What a difference a year makes…

Last year I got an amazing surprise for Christmas — my dad flew down to spend the holiday with us!  I had no idea.  We had plans to go to Christmas Eve services with my mom & step dad at the church they were going to and to have dinner together afterwards.  I couldn’t figure out when we walked into church why my mom was so overly smiley and giddy and INSISTENT that I sit near the end of the row, until someone tapped me on the shoulder and said “Is this seat taken?”  It was, of course, my dad who should have been 1200 miles away!  Blew-my-mind!  Maybe even more so was how he got there.  My mom and dad had been talking by phone for weeks planning the trip, purchasing the airline tickets, and devising this church service surprise.  And, because the best flight option for him was to arrive several hours before church they picked him up from the airport, took him to lunch and had him spend the day with them at their house.  Not all kids of divorced parents could share this scenario but the fact that I can brings me almost more joy than the surprise visit itself!

My kids were beyond excited and for the first time….ever….we got to spend Christmas with Papa Don.  We all said that this was worth doing again (minus the surprise part, of course!) and that next year we would make it happen and include my step mom who wasn’t able to make the trip.

Fast forward a year….

My mom and step dad who so actively planned this surprise and hosted a wonderful Christmas Eve now spend nearly everyday in a hospital or doctor’s office as my mom is battling stage 4 cancer.  There is almost nothing the same in their household this year.

We planned a trip for my dad and step mom to come celebrate with us and 3 days before the flight my step mom goes in for emergency knee surgery that has her in a cast from ankle to hip and now their trip is canceled.

This isn’t a pity party post but rather a real, transparent snap shot of  the fact that sometime life just stinks.  Period.

But if you know me at all or have gained any insight from previous posts you’ll know I can’t hang there for too long.  I never want to gloss over the ‘suckies’ in life because I have learned that that only makes me fester and stew on the inside.  I’m a bad fester-er.  It’s no good for anyone.  So instead, I state the obvious:  This sucks.  I don’t like it.  I wish it could be like last year.  And then, I make a conscious choice to switch gears.

I am blessed to have divorced parents who give a rip about each other.  Just as last year my mom worked hard to get my dad here for us, he was working hard to get here and see her when she is sick.  Makes my heart swell.  I am on a road with my mom that, though I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, is the path marked out specifically for me.  It is for a purpose and I am growing and finding immeasurable joy along the way.  My faith is growing stronger, my friendships are growing deeper, and my vision of this life has expanded immensely.  Heart swells even more.

The pinnacle?  I am at Walmart and a woman in tattered clothes is buying a handful of staple items in the lane next to me with only a few bills and a change purse.  I was drawn to her like a bug to a light and watched the whole scene play out – not enough money, having to take things out of the bag, final total had her with literally pennies left in her hand.  As discreetly as I possibly could (because my biggest fear was embarrassing her) I folded a bill and tapped her on the arm and slipped it to her.  The reaction from her and both of our young checkers was dramatic and that was when my heart swelled to bursting.  I sat in my car afterward and wept.  What I gave her was NOTHING to me….but the world to her.  But by the grace of God that I don’t have to go to the Walmart with a change purse counting items and pennies!

So even though last year was magical and wonderful and all about me, the more I think about it I am really, really glad that this year is not.  Its a pared down version with focus on what is really important.  Man, am I blessed!


Published in: on December 14, 2011 at 11:03 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful post Amy. You have me in weepy tears over here!

  2. And this is what the season is SUPPOSED to be about. Beautifully written, Amy. You have such insight and really know how to put things into perspective. Love you.

  3. Thank you, Amy, for this beautiful post…continued blessings in each day ahead.XOXO

  4. Amy, your insight always inspires and encourages. Thank you for being so transparent and a who you are!! Life is not always easy, but knowing He holds you close, especially in the difficult times gives me comfort and joy..praying often for you and your family!! Love you to pieces!

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