I just received this e-mail from my Mom in response to my previous post (A Very Fine House). I think it illustrates how she made our house a very, very, very fine house. (You may understand this better if you read the other post first).
I just finished reading your blog. I am so humbled and so blessed. You just brought back a flood of memories. I’m remembering my own chubby cheeked children . You had your second birthday at that house. You had your glasses party when you got your first pair of glasses at that house. You accidentally hit the little girl next door over the head with a coffee can*. (I secretly wished you had gotten the toy anyway). You were Tweety Bird there…We watched your favorite shows snuggled in the chair together.( what was that weird show, blue something??) We had puppies at that house. We had your brother at that house. Both of your Grandmothers came to visit us at that house. Grandma Cannon came on your birthday. Grandma Dolly had her 60th birthday at that house. You and Karyn helped me bake her cake. (gosh I’m almost 60 eek!) Christmas with our big fat trees that we cut down. They looked so pretty in the downstairs that your Dad finished all by himself. He had never done anything like that before and I was so proud of him. We hung the red curtains just before his Mother’s visit. You went off to school for the first time there. I cried because I missed you. Thanksgiving when I made you all dress up. (what was I thinking)
I could go on and someday when I write my memoirs I will. The most important thing I want you to understand is you were an important part of that very very very fine house. I hardly remember the inside of the house but I vividly remember my precious family and those precious memories. But I want you to know the memories just keep going. All the way up to now when I look into the faces of my chubby and not so chubby cheeked Grandchildren. I am a blessed women and I am looking forward to many precious moments ahead.
I also want you to know you already have a very, very, very, fine house. You are filling it with precious memories and precious moments with your precious family. I am so proud of the woman you have become and are becoming.
Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean more than you can imagine. All I can say is that God has been good to us!
I love you forever and always,
I thought this was way too long to put as a comment on your blog.
*not exactly an accident – but she did hit me first, for the record.
“Our house is a very, very, very, fine house…” rang through our brand new bi-level home on Lynnlee drive in Aberdeen, Maryland. Singing the tune was my twenty-something year old mother as she emptied the boxes in her kitchen. I don’t remember her singing it. My father, on the other hand, has a special fondness for the song ever since she sang it (over and over again…she didn’t know the rest of the words). Why is it a song with special meaning to my Dad? Because her delight in her new house has translated over the years into her delight in creating our home. My mother has always excelled in making our houses, home. I can’t remember a season of life growing up when we didn’t have people coming in and out of our home. Whether it was a care group, or single guys looking for a home-cooked dinner, our home was the place to be. Even now that all of us kids are grown up with homes of our own, we love to go back to Mom and Dad’s house. (My brother loves it so much, he has decided to live there again – at least for a little while!) Other people love going to my parent’s house as well.
My mother has used her gift of hospitality and love for her home faithfully over the years. I am grateful for her example of keeping the home the center of her ministry. I aim to be like her. Recently my Mom stayed at my house for a few days to watch my children while I was away celebrating our 10th anniversary. She paid me the highest compliment. She said, “I felt so at home in your house, Laurie.” You see, I keep my glasses in the cabinet next to the refrigerator, just like Mom. My Swiffer stuff is under the sink, just like Mom’s. I have Febreeze room spray in every bathroom, just like Mom. I only use half and half for my coffee, just like Mom. I fold my towels in thirds, just like Mom. I could go on and on. More than just imitating some of the household management stuff, I am grateful for the up close example of my mother loving her home, and using it to bless others, first her husband and her family, but also the church. I want to make my own house a very, very, very fine home just like Mom.
It was the morning we were to go home after a seven night cruise to Bermuda (celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary). I had one of those early morning dreams that are just beyond the brink of consciousness. In my dream we arrived home but my twins were toddlers again. For five minutes I saw them and felt them and experienced again the essence of their toddler selves. It was so real that when Jason woke me, reality felt more like the dream. It took a minute, but I started to weep. I am even crying now because I know that the dream is the closest I will ever get to having them back again at that age. I want to jump back into it and squeeze those chubby bodies again. I want to hear the crinkling diapers as they do their one-arm moving toddler run. I want to rub my lips on their fuzzy half-haired heads. I want to hear the lisps, and smell their morning cheeks. I want to hold a little padded hand, and slide a chubby foot into a sock with grips. A video simply can’t capture it. The dream came closer. But truly, I can never go back.
It is a bitter sweet reminder of what the gray haired ladies always say in line at the grocery store, “It goes so fast!” Those early days I thought to myself, “Well, it didn’t go fast today, lady!” But I politely nodded and smiled. It is going fast. Too fast. With new resolve I am going to take those hundred-elbow and knee bodies and hold them tight today. I am going to run my fingers through morning hair spikes. I’m going to memorize Izzy’s pre-big teeth face; and Josh’s too big for his face teeth. I’m going to smell their just got out of the shower skin. I’m going to listen to their adventures, and corny jokes, and giggles. I’m going to watch every karate chop and kick, and cheer every football move, and count while they hold their breath under water. I’m going to cherish the hip height hugs on Sunday during worship and the daily prayer to “have a good time today”.
I am grateful for the painful gift of that dream the other morning. As my sister always says, I do wish I could take a few of the everyday experiences of life and put them in a box to open when I am old and then take them out and live them again. It can’t happen, but I can savor my children today, and not miss the opportunity to experience them and enjoy them because I know my only other access to today might be a fleeting five minute dream five years from now.