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The Big Picture

A Summer of Passages

I hope you have noticed that I have been MIA this summer.  It has been a summer of passages, and I have been trying to wrap my mind (and heart) around it.  I have attempte to blog about each separate summer passage, but words escaped me (this is a rare occurrence).  Today, on this official last day of summer, I will take one more stab at wrapping it all into one blog.

Not long after school dismissed, my kids began visiting their oldest brother, Tiger, (who gets the Oldest Brother Award). First Matt visited, then Ben went to see him. Finally, Mary and Emma took the train to sister Bethany’s (who is up for Oldest Sister Award) and the three of them visited Tiger for a long weekend.  You young moms will understand—you know how you think about how when they all grow up, you hope they like each other?  That time is upon me, and they do!  What’s more, Mary, next in line to leave the nest, gained a bigger vision from her travels, and has found new energy to find her calling, which is a passage all her own.

Summer was rolling along, when I had a realization: This is the first summer in 28 years that I haven't had to wake up at the crack of dawn with a baby or toddler. For over two decades I have been setting my alarm for 5:30, only to have the latest baby wake up at 5:15. 

Not this summer.  This summer I have been sleeping until 6:20 and no one (except my athletes) stirs until 7:30.  Do you know that 70 minutes is ample time for prayer, two cups of coffee, a scripture reading and a nice, long chat with my husband?  It's amazing!

Cory had his first football game as a high school quarter back as July turned into August, a vision I have had since he was two years old.  Even before the season started, at his first summer scrimmage game, I saw the pass I have been waiting 12 years to see.  A perfect spiral, about 30 yards, with the receiver running into the end zone for a touch down. I had played it over and over in my mind, and it happened just as I had imagined. But that's a blog for another day, as I am believing there is more where that came from-- and I am so grateful to watch it unfold.

Captain Fun and I are still bursting with joy over our two parent visits to West Point this summer.  Once for Ben's A Day, where the new cadets get accepted after completing Basic Training, also known as BEAST.  West Point is a fortress, withtall, grey stone buildings silently standing guard along the Hudson River.  I cannot describe the emotion I felt as the band played and about 3000 upperclassmen marched out of each building in unison and lined up facing the new cadets, who numbered around 900. 

After some introductions and pageantry, all grew silent, and a commanding voice came over the speaker.  "Class of 2019, welcome to the United States Military Academy."  The new cadets, now earning the title of Plebes, marched toward their fellow cadets, turning to join their ranks.  The tipping point for me, though, was having a son in both groups. Matthew, my Firstie, as the seniors are called, was welcoming Ben, the Plebe.  What is a mother to do with all that emotion? 

Two weeks later was Matthew's Ring Weekend, complete with ceremony and "hop" as it's called, which Matt's lovely fiancé', Melissa, was able to attend.  The seniors get their class rings (and Mom gets a matching pendant!). Once again, I cannot find the words to describe the emotion of dancing with one West Point cadet son, only to have another West Point cadet son cut in.  Cinderella's got nothing on me.

I’m not ashamed to say that I had the big 5-0 passage this summer.  Call me crazy, but I don’t mind 50.  Mom Dot has been telling me for years that fifty is younger than forty.  And, I have been waiting to be an “older woman who teaches the younger women” as described in Titus chapter 2.  It's a turbulent time to raise kids on this planet. Warts and all, I am eager to share. 

My five older sisters summoned me to Cinci for a Baby Birthday weekend, (though one of them couldn’t come at the last minute, and we missed her so!) There was a present by the coffee pot when I went to pour my coffee, and another on the bathroom sink when I went to brush my teeth.  There was a Red’s game, filet-minion on the grill, reminiscing about our parents, and presents, presents, presents. 

The first morning we were together, I was the last one up.  When I came into the room all of my sisters were already up.  They all stopped to greet me, “Hey Baby!”  “Good morning!”  It sounded just like the greeting my own kids give our baby Hope when she enters the room, and I had to laugh.  No passage on being the baby, and that’s okay with me.

And you better believe Captain Fun celebrated as only he can do by taking me back up to West Point for the Army football season opener.   Seven of the ten kids were there (Mary and Emma graciously offered to stay back with Mom Dot, and Tiger is saving his time off for Christmas).  I love West Point.  I love football.  What could be better?  The Captain’s conclusion was correct.  It was a magical weekend. Thank you, Captain Fun, from the bottom of my heart.

With Bethany at the Army season opener (the Captain is almost always photographer).

And now, summer is over.  A new school year starts tomorrow, no doubt filled with passages of its own.  So much behind me, yet so much ahead. 

I am learnig to embrace it all.

"I will lift up mine eyes  the hills; where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth." 

                                                               -Psalms 121:1


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