Monday, July 22, 2013

And So, I Bake

Almost a week ago a sweet friend (and distant Weaver cousin) buried her baby boy.
Only he wasn't a baby anymore.
 I'm pretty sure if you ask any mother she'd tell you her children will always be her babies.
Still, he was far too young to leave this life.
He was nearly 28 years old.
His death was a shock and extremely hard to contemplate.
Tears were quick and painful last week, still they're too close to the surface.
I can't even imagine the grief  that comes with losing a child, I pray I will never know such heartache.
As I thought of my friend and her family I desperately wanted to do something to help, only I was at a loss as to what I could possibly do.
 I racked my brain for days, tormented by the desire to help but not wanting to intrude on their family at this time of loss.
And so, I did what I do best, I baked.
I baked up a couple loaves of bread and some chicken broccoli bombs and set off to their house.
As I dropped off the food and chatted for a few minutes with this sweet boys father, I could not help feeling shallow.
It did not seem enough.
They lost their only son and I offer them bread?
How is that supposed to be any compensation at all?
I felt like I had cheated them somehow, like what I had to offer could never fill the chasm this life event had left in its wake.
It just felt really trite.
As I drove home, sobbing the whole way, I hoped this family would know what I was really bringing that day, what those few short hours of baking represented.
Wrapped in plastic was a piece of my heart, my love, my shoulder to cry on, my deep desire to lessen their pain, impossible as that may be.
Those rolls were not only filled with chicken and broccoli, but with hope that the sun will come out tomorrow, that these dear friends will know they don't have to shoulder this burden alone.
Those cracks on top of the bombs were not only to let out the steam, but to show that our hearts are also broken for their loss.
I thought about the symbolism of bread and He who is the bread of life.
The bread I brought this family will  perish.
But the bread of life is eternal.
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." ~John 6:35
The bread I offered up has power to only fill their bellies for a short time.
This bread, however, is the power to heal that which is broken, that which I am powerless to fix.
That is the bread I want that family to eat.
That is the bread I want to eat every day of my life as well.
"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." ~John 6:40
What an incredibly beautiful promise.
A promise I am powerless to make, but one given to them from a loving Savior who I am sure is holding my Wonderful Wendy in the palms of His hands.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Firsts and Lasts

We all know the thrill of watching a baby do something for the first time.
I remember as clear as day the first time my niece, Alyssa, said my name for the first time.
She could not say it very clearly, so for about the next 7 years I was know throughout the whole family (and even a few friends) as "RaRa".
Then I had my own babies.
As a young mother I waited patiently for Doodle to do something, ANYTHING besides just stare and sleep all day long.
The first time she grasped a toy and waved it all around, practically bruising her poor forehead, I could not have been more thrilled. 
I took a million pictures, called Mr Bird at work, ecstatic to finally have something to brag about, and played with her for what seemed like hours.
Really, it was probably 20 minutes, then she went right back to sleep. 
I could not stop smiling from ear to ear. 
It felt better than putting a man on the moon.
I remember her first bath right after I brought her home from the hospital.
I could not believe how slippery she was, I was so worried I'd drop her.
Then came the first smile, the first time she rolled over, the first time she slept through the night, the first froward crawling motion, the first cold bug and so on and so forth.
As the first child, I worked with her everyday developing new skills.
Just 8 1/2 months after she was born she took her first steps.
Oh, the party we had, we were so excited.
And with each new baby came new firsts.
All just as thrilling as the last.
The looks of adoration, the chorus of, "awwwww" in unison when baby is suddenly cuter than ever before.
Then something strange happens.
Before you know it the last baby is not a baby anymore.
All the baby "firsts" are done.
Now I am noticing the lasts.
The lasts seem to slip by unnoticed and uncelebrated.
A dear friend of mine has a little boy just a few months older than Little Man.
Those two are best buds, always begging for play dates.
One Sunday afternoon as we were leaving our church services, I past this sweet friend still sitting on a pew with her 5 year old son fast asleep on her lap.
I mentioned something about her cute sleeping boy, which was met with a look I will never forget.
You see, this man child is her youngest of 6 children.
For over 20 years this amazing mother has wrangled children through church meetings.
She vocalized her realization that she just did not know how many more times she would be able to experience that precious occasion of holding her sleeping boy.
That thought caught a hold of my thoughts and has not let go.
How many lasts have already slipped by without notice? 
My children used to sleep on my lap during the longest of church services, but none of them have done so in quite a while.
Sadly, I don't even remember the last time it happened.
What other lasts have slipped away?
My older kids are always changing and developing and on to some new adventure.
It is the thrill of my life to watch how they change and grow.
I just really don't want to miss even one moment.
But I am starting to forget the little things.
How Beano used to pronounce helicopter.
How Doodle would run on her hands and feet and rear up and neigh, just like a real horse.
How Dubs truly believed in fairies.
How Miss Mae would fall asleep in my arms in 30 seconds flat.
How they all called Little Man "Zebee" (it was their way of saying baby with wrong pronunciation) when he was a baby.
Those things have all stopped, but when?
Was I not paying close enough attention?
When was the last time Doodle impersonated a horse, I honestly can't remember.
Horsie sounds have been replaced by beautiful harp and piano music.
Each day they slip further from babyhood and childhood and ever closer to puberty, then adulthood, then comes college and moving boxes.
 I am powerless to stop it.
But deeply honored and thrilled to be a part of it.