I spent most of this week on vacation with my family and my husband’s parents, who are as good to me as my own. It was a great vacation, very little drama, only 3 hours from home, time to sit outside and eat what Hubs grilled (which is as close to “camping” as this girl is ever going to get, unless there is a zombie apocalypse and I have no choice), time to watch the boys play in the water and watch a good movie (“Maleficent” was magnificent, in this humble Disney movie aficionado’s opinion), time to catch fireflies and have deep, meaningless conversations about nothing in particular.
In short, except for my dad being in the background music of my mind, it was a really good four days, and we are even back early, giving me time to recoup for my busy days ahead, with Baptisms and All-Stars and work. But today, as my Hubs and I were holding Caboose’s hands so that he could jump waves, it hit me, some of the lessons I have sub-consciously absorbed this week, and some that have practically jumped up and bit me.
#1–I am so glad that 20 years ago I resisted the (small) urge I had to get a tattoo. Please, all of you who have tattoos, I am not calling you out. I have terrific friends who have fabulously artistic pieces on their bodies, and I love to admire them. But, for me, there were only a few things I would consider tattooing on my self, and now, I thank God I didn’t. I do have friends and patients who have beautiful memorial tattoos to loved ones who have gone on, and I think they are very meaningful. But after being up close and personal with lots of tattoos this week, AND having to explain some of the said tattoos to my children, well, I am glad I don’t have to explain the tattoo I would have gotten at the age of 20 to my kids; I will leave what I might have gotten to your imaginations.
#2–I am proud of my modesty. Okay, yes, I have good reason to be modest in my swimwear choices, but I also could have not been. And once again, explaining some of these things to 8 and 9 year old boys, I just have to say that “Go ask your dad” might have been said once or twice. Or three times.
#3–playing cards (or any non electronic game) is a great way to connect with your kids. I wish I was the mom who could do it all. Over the years, I have discovered that I can only do a few things reasonably well, and I have to focus on those. This time of rest allowed me to play cards at will with my kids, especially the 8 year old, Monkey. He loves games, and we played Rummy every night; I had forgotten how much I loved that game. This is when he told me I was “elderly”, then Weatherman got in on the game and asked me all innocent-like, “what does nag mean?” The rest of the trip consisted of me being called the “elderly nagger” off and on, until Papaw got in on it, and told them what for.
I did ask, “Do you ever hear me ‘nag’ your dad?” They thought about this one for a while, and with dawning realization in their eyes, said, “no, and why not?” I told them it didn’t work with their dad…no, I told them that I learned early on that nagging with him got me nowhere, because I wasn’t his boss. He was mine (they like that idea). I don’t have to nag him, I said, because he does what needs to be done when it needs to be done (okay, sorry, Hubs, I might have exaggerated this part, but stuff does get done, just not necessarily when I want). So they get where they are on the totem pole…a little life lesson for them on this trip.
#4–Look where you step. The very first day, I gave Hubs a choice: go to the water park or go shopping to get groceries. So the boys and I headed to the park (I got what I wanted); we had 3 hours till closing and made the most of it. Weatherman and Monkey found slides and pools, and Caboose found a shallow pool with palm trees and an upright pirate ship turned slide. This slide had no running water, was only 4 feet long, and this was his favorite place. So as I am walking into said 18 inch deep water, I notice that it looks a little slick, and I think to myself, “hey, that looks slick, be…”
As the word careful goes through my mind, I am already flat of my back, on my right side, having come down HARD on my right elbow, I immediately look around, but can’t say that I immediately get up, because I am a little like a turtle that’s been turned on its back and can’t get over on its tummy to get up. Believe it or not, I saw no snickers or laughs, or hands over mouths indicating covered laughs, and poor Caboose goes down right beside me, so I am able to misdirect attention. And God is good, because except for a nice bruise on my right elbow, I am none the worse for wear…it reminds me of this verse:
“If the Lord delights in a man’s way,
He makes His steps firm:
though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with His right hand.”
I stumbled and I fell, but God had his hand on me, which brings me to the last life lesson.
#5–At this water park, there was a really cool wave pool. It was big, and it had some huge waves. My two oldest loved it. There were a few times, while I watched them, that I would lose sight of them and have a slight shortness of breath until I spotted their heads again. Caboose hated it the first few times, for that reason: those waves were big.
But today, Caboose was there with his daddy, who was holding his hand, and Caboose was laughing and jumping into the waves (in the shallow part, mind you, but still). Then I came up and grabbed his other hand, and he was joyous in jumping the waves, couldn’t keep from laughing, was looking forward to leaping when that big wave came toward him. Hubs and I lifted him up, and his little body was carried back, but his hands were fastened solidly in ours, and we were not letting go, even though I felt his grasp slip once or twice. But we had him.
That’s when it hit me, like a big wave. That’s how my God is. He is holding my hand. I have been in this big wave pool lately, being tossed to and fro. I went out into the deep of the water park’s wave pool, and it is scary when the current rips your legs out from under you and you can’t stay where you were, you are moving and being tossed under water, and being thrown where you didn’t want to go.
But if I hang onto my Father’s hand, just like Caboose hung onto his dad’s, I can laugh when the wave hits me, because I am not going anywhere. If I hang onto my Father’s hand, I can ride the waves and end up where He wants me to be. He can direct my steps, and I won’t go under. After the last few weeks, going under has seemed a certainty, but after seeing Him in action today, and Holy Spirit telling me to hold on…Cowabunga, Dude!!!!!