For 25 years I’ve worked as a stay at home mom. Twenty of them I have homeschooled my kids. My oldest is married. He’s been out of the house for 4 years. My 2nd moved out 2 years ago. My 3rd is working on her escape plan possibly this fall, and my youngest has wheels, a job, and friends, so he’s not around so much. In 2 years I’ll officially retire from the homeschool teacher role. So lately when we’ve seen relatives or friends the question has been, “What are you going to do when you’re done homeschooling? Get a job?”
At times I feel like Woody in Toy Story must have felt during the song “Strange Things” in the Movie. My life has changed drastically in the matter of a few short years, and I’ve just been along for the ride. The funny thing is, like Woody, I’m a little surprised by the changes, and I don’t know exactly where I’ll end up either.
About a year ago I was lamenting the plight of a middle aged woman. Everything changing: adult children, being just that, adults, no more putting them in a time out and trying to get them to see things your way; parents getting older and suffering under illnesses or disease; time flying by; top that off with changing hormones. You have a concoction that would make most people shudder. I told my friend, “It seems quite cruel to have kids leaving the home, life changing at the speed of light, and hormones flipping out all hit at the same age.” It must be the product of The Fall of Adam and Eve.
So my past few days haven’t been my easiest. My Mother in Love, who has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, had been suffering from the effects of low platelet count. After an evening of trying to encourage her in her battle by going with friends and family to her house to sing old time worship songs and pray, we determined she needed to see the doctor asap. That turned into an 8 hour day of blood work and her receiving blood at Outpatient. Helping her, as probably one of the toughest women of faith I know, fight her fight of faith against cancer (God is Bigger!), and trying to tend to her physical needs as best I can was a challenge. Thanks be to God she felt so much better!
So I took her home and received a text from my daughter in love. “Would you mind watching the baby for a couple of hours while I get groceries and run errands?” ABSOLUTELY NOT! Be there ASAP!
When I arrived, my 4 month old grandson was sleepy. He had just nursed. So I took him to the room where the rocker was and held him close, sang “Jesus Loves Me” softly to him and rocked him until he was peacefully asleep. As I sat there looking at his little angelic features, I listened to him breathe and sigh once and awhile. “Thank you God for this little blessing. May his heart always be close to Yours. Let him love you and serve you from a young age. Thank you for letting me hold him today.” Then I remembered a verse from Proverbs 17:6 “Grandchildren are the reward of old people…” Proverbs 17:6 ICB. Tears came to my eyes. I’m not what I consider old, just half way to 98. But I guess if the middle mark of 98 years is 49 I’m probably rocking back and forth on the fulcrum of Over the Hill. Leaning toward the Old side. If I am Old, Grandchildren are my reward. So very true today. My kids may all be flying away like the scene from “Charlotte’s Web” when Charlotte’s little baby spiders all flew away.
My heart may break watching my mother in love and mother struggle with not feeling well. My next step in life may be unclear, “What will I do when my baby, 16 years old, graduates? And my official job is done?” BUT, God gave me a little gift today, a reward. I got to hold a little guy that has a tiny little piece of me mixed in to his DNA. I got to pray for the next generation to come. I got to listen to him softly breathe and hold him close. I got to experience “My reward”.
Come to think of it, life changes aren’t always so bad and growing older is sweetened by God’s blessings and rewards He generously gives!