Warning: extremely long post. Feel free to skip...
I was just thinking.
My Dad and Clara came this weekend. It was the first time they've been to see us since we moved here 15 months ago.
Which is sad...but he has not been in good health and you know, once you get older, it's just harder to get away.
He always said that he couldn't wait until he retired. They were going to travel. They were going to come see all the grandchildren. They were going to do this and that.
The "they" being him...and my mom.
So, he and Clara...they still want to do the same things, pretty much. I don't know if she cares if they travel, but she enjoys it if they do. She has a really full life with 4 out of her 5 children living close...and many of her grandchildren live close as well. She has 5 children, 16 grandchildren...and 16 GREAT-grandchildren. My Dad has 4 children and 20 grandchildren. So, they each have big families all on their own...but combined...it's like a village!
That would kind of be cool if we could all live in a village with our families.
Or, maybe not.
My Dad married Clara a few years after after my Mom moved to Our Father's House. Clara was my Mom's best friend. She had been a widow for over 40 years, and had raised her children alone. My parents were just 2 weeks shy of their 40th wedding anniversary when my Mom died. Clara had been a widow all that time.
I believe that is God plan and provision...preparing her heart for my Dad. God is in the details, and He ordains our days.
We are so thankful for her. She completes my Dad's life. She enhances it. He loves her. In their early days, it was hard to see him act silly around her. You know, those early dating/early married days. We didn't get to see that with him and my Mom, because...well...we weren't there!
But Clara has been a blessing.
So...what I was thinking about this morning is...she is really the only grandmother my children have known. I mean, on my side of the family. We ALL know about Jim's mother, Mammaw Jack, and what an incredible grandmother she is to our children. We are all so blessed to have her.
She's been in my kids' lives longer than my Mom was. I try to keep my Mom's memory alive for my children, and that is a good thing, I think. I just want to always be careful not to over-shadow Clara's role and influence, and I think that sometimes I have.
Because my Mom: She cast a pretty big shadow over our lives...
Pretty hard act to follow.
And Clara didn't want to follow anyone. She just wanted to be herself...to follow God's will for her life, and maybe have some extra happiness during her older years. She made it very clear from the beginning that she wasn't looking to my Dad as a savior of sorts from her life. She loved her life and loved her family. She was active and busy.
I didn't envy Clara...stepping into our family...into our grief and loss...into our memories and our lives.
But she did.
I saw where Holly and Clark each posted something on Twitter about their grandparents coming to visit, and I thought that was so sweet. I WANT them to think of Clara as their grandmother, and they DO. She's not my Mom and never can be...she doesn't want to be and I don't want that, either...but I don't want my feelings about that to ever keep my children from fully embracing her into their lives.
So very thankful for God's plan and provision in this area.
And in every area of my life.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1