Happy New Year, my friends!
Welcome to the ninth installment of my favorite posts to write this year! My list of Top 10 2019!
I’ve really immersed my whole self into these posts, and I’m now feeling quite sad that this is #2 of Top 10 2019. That means there’s only one left to go!
What an adventurous year it’s been here at Texas Over Fifty. I love looking back over all the photos on my phone. There are so many! Some of my favorites are the pictures of first-time experiences, and I be sharing a whole list of those with you soon.
If you’ve spent much time here at Texas Over Fifty, you know we’re all about being intentionally adventurous. I believe it’s those everyday adventures that keep us thinking about ourselves a little and thinking about every other good thing in life a lot.
So, the fact that 2019 was filled with intentional comings and goings around the terrific state of Texas comes as no surprise.
But … what you’ll find in my list of Top 10 2019 is not so much what I saw as what I saw in someone. These ten experiences have all made me do some deep thinking, work through a set of tough emotions or pushed me to jump high over a hurdle!
Together, these Top 10 2019 occasions will go down in the diary as my biggest memory-makers of the past 365 days.
Thank you so much for reading along as I’ve shared these stories with you. I’ve enjoyed it so much, and I’m grateful for all your kind comments.
In case you’re here for the first time or just need a refresher, here’s a recap of my Top 10 2019 list so far:
Number 10 on the list highlighted something that I saw in myself when starting over at Job #14 (or 15). Whew, that experience was pretty monumental, but Number 9 gave me even more to think about.
Number 8 is the story of relaxing at a birthday sleepover with my granddaughter and remembering many sleeping-bag occasions of my own. Do you remember your favorite sleeping bag?
Number 7 had me marveling at an old boyfriend from the past. How’s that for a teaser?
Number 6 is where you can read about my crushing a big fat reading goal, and the reasons why I thought it deserved a spot in the Top 10 2019.
Number 5 was really special, because it involved three of my favorite things: mountains, musings and my man.
By the time I started writing about Number 4, the thread that appeared to have woven itself through my last year of adventurous life was as thick as that yarn craftsters wrap around their elbows to knit fluffy blankets.
Number 3 had me grabbing for the tissues. As the words poured forth, so did the happy tears. If you’re in a tough spot with one of your children, know that I’ve been there, I love you, and there’s always hope.
Here we are at the next on the list. #2 of Top 10 2019. Only one more left in the list after this one.
I’m just gonna warn you in advance. You might need to refresh the tissue stash for these last two Top 10 2019 blog posts, dear friends.
Because I bet you’ll find something in these last two stories to which you can wholeheartedly relate.
However, don’t worry.
If you cry, it’ll be cleansing. If you smile, it’ll be satisfying.
And if you do both, I feel as though I just might have fulfilled my calling.
Here’s #2 of Top 10 2019.
You’re Only as Happy
No one knows for sure who said it, but most of us who are parents have definitely heard it.
“You’re only as happy as your least happy child.”
Although the experts don’t necessarily agree, they at least consider this a universal truth.
“Parenting can be one of the most profoundly meaningful and joyful experiences a person can ever have. The immense, soul deep love a parent has for a child can make all other emotional bonds pale by comparison. But the emotional parental door swings both ways and just as the ineffable pleasure of parenthood can enrich one’s life beyond measure or description, the potential pains of parenthood can be more grievous than just about anything a person can ever suffer.” (Psychology Today article on the web.)
Eeeek. Our Lamaze teachers left that part completely out of the Tuesday night curriculum.
Oh, well. I think we were all in from the get-go. Ain’t no stoppin’ us now, we would have said. Nothing but nothing was going to keep us from filling up the love nest.
However, I do believe it to be true.
When my kids are hurting, so am I. If one of them is suffering through a breakup, I am all ears and tears.
And if one has to go through something really, really, really hard?
I can hardly stand it.
One Day in July
All the kids were here!
It’s getting more rare and less easy to get all of our family in one spot at the same time, but on this one special weekend back in July, everything fell into place.
Our granddaughter even got to come. She spends every other weekend at her dad’s house, which adds a little additional wrinkle when we’re trying to iron out some time all together. But, when it happens, it’s a grand and glorious thing, like that July weekend in Dallas.
We also had a special visit from our good friend, Mark, all the way from Taiwan. Not only is Mark as fun as anyone we know, he’s a great amateur photographer. So, Aly and Nick had arranged ahead of time for Mark to snap a few shots of us in a park across the street.
Click, Smile, Click, Cry
After a whole bunch of shutter clicks and poses galore, Mark set the stage for the final set of photographs.
“Okay, I’ll stand over here, and you guys all walk toward me in a line. You can laugh, and you can throw your arms in the air if you want to. Just look really excited, like you would … if Aly was pregnant!”
What? Was he joking with us? Was this for real? Where am I? Is anyone else having trouble breathing??
The pictures captured our surprise, and it was a moment. You know, a moment. When the world kind of stops on its axis, and things are happening in slow motion. That kind of moment.
And then I promptly started crying.
Mike and I had just been saying (or had been saying for a long time perhaps) that we were sure ready for another grandbaby. Since our granddaughter Kynzie was born 11 years ago, I think we’ve only held a baby one other time. We were ready for this good news!
The Next Day
Aly and Nick hit the road early Sunday morning back to Houston, where they planned to visit Nick’s parents and recreate the same wonderful moment for them.
They had barely gotten there and made their big announcement when my cell phone rang, and I heard a mighty weak sounding voice say on the other end, “Mom, I’m spotting.”
It Just Wasn’t Meant to Be
Mike and I were so glad Aly and Nick were with his parents when Aly began to miscarry. They are some of our very best friends and have been since before these two children of ours were ever even born. It made us feel so much better to know Aly was lying on their couch and they were tending to the patient exactly as they should.
But, after a visit to the emergency clinic, and at the end of the day, it was clear. This was not the right time. It just wasn’t meant to be.
What Did God Know?
What was it that God knew that we didn’t yet understand? Were the cells not hooking together as they’re supposed to? Would the baby have not been born healthy? I’ve learned that those are the questions asked when a miscarriage occurs.
But the answers rarely come.
Sometimes, what God knows remains what God only knows.
What I Will Remember
I’m not the one who suffered through what our daughter had to endure. So, I wouldn’t even dream of comparing my feelings with hers.
What she remembers about that weekend is likely to be quite different than what has taken root in the ponderings of my heart.
But here’s what I will always remember.
I will always remember how well our son-in-law took care of our baby girl.
How Blessed We Are
Those were dark and difficult hours for our daughter. She doubted her body, questioned herself, and cried buckets of tears as the hormones ebbed and waned.
But our son-in-law was right there. He listened and held her close. His words comforted her, his faith reminded her, and his love strengthened her. Is there anything better to hope for than that your daughter would marry a man like that?
What a Difference a Year Makes
We are now excited to announce that a year from last July, we’ll be days away from the arrival of a grandbaby after all.
Aly and Nick got the go-ahead to start trying again a few months ago, and now the wee little thing is coming right along. According to whatever app it is that Aly follows every day, this baby is now as big as a lime. How exciting is that?
They’re hoping for a boy, but Nick’s mom said all the men in their family have had girls first.
That’s some big suspense right there!
The Flip Side
It’s hard to watch our kids go through the tough stuff, isn’t it? We would take the burden from them if we could. But if there were no bumps in the road, would they know to appreciate the path when it’s smooth?
I think we as parents will always have times when we’re only as happy as our least happy child. But there’s a flip side.
We as parents sure will be happy when they are.
A Challenge for You and for Me
If you’re going through a season like the one I’ve just described, I’d like to recommend a really encouraging book. It’s called Pray Big Things, written by Julia Jeffress Sadler.
The story starts out with Julia and her husband at rock bottom, weary from disappointment and defeat. Then they went to a student minister’s conference and heard the pastor’s challenge.
He told them to write down a list of 20 BIG things that they would pray for and pray through until God either said no or until He answered their prayer.
Our kids want us to be good listeners when they need to talk, and they’re certainly glad when we empathize alongside them in their troubles.
But what they need the very most is for you and I to pray them through.
This year, let’s really pray for our kids. Let’s write down 20 BIG things that we hope for God to allow or accomplish in their lives, and let’s pray until He says no or answers our prayer.
Now, that sounds like a better way to ride the happy wave!
Encouraging a life filled with everyday intentional adventure while we pray our kids through,
PS: Here are a few other posts you might enjoy.