Saturday, March 17, 2012

All our children

Update from last week:  The rescue of the bears.

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.”    
                                                                              Winnie the Pooh

     Several of our loyal readers expressed concern about my heartless disposal of my daughter's favorite bears in the church yard sale last week. (If you didn't read last week's post, you should scroll down quickly and catch up!) Fear not.  Bear Bear, Pink Bear, along with giant Snowball (Big Bear's name is actually Snowball - I was corrected by my daughters)  were rescued from the yard sale by my dear husband who was appalled that I put them in the sale with a 25 cent sticker on their heads.  He clearly loves Alison more than I do. 

     Alison, who is now teaching high school English in inner city St. Louis, came home for her spring break and agreed to pose for a picture with the bears  - another photographic memory!  Alison remembers that Snowball protected her from murderers at night and she practiced putting on makeup with Bear Bear (which is why he looks a little rough these days.)  So the bears are safe, back at home, and now they are blog icons.

    Honestly, friends, at least I didn't put Pooh Bear in the yard sale.  I knew who was really important.  


Pieces and parts

     This is my second grader's Flat Stanley in Japan visiting a friend who teaches English to Japanese students. Here, Stanley Shay is enjoying tea and mochi. It feels so weird getting these photos of virtual Shay being over there so far from home. Before I know it the non-virtual Shay will be doing that. It pains my heart, yet thrills me at the same time - this loving and letting go that has to happen.
      Stanley Shay's caretaker is a lovely young woman, who is fearless in her travels. Her mother did a great job in grounding her and then giving her wings. I can only hope to do the same with my kids. I wish someone had told me that having children guts the soul - in a good way. But how can that be explained really? I sense this unconditional love that I feel for them is the closest taste I'll have of understanding Divine love. Children are a spiritual gift in that way.
       All I know is someone should have warned me how intricately I'm forever tied to them, come what may, 
wherever they may go, 
even as a Flat Stanley Shay
in Japan. 


     On Monday my dog Hurley had to go to the vet for a dental cleaning. For humans, this is not such a big deal. For dogs, it requires being put under general anesthesia. I've never had to do this with Hurley in the nearly two years that I've had him. So when the day arrived, I was a nervous wreck. Working in a hospital, I know there are always risks associated with anesthesia. I couldn't help thinking, "What if he doesn't wake up?" I dropped Hurley off at the vet with a goodbye hug, then sat in my car and cried my eyes out.
     I spent all morning trying to distract myself, but I mostly worried. A few hours later, our wonderful vet, Dr. Lynne Flood, called to tell me Hurley's teeth looked great and that he was starting to come out of the anesthesia. I was incredibly grateful, happy and relieved when I picked up my (still woozy) dog that afternoon. When I went back to work a couple days later, I was telling the whole story to my friend LaToya. She laughed and said, "You're such a mom."
     She's right, I think. Even though Hurley is "just" a dog, his care is entrusted to me and I love getting to mother him. I've always known that I was born to be a mom, taking good care of all my baby dolls and later my younger cousins when I was a child. There are lots of ways to mother, and to some extent I've seen myself take on that role with students, patients, kids I babysat or kept in the church nursery, even some of my friends, and now most clearly with Hurley. I still hope to give birth to my own children one day, but for now, I get to be a mom in other ways. Sometimes that means being a nervous wreck while my "baby" is under anesthesia.
     I wonder if God worries about us. Maybe God knows the outcome of every situation, even has the power to intervene anytime. Or maybe not. Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow, but does that mean it's okay to worry about today, even for God. After all, God is our heavenly Parent, and it's hard to imagine any parent not worrying. I know I always will.


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