Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bittersweet Celebration

As I sit here and type, I know that I'm taking a risk. I'm risking that I may not be able to take a shower in a minute, if the little ones wake up early. This is really my one break in the day, and I should be spending it taking care of myself, right? Well, right now, taking care of myself, is sitting down and typing for a bit.

On Sunday, I had a fabulous Mother's Day. I was able to unwrap (literally) gifts of blessings in my life. I was surprised by flowers picked by my beautiful daughter, hugs and kisses galore by my sweet son, a latte made and brought to me in bed by my handsome husband, and actual gift. My brand new red Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Y'all...I cannot tell you how long I've wanted one. But I can tell you how long I used that stupid piece of crap hand mixer - 10 years!!! I guess it wasn't that big of a piece of crap if I used it for that long, but you know what I mean. It was $10, and it started smelling like the motor about 3 seconds after I had it on. So, anyway, you can imagine how excited I was about my gift.

The day went on, and I realized how much I love sharing life. Sharing life with my family. Sharing life with my friends. Sharing life with the Body of Christ. And then, I started to miss her. You know, the one who the day was really all about to begin with. I started to remember how much I loved sharing life with my mama. And how much she would love seeing me as a Mama. Giving her kisses. Using her petnames and phrases. Laughing her laugh. Making her recipes for my children, the same way she did for me. Even using a Kitchen Aid mixer, just like she did. And I just wish that I could pick up the phone and call her. Or see her smile one more time.

It's a bittersweet time for another reason, too. My sister's late husband would have turned 36 yesterday. THIRTY-SIX!!! At his funeral three years ago, one of the songs we sang was "Give Me Jesus". If you know the song, you know the chorus says, "You can have all this world, but give me Jesus." I have to tell you, there have been times that I have wondered if I truly believe that statement. It's easy to sing it when you have everything that you want and need. But, standing in the little white church, with tears rolling down her face, and three small boys all around her, I remember her singing, "You can have all this world, but give me Jesus." I also know that there have been times since that my sister has said, "No, you know, Lord, honestly, I'd rather have my husband. This is just too hard."

In our feeble understanding, we cannot fathom how great the next page of life is. We cannot begin to see how full of a life our loved ones who have gone on before us are truly living. I know in my head how wonderful heaven must be, but what is here is so much easier to be attached to.

So today, in honor of my brother in law, we will go pick strawberries. My sister always made him strawberry shortcake for his birthday, so it's become a tradition for us to go together now. To think of him, and to enjoy strawberry shortcake for him, even though I know the food he and our mom enjoys now is far superior to anything here. We will pick, and we will smile. We will eat, and we will cry. Because that's what this life is about. Being able to still enjoy the celebration, even when it's a bittersweet celebration.


Caroline said...

What a sweet post and a great way to honor your mother and brother-in-law. We're going strawberry picking tomorrow for the first time. I'll think of you all when I'm plucking those plump red berries!

Hoots said...

well said, sister

Anonymous said...

Melissa, thank you for sharing. Even at 6o I sometimes just cry in my heart wanting my MAMA.
Anne Heritage

Anonymous said...

Oh, my sweet friend Melissa! The moment I read about your mixer, I thought of your mom. I tihnk of her often and see SO MUCH of her in you. She is so proud and I know that she looks upon you all everyday and smiles her priceless smile. She was so wonderful. Continue to allow her memory and traditions live on through your family. You are such a wonderful mom and blessed with an awesome family. I love you! Heather

Sara said...

That was the sweetest post. Thanks for sharing!

Carol said...

I was really touched by your post, Melissa. First of all, I am really glad you got the mixer for Mother's Day. After I got mine several years ago, I realized that it was one of those things that you wonder how in the world you managed to get along before without it.

Also, I really appreciate your transparency about missing your mother and about the confusion surrounding your brother-in-law's untimely death. Some things just don't seem to make sense no matter how much faith we have, and I understand how your sister feels. I can remember when the cards came in after Ray's death, many of them telling me things like I could take comfort in God's arms wrapped around me, I would think, "Sure that is all well and good, but I would really like my husband's arms, thank-you-very-much." Somehow you just can't feel God's arms in the same way. It really is so much easier to say, "Just give me Jesus" when you haven't had to give up something that precious in your life.

Thanks again for your openness, your sweet spirit, and your good heart. (And for being such a good friend to my daughter.)

melissa said...

thank you all, for your sweet words.

carol, you completely understand. and unfortunately, you have been there, and know exactly what it is like. thanks for commenting, it means a lot to feel understood.

Kirsten in Germany said...


I'm continuing to enjoy your blog. What happened to your brother-in-law? That makes me so sad for your sister!


deb said...

I've been peeking through your words, and am so glad that I have. Your words are full of love on these pages and I look forward to reading more . Blessings to you in remembering your loved ones, and for finding the grace in bittersweet moments.