Sunday, December 30, 2012

Near in the New Year

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”—Psalm 94:19

It’s one of my favorite Christmas gifts—a handmade (with the help of technology) 2013 “Addison” calendar. On the cover my 10 month-old granddaughter holds a 2013 sign, her big blue eyes wide with wonder.

Flipping each page of the calendar sporting a picture of Addie taken in the same month of 2012, I recall those precious moments—her debut in February; her first Easter in March; Mother’s Day when my whole family gathered for a photo on the church steps. And the summer months when I took care of Addie while her parents worked.

I remember cradling Addie in the crook of my arm, rocking in the old porch rocker, both of us lulled by the sounds of the morning, birds chirping, bullfrogs croaking, and a tractor chugging in the distance.  Addie’s curious blue eyes brightened, as she babbled in response.   I remember trail walks, Addie strapped snug in her stroller, mesmerized by bright green foliage and yellow butterflies, soothed by the rhythm of the carriage. I remember car rides that without fail calmed Addie to sleep. I came to know Addie’s cries, signaling food, sleep, or attention. I knew what would make her smile and gurgle and what would comfort her. Except for one day.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

From the Nest

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”—Isaiah 46:4

Time for another coloring, I decide, examining my reflection in the vanity mirror, my silver strands decorating my head like tinsel on a Christmas tree, reminding me that I’m not getting any younger.  I wipe the sleep from my eyes.  But I can’t wipe away the wrinkles—or the knot in my stomach.

Slipping two slices of bread into the toaster, I somehow know that breakfast can’t ease the ache either.  Christmas goodies line the counter, but overindulgence isn’t the culprit for the pain.  Handmade by my daughter and step grandsons, the desserts serve as a reminder of the happy time we shared just four days prior, my tiny cottage bursting at the seams with eleven loved ones squished together on every square inch of my well-worn furniture, shreds of gift wrap and “Ooos” and “Ahhhs” flying through the air.

Not a voice can be heard this morning, though—unless you count the occasional whine from Kobe the dog, who misses them as well.

Some call it the empty nest syndrome. I call it loneliness.  All my children are on their own.  Well, almost.  My youngest is due to marry in a couple months.  Meanwhile, she’s in college—and the college bills are coming my way, adding to my already overwhelming stack of bills for her sister’s education. With the number in my household dwindling along with my finances, I’m struggling in more ways than one.