Monday, March 22, 2010

The Blessing of Family

I'm not sure that I can even put into words how very deeply blessed I feel in the gift of our children and their children. I try, from time to time, but generally find myself quite inarticulate in their presence. I also find myself spending money to shower them with gifts of various kinds, as if I could communicate my love and pride and thanksgiving through material objects.

I count it a privilege and a joy when they choose to spend time with us and with each other. I rejoice in their growth as loving, giving, faithful human beings and I weep when they struggle or are hurt. But I don't always make that fact known to them or to others. I always worry about overwhelming these oh-so-dear people and somehow coming across as either needy or intrusive - the capital crimes of parents of adult children!

I found a professional life when my children were raised - and I marveled at God's call to ministry. I also gave thanks for it because I knew a life outside of my family would help me a.) make the transition from full to empty nest; and b.) keep my hands and nose out of their business - because I now had other places to put said hands and nose!

But there are those times when we're all in the same space and something remarkable happens. Something holy happens - and I don't use that word lightly.

It happened on the occasion of my 65th birthday on January 23rd. Gathered for dinner in Malibu at a Hawaiian themed restaurant, a traveling musical trio stopped by our table and taught our two four-year-olds how to do the hula hand motions to, "Pearly Shells." All of us were laughing and looking on lovingly as these two precious littlest ones (until Lilly arrived on February 25, of course!) delightedly waved their hands in time to the music. It was if a halo of light radiated around our entire family group and it was all joy.

It happened again, in smaller circles of light, when we all gathered at Lisa's for dinner a week ago. This gathering was to give Joy's family a chance to see the newest member of our tribe, as traveling all the way north to SB/Carpinteria is tough with a full-on body cast, something 4- year-old Griffin has been enduring for 7 weeks now. Several of the grandkids took a turn holding Lilly and there is somehow nothing sweeter than seeing any-sized boy (from 4-16) cuddling a newborn! We have had a really tough couple of years in our family, with a lot of loss of all different kinds. But we have been richly blessed all through the journey. And the arrival of lovely Lilly has reminded us that life continues, that life is glorious, that family is gift and blessing. Thanks be to God.

Colby with Lilly.

Griffin with Lilly.

Just sweet Lilly, with her as-yet-too-large Easter headband!

Luke with Lilly

Eating dinner, full-body cast style!

Not so sure about his Easter headband!

Well, if Gracie has one, too, then it's probably not all bad!