Sunday, June 30, 2013

Keep the Fork

There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was given 3 months to live. As she began getting her things "in order" she called her pastor and asked him to come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she wanted read, and what dress she wanted to be buried in. She also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible in her left hand.

Everything was in order and as the pastor was preparing to leave, the woman suddenly remembered one final request that was very important to her. "Please Pastor, just one more thing, she said excitedly. "Sure, what is it?" came the pastor's reply. "This is very important to me, the woman continued....I want to be buried holding a fork in my right hand. The Pastor gazed at the woman, at a loss for words.

"That surprises you, doesn't it?" the woman asked.

The Pastor replied "well to be quite honest, I'm puzzled by the request." The woman explained. "You see, Pastor, in all my years of attending Church socials and potluck dinners, I remember that when the dishes were being cleared after the main course, someone would inevitably lean over to me and say "Keep Your Fork". It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance to end the great meal.

The Pastor listened intently and a smile came upon his face.

The woman continued, "so, I just want people to see me there in the casket with a folk in my hand and I want them to wonder.....What's with the folk? ......than I want you to tell them: "KEEP YOUR FORK"....the best is yet to come.

The Pastor eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew that this would be one of the last times that he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of HEAVEN than he did. She KNEW and trusted that the best was yet to come.

At the funeral, everyone that walked by the woman's casket saw her wearing a beautiful dress with her favorite Bible held in her left hand and a fork held in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard people ask the question, "Why is she holding a fork?" and his smile began to get larger and brighter each time.

During his message, the Pastor told the people about the conversation that he had with the woman shortly before she died. He explained the fork and what it symbolized to her.

The Pastor told everyone how he could not stop thinking about the fork and how he hoped that they would not be able to stop thinking about it either. That fork, and the meaning of it to the woman, had quite the impact on everyone and they are still sharing the story with people they meet.

And now it has been shared with the next time you reach for your fork, let it remind you, oh so gently, that the best is yet to come....

Throwing up and Snoring

          Last weekend I stayed with my grandsons so that their parents could go on a little romantic getaway. It was about midnight when I was awakened by my grandson’s sweet voice saying, “Nana, I just threw up!”  I jumped up and ran with him to the bathroom like a knight in shining armor. I just knew his little head was going to spin around and propel vomit in every direction before we made it to the bathroom.
            This was such a flashback for me because my daughter, his mom, frequently threw up as a child and sometimes made it to the bathroom, but mostly NOT.  As he is still clutching the toilet, he looks up with his little pale face and says, “Nana, you were snoring so loud when I woke you up!”  Now I could have done without that comment.      
         I finally get him settled down again on the couch and head to his room to survey the damage and determine if I have to rescue any stuffed animals.  It looks like a body has been chopped up all over the carpet.  I thought, “I could hire my own personal cleaning service.”  I quickly ruled that idea out.  I’m actually very excited that it did not end up on the walls.  I have cleaned up countless puke puddles (children, cats, dogs).  I got this!  I debated putting on the yellow raincoat I saw hanging in the closet earlier with goggles along with the yellow kitchen gloves; however, I was afraid if his little brother woke up and saw me, he would think that an evil superhero had come alive and was going to harm him.  Did I mention he has slept through this entire event?     
          Not knowing where they keep their “cleaning up throw-up rags”, I grab some washrags from the master bathroom.  They looked way too pretty for this job, and I soon discovered that these washrags absorb nothing. I have never seen anything like it……you can run them under water for fifteen minutes, and they are still not wet.  Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration.     Cleaning up puke, ahhhhh, just one of those little enjoyable and delightful tasks of parenting and grand-parenting!  I finally climb back into bed thinking, "Hmmmmmm....I wonder if I really do snore loud?" 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Counting Milestones

       My grandson, Cross, just graduated from preschool.....heading to kindergarten next year. How did the years fly by so fast?  It seems like just yesterday that his mom, my little preschooler, was entering kindergarten. I can still see her bright shining blue eyes, bouncy blonde curls, and adorable little ruffled pink dress. Then in a heartbeat she was graduating from college, getting married, and having her own little ones.     

       I cherish the years that brought us where we are today, but wish I had not counted the days to so many milestones like no more diapers, no more carrying 50 pounds of baby equipment to the car, no more car seats, or no more toys scattered all over the den.

       I had three kids knee-high to a grasshopper and there were many nights when I had no idea how I was going to make it until their bedtime.  It was a sad day when the oldest, Jenny, learned to tell time and knew it was not really bedtime yet.  The constant demands, the needs, and the fighting could sound like extra-long fingernails slowly sliding across a chalkboard….SCREECH.  Hmmmm, the onomatopoeia, screech, just does not capture the sound's power to cause excruciating mental distress.   I have to confess, there were many nights after the last amen was said, I sauntered to the kitchen thinking, "Never fear....the chocolate bar is here."

      Many moms would say to me, “Hold on to all these moments with your children as they are gone before you know it.”  I would sweetly smile, but secretly I wanted to hold them underwater (not my children, the advice giver).        Now here I am on the other side of parenthood, and I would like to say to young parents, “Hold on to all these moments with your children as they are gone before you know it.”  OK, I will now go hold my own head underwater for three minutes.

Footnote:   It is exhausting to be PERFECT and you really don’t have to be perfect. You really are doing an excellent job, and you are not a terrible parent if you just can’t wait for them to go to bed.