I'd silenced my phone but could hear it going off in there. A couple of minutes later, I could hear another text jiggling against my tin of Altoids over the soft, soothing music. I thought, "Now, which one of the reasons, why I need a massage, could that be?"  Of course, a mother always envisions her children needing her and has to weigh her repose up against their safety and well being. In this case, I decided that the kids had two parents and if they really needed something, well, they could contact the other one. Mama was busy unwinding.

It was such a soothing experience and the hour was over in a flash. Funny how an hour in the dentist chair or at the DMV flows like molasses, but let time catch you on a massage table and, boy, does it pick up its feet. So, to my friends, Sherry, Carolyn, and Nancee......every last second of your gift was thoroughly enjoyed. Maybe not as mother of the bride, but the mother of the graduate thanks you from the top of her head to the soles of her feet.

Y'all have a good Wednesday!