On angel's wings

She was gone in a second. My post last week was unintentionally appropriate. My mother-in-law called that evening to tell us that my husband's grandmother had been in the hospital with pneumonia and now she wasn't eating or drinking. Things did not look good. We starting looking at travel plans.

It was decided that my father-in-law would fly out the next day, and my husband and sister-in-law would join him in Wisconsin on Thursday evening and would stay the weekend. My mother-in-law, the kids and I would stay back and wait for an update.

Unfortunately, the update we were hoping for never came. Instead we got the call telling us she had passed away.

My father-in-law missed saying goodbye in person by one hour. A mere sixty minutes. 3600 seconds.

In my heart I know that she peacefully entered into heaven. I am absolutely positive she knew how much every member of her family loved her. I know that my husband's grandfather and cousin who left this Earth before her were there to hold her hand. And I believe that Jesus wrapped his loving arms around her and told her he was so proud of her for a life well lived.

And I was grateful for our last trip out to Wisconsin to see her this past May. I wrote about how I was sad that I forgot to take certain pictures, but that I was so glad to have had the time together to make memories that would last longer than the pictures I would have taken.

I spoke at her funeral service. I spoke about one of those memories we made during our last trip. It's my favorite memory of Grandma. After dinner one night, I suggested we pile all the great grandkids onto the couch around Grandma (6 of the 10 great grandchildren were there) to take some pictures. It was silly and challenging to get all the kids smiling and looking at the camera, but we got some great pictures. The five boys toppled off the couch and resumed their play, while Baby Girl climbed over to sit right next to her Great Grandma.

What happened next was the highlight of my eulogy. Baby Girl stood up and started patting her Great Grandma's beautiful white perfectly curled hair, as if to say, "Pretty, Grandma! So pretty!". Only our little lady wasn't talking quite yet. So it was just an adorable exchange of giggles, smiles, and high-fives. Such a special moment that I did catch on camera. Although I didn't even need the photo to remember the moment. It was that memorable.

Grandma was laid to rest on Saturday. That evening, the ladies of the family went through her (many) jewelry boxes to decide who would keep which pieces. We reminisced on the times we saw her wearing various bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. My little princess sat on my lap the entire time and would open up one of the wooden boxes, and then slip bracelet after bracelet on her tiny wrists. Everyone agreed that she should keep that bracelet box. Her brother later enjoyed "decorating himself" as he referred to donning the baubles on his arms.

In the end I chose one simple necklace that reminds me of how dainty, elegant, and pretty my husband's grandmother was. She was a gentle, loving woman who is now an angel who will always watch over her family from heaven.

Her necklace reminds me of angel's wings.


Rest in peace, Grandma.

I love you.

Making the most of time

Do you ever wonder how much time you have left? Not to sound morbid, although there isn't really another fitting adjective, but I tend to think fairly often about life and our time on this Earth. I often wonder if I'm making the most with the time I've been given. God, I sure hope so.

I mean, of course, I am first and foremost a loving (and often nagging) wife and mother to the three most important people in my life. I'm also a daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, cousin, and friend to so many special people who I love. And I love these roles with all of my heart and then some. But yet, there is still a part of me longs to be something more. To do something incredible with my life.

I guess I want to be remembered for making a difference.

I'm reading an amazing book right now - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. It's all about how he learned how to edit his life to create a better life for himself simply by using the tools storytellers use to tell great stories. Early on in the book there was a part that struck me. It talked about how we have so many memories that we create throughout our lives, but how many of them actually stick with us? I know that for many of us, the memories that stand out are probably the unique experiences we've had and the people we shared them with. And I also know that life can't always be full of extraordinary events such as skydiving or swimming with dolphins or the birth of your children or the loss of a dear friend to cancer.

In my reality it's full of diaper changes and messy breakfast dishes in the sink, rushing off to preschool mid-week. There is laundry to be washed and folded and groceries to be unloaded from the car while sleepy babies doze in the backseat. After naps in the afternoons the kids bring me books to read and they both plop down on my lap, one on each leg until my foot falls asleep, and we read Goodnight Moon and Green Eggs and Ham and they never get tired of it. Neither do I. I love to smell their soft necks and kiss their chubby pink cheeks. I say, "I love you" to each of them so many times throughout the day and I never get tired of it. These are the little moments I wish I could bottle up tight and revisit from time to time.

And yet, they pass by so quickly, without time to document them all as I would like. Keeping my journals is one way I've captured some intensely stressful and emotional periods in my life and I am so grateful to have them to look back at to remind me how far I've come.

I do want to I want my life to be a great story.

But for now, I'll immerse myself in the sweet precious moments of my everyday life. Because so far I feel like it is a really great story. And it only gets better with time.