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Monday, July 25, 2011

A Kleenex Kind of Lunch

We are in the dining room at Laurel Hill, a large room with wood floors and enough tables for all the residents and any guests who show up.  It is lunchtime, and our daughter Becky is here for the first time-----she and her husband Matt live in Eugene, and are visiting this weekend.   They both look so young and healthy, a refreshing but slightly jarring contrast to the assortment of broken, aging bodies in wheelchairs at the tables.  Becky is in her seventh month of pregnancy, beautiful in a summery dress.  I am watching Stu carefully as he eats, making sure he puts his fork down between bites, reminding him to wipe the left corner of his mouth,  listening as he tells me about what's on his mind-----I look up to see Becky reaching for her kleenex.   Suddenly I realize how different life is, and how much I've adjusted.   I see the scene through my daughter's eyes, and I stop for a minute and let it hit me.  I reach for the kleenex, too.  It's good to have someone to cry with.

Before long the rest of the clan arrives as planned-----first Shayna, eager to see Zaydie, followed by Lucas who is fascinated by Uncle Matt.  Rachel is right behind them, and Jerome is in the van looking for Lily's shoe.   In a few minutes he shows up with a barefoot Lily-----oh well.....(grin).    We are all together around the table, and Stu is encouraged to see everyone.   He starts to tell them all about how this experience has made him realize how much he loves me, and begins to cry himself.   It seems to be a kleenex kind of lunch!   I tell the kids how encouraged I've been that Dad is starting to show that kind of emotion.  And it makes me marvel at the elasticity of our marriage-----truly for better or for worse!

Finally it is time for Stu to be put back to bed in his room (this still requires a Hoyer lift, as he is still unable to sit up reliably by himself.)   When the attendants give us the all clear, the nine of us congregate in Stu's room for a final goodbye.   Stu requests a family prayer, and we take some time to lift him up, thanking God for the progress that's been made and the faith that is being forged.   And then we sing: "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!  Praise Him all creatures here below!  Praise Him above ye heavenly host!  Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!   Amen"   How I love that simple doxology-----it says it all!

the kid's table in the barn, surrounded by Stu's art

a handmade card from a young guest

my funky ladder decoration

They're taking notes for twenty years from now:-)
We celebrated that evening with a baby shower for Becky-----she is due in mid September.    Couldn't resist sharing some pictures from that lovely evening-----we even needed some kleenex during that!  But not too much, and there was plenty of laughter to balance it out:-)

Until next time


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