Friday, April 12, 2013

Growing Older

I had a wonderful visit with my parents!  There was a lot to do at the house, and I kept busy the entire time.  It feels so good to WORK, and not just work, but SERVE.  Mom and Dad have done so much for me, and as they age, I feel an urgency to at least attempt to pay back a part of what they have given me.  I know the debt will never be paid, but it makes me feel so happy to at least try.

Mom had tentatively arranged to go down to Spring City to have an overnight with her two sisters.  I assured her I could handle caring for Dad and an aging Scout, the dog.  I was so happy she felt comfortable going,  and it was so fun spending time with Dad and helping him do the things he wanted to do.  As we were pulling weeds together, I realized what a wonderful circle had been created:  Josh was watching our three kids at home so I could go visit my parents, then I was "watching" Dad, so Mom could go visit her sisters and have a girls' night out.

We enjoyed some beautiful weather while we were there, and spent the majority of the time in the yard: trimming, weeding, installing 30+ bubbler sprinklers, cleaning out the water feature, and transplanting some perennials.  I didn't realize that Dad's to-do list is never really done.  I thought 'if I only work really, really hard and fast, we'll finish everything he had to do'.  But, I learned after I had totally worn him and myself out, that it's best to set a slower pace for Dad to follow.   There will always be something else on his list to trim, pull or transplant!

The neighbor next door leaned over the fence while we were working and said, "So, do you think there will be yardwork in heaven?" Dad didn't skip a beat when he said, "Well, the scripture says that by the sweat of his brow, Adam would eat his bread, but I sure hope there is yardwork in heaven, because I sure do enjoy it."  I learned a lesson that day that work can and should be enjoyed.  

I did manage to get my hair done while I was there.  One of my best cuts and colors ever!  I usually come home all upset that something doesn't look or lay right.  I'm totally 100% happy with my hair.  I guess it sometimes pays to pay.  Probably why it cost 100$!? = Thanks, Mom!

Dad and I dined on leftover salads from Easter dinner.  It was a quiet table with just the two of us.  I could tell he missed Mom, and was doing his best to stay chipper for my sake.  In mom's absence, I was able to get some deep cleaning of the floors and bathrooms without her telling me to quit working. 

Scoutie missed mommy the most.  She hardly ate a thing while she was gone.  :(

One of their neighbors had helped them remove some trimmed branches of a tree Dad took down.  Dad spent several hours baking this delicious chocolate cake to say 'thank you'.  A wonderful reminder to show your gratitude.  
After we dropped off the cake, we went by for an Aggie Ice cream:  Raspberry Cream and Lemon Custard are a great combo!

Thursday Mom and Dad work at the Baptistry in the Logan Temple.  Mom works with the laundry and getting people to and from the baptistry/shower, and Dad works at the recommend desk.  I was able to go do a session while they were there, and it was so nice to quietly sit and think about things.

Early in the week, while we were eating breakfast, Dad read the obituaries and learned that both parents of a dear Virginia friend of ours had passed away within four days of each other!  The Smiths are good family friends of ours, and had also retired to Utah. We often got together during holidays in Virginia, as we both had large families.  Brother Smith and his son Bryan were our home teachers for many years.  I love that when you both live away from family, your ward truly becomes your family.  Mom and Dad decided right away that they wanted to attend the funeral in Centerville on Friday to support their friend, Kaye.  I drove them down, and we met up with James and Tim.  James had just flown in the day before to spend several days with Mom and Dad.

Kaye was my Sophomore early-morning seminary teacher, so it was wonderful to see her and give her a hug.  I was really blessed by some wonderful leaders in those impressionable teenage years! I have to remember when I work with my young women that they are all insecure and lacking in self-confidence, even if they seem like they aren't!  This story will illustrate:

Bryan and I were in the same grade through high school.  He was super-smart, good-looking and very popular, so we never really traveled in the same social circles.  We were in the same small seminary class, and were one of the few kids who were present every day.  Bryan enjoyed a good debate (much like his Dad), and would often try to engage me in verbal banter, which I hated.  Arguing for the sake of arguing has always made me uncomfortable.  One day we were discussing colleges we would attend, and he could not let go why I didn't want to go to BYU!  In the debate back and forth (in front of the whole class) he concluded that the reason I didn't want to go to BYU must be because I wasn't "worthy" to go there.  It cut me to the heart, and I was deeply offended.  I'm sure he was only teasing, but I could not figure out why he would have said something so horrible, which he knew wasn't true.  

As we were waiting in line at the viewing, we saw Dale and Kaye, and had a brief visit, and expressed our condolences.  We were pushing Dad in his wheelchair when Bryan recognized us and walked over.  Looking much different than the last time I had seen him (we've all aged and changed in 15 years), He bent right down and shook my Dad's hand and burst into tears.  It was the most sweet and tender thing I've seen in a long time.  I remembered that Dad was very involved with that group of boys in scouting, and he was their basketball coach the year they went all the way to the Stake Basketball finals.  Dad was his Bishop when he left on his mission, etc.  "Seeing you brings back such a flood of wonderful memories.  You meant so much to me as a youth," he said to my Dad.  We didn't have much time to chat, but really enjoyed the funeral, the talks and the music.  He was so happy to hear that James and Tim would be there later.  His sister Emily discovered she not only had a nice singing voice in high school, but had a powerful operatic voice - a talent which she went on to magnify and develop.  She sang "Oh, Divine Redeemer" at the funeral.  Her voice is so moving and powerful.  I took this audio recording of her singing at the funeral:

Following the funeral, we were standing around visiting with James and Tim, and Bryan found us again for a quick catch-up on what we were all up to, where we were living, working, etc.  He asked about my husband and kids, where we were living, etc.  Finally it was time for him to go with the funeral procession, so we all wished him well, and he shook Dad's hand and again said how wonderful it was to see him and all of us again.  Then he looked right at me and said, "And Amy...(nodding) I always admired you. "  I smiled and thanked him,  and wished him and his family the best.  

Maybe he didn't mean it as more of a passing compliment, but those few words were like an apology to me, and it meant so much.  An apology he never really needed to give, but I'm so glad he did.  It felt so good to be able to sincerely shake his hand and smile and wish him well.  I guess deep down we're all just insecure, self-concious and awkward kids.  Maybe the debate and insults were his way of wanting to be my friend.  Who knows?  It's wonderful to know we all grow up, mature, and get comfortable in who we are, and that whether the offense is great, or in this case small, we can all "Pray thee grant me pardon, and remember not, remember not..."  A great lesson for me.  
Mom and me.

Following the funeral, Mom, Dad, James, Tim and I went to lunch at Salt City Burger.  We caught up quickly, and then Dad was ready to get home, so I gave everyone a hug to tide me over until I see them again.  :)  
James, me and Tim - dear boys.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

What awesome posts, Amy! I always love reading the things that you write. Entertaining and inspirational, all wrapped up in one. I'm so glad you had a nice visit with mom and dad. I know that it means so much to them!