Here’s the song reference.
After the girls finished their English and math lessons Tuesday, we all headed over to Deedaw’s to sneak in a little play time with Nephew. The morning was warm, sunny, and beautiful, tailor-made for five small children to cavort in the yard and make their own fun for a couple of hours.
We had to give the midget mob a bit of encouragement to play outside, though, since tiny people kept straying back inside to inquire about the possibility of television, snacks, and sweet drinks. At last, Deedaw and I shooed them all outside with a reminder that fall is coming, and with it an increasing scarcity of days holding the potential for unlimited outdoor play time. There was a minor bribe involving Oreos involved.
While five tiny people cavorted in the back yard, Deedaw and I talked about the physical and emotional logistics of our impending household merge. There is an enormous amount of stuff in both houses that needs to be re-homed, and quite a bit of that stuff has some heavy emotional significance for one or more of us. In addition to the need to downsize our treasure hoards, though, all of us are attempting to reduce our own egos, to have the humility and grace to defer our own wants to each other’s needs. The challenge is formidable. We love each other enough to face it prayerfully and together.
Part of our conversation ranged into the area of what each family member’s actual needs are. Deedaw was concerned that our household might end up with a net loss of space and privacy, and that a perception might be created among the extended family that she needs help. Insofar as the latter is concerned, I bluntly told her that the only help she appears to need is someone to talk to after the sun goes down, and an occasional tall person to reach something off a high shelf (which, given her physical stature, has been the case for the entire decade I’ve known her). There’s certainly nothing amiss with her mental faculties, and she quite emphatically does not need to be told what to do. Anyone who thinks Deedaw should be, or can be, controlled or managed does both of them a grave and unloving disservice. We had a good laugh over that.
When we turned back the topic of stuff and privacy, our tone was not so lighthearted. We talked about the years that had passed, when life had happened and both of us had overlooked, or willingly passed up, so many opportunities to spend time together during Nonno’s final half-decade. Minutes become hours, which become days, which become months, which become years, and before we knew it, Nonno was gone, and there was no more, “we’ll have time to do more when things settle down.” It has been a terrible lesson for all of us, learned at an incalculable price. I told her of our determination not to allow that to happen again, regardless of any inconvenience, and that since she and we prefer that we combine households eventually anyway, we are willing to sacrifice material goods and some of our privacy to make it happen before there is a crisis, while she is still in full command of her faculties, so that we do not lose any more pearls of great price.
Deedaw agreed. We shed a few tears together over the years that could have been, and a few more because we missed Nonno.
It’s been a tough year. Deedaw’s been tougher than the year, having borne everyone’s burdens on her broad shoulders.
Today’s prayer: Lord, before I complain that something has been taken from me, let me first consider whether I have thrown it away willingly in pursuit of something I thought was better. Please help us teach Your blessings that we are to love one another more than our possessions, more than getting our own way, more than money, more than unrestricted gratification of our desires. Please grace our hearts with the humility to see the wisdom in eyes that have been open longer than our own, and to recognize just criticisms of our words and deeds instead of using the cop-out that people are judging our hearts when they point out a problem with our behavior. We would train up Your blessings, Lord, to understand love, compassion, and self-control, and You have granted us many opportunities to do so. Please bless us with the wisdom to use those opportunities as You taught, seeking to gain no advantage for ourselves, but to show Your blessings Your face.