Sunday, December 4, 2016

a weepy sunday - a journey of play

Yesterday and today we have decorated our home for Christmas. I have also spent time preparing our advent. As I was getting this year's ready, I was flooded with memories of Christmas past in Ohio. I'm really missing our Ohio traditions. When we'd mail a letter to Santa from the big mail box, when we'd go to the Dover Christmas parade and watch the fun Dover marching band. I miss Christmas on the farm in Amish country and the potential for a white Christmas. Those were things I couldn't add to this year's advent.

Last night I was scrolling through online stores on my phone when I scrolled across some wooden train rails. It felt like time stopped for a bit as I remembered the years of trains in our home.

I can still see the color of the wood.
I can still hear the sound they made as we dug through the basket of tracks,
I can still feel how they felt in my hands as we picked up piece after piece trying to find the perfect fit.

My boy loved his trains. We had train books, train tracks, train sheets. Many of our days involved train play or train talk.

Our train era is over. I rolled that over in my mind a few times. And there was a big sad spot about it.

Then the thoughts flooded into my mind. "Remember how snugly he was? Remember how deep his laugh was? Remember the way his eyes sparkled? Remember how stinking cute his little voice was? What happened to my little guy? How in the world is this his 7th Christmas? Life is so different now that I'm working. DID I PLAY ENOUGH WITH HIM?"

At that last thought I stopped in a panic. It took everything in me not to go wake Cooper up, hold him like he was 2 and force him to build a train set with me all in the name of mama is having a moment.

The thoughts continued this morning as I got ready for church. "Man, I wish I could go back and just spend an entire day playing trains with him. Did I play trains with him?"  I prayed for God to help me with this.

My brother sent me a picture this morning of Cooper the first year we mailed a letter to Santa. My heart stopped and tears flooded my eyes. I threw my phone down on the bed to try to find a distraction to gladden my heart.

Instead I moved on to an even more emotional task. I opened up my great-grandmother's bible and scrolled through her notes. I recently asked for her bible, and was able to come back from Thanksgiving with it. Because of  #work and everyone's favorite #strepthroat I hadn't had a chance to go through it. I remembered that Nan had written some things in the pages, but didn't remember exactly what it was. I was excited to explore her bible and find out.

I flipped through the pages, the new testament pages obviously more worn than the old, and psalm and proverbs with far more notes. Something struck a cord with me; Nan wrote the dates on some of the passages she read. Most of them were in the early to mid 90s, which put her in her 80s. Simply amazing. I hope that when I'm in my 80s I'm still in God's word, praying for my family and friends.

I came across passages that completely humanized Nan and made me completely identify with her. One that I couldn't turn my eyes away from was September 94, a passage from Proverbs, "Who has woe? Who has sorrow?" I wanted to shout "I do! Today I do! I want my little boy back and I want the time to slow down." After a couple minutes of flipping through, more tears came and I had to walk away from it.

I have had time to think about all of this since this morning. As we decorated our Christmas tree and more emotions flooded me as I thought about time moving fast, I also thought of Nan. Many tell me I resemble in her many ways -so- I'm thankful for the woman she was. I'm thankful she fought hard to plant a legacy of faith. But it's more than that. It's her joy, her attitude, her giving nature, her care and concern for her family, the way she celebrated, and the way she played. All these qualities I strive for every day.

My Nan was a Nan who played. I'm a mom who played/who plays. I fight my arse off to make every moment count with Cooper. Of course I played with him. Remember all those memories I said? I know the feel and the sound of those trains. How could I know those things if I didn't play them? And I'm like Nan! Play is a part of both of us. Thinking about that gave me a peace.

I see why grandparents play so much. They know how quickly the time passes. They know they don't know what tomorrow brings. And so they play. They for get about their to-do list and play. All my friends of littles, put away the to-do list one day this week and just play. I promise you won't ever regret it. Even if you play a lot, you'll one day ask if you played enough.

And for those of you without littles, go play. Celebrate life. Laugh. Carry joy. LOVE OTHERS BIG.