"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Day He Called Me LaLa

In my (super short - ha!) lifetime, I have undergone many role changes.  And in all honesty, it has always gone pretty smoothly.  Middle school to high school to college - no problem.  Single to girlfriend to wife - easy peasy.  Becoming a momma, pure joy.

BUT - becoming a grandma has not had that same smooth sailing feeling in my heart.  I always see these cute sayings about how amazing it is to be a grandma, and well. . . for me, it has been a struggle.

(I confess all of this because I have never heard anyone else say that earning the grandma badge is anything less than bliss, and I doubt I am alone.)

Hearing I was an expectant grandmother was actually the exact opposite of what I wanted.  During my daughter's first pregnancy, I was terrified.  She had never been in a poorer condition emotionally, physically, or spiritually.  I did not trust that her boyfriend would stick around.  I did not know how she would handle being a young mom.  Rather than joyful, the situation felt very tenuous.

When my grandson was born, I was totally relieved.  He was beautiful, content, and healthy.  His momma and daddy, together, worked hard to be good parents.  Yet, from my vantage point, grandparenting was hard.  Instead of being able to hug and snuggle and spoil that precious baby, I was constantly torn between attending to my grandson and my littlest daughter, who is just 15 months older.  The tension in my heart has been difficult.  The two babies seemed to be in direct competition for my love and undivided attention.  It often felt as if I were failing them both.

NOW, hear me clearly, I have never lacked love for my grandson.  Never!  And I have always been proud of the way his mommy, my beautiful and courageous firstborn, has risen to the challenge of parenthood.

THEY were never the problem.

My own expectations WERE the problem.

I had always envisioned being a grandma who had lots of TIME for her grandbabies.  I planned endless rocking and playing.  I was going to lavish my precious grandchildren with undivided attention when they were with me.  They were to feel like the center of my universe.

At this point in my life, grandparenting as I had always imagined grandparenting, is impossible.  My grandchildren MUST share me with my own children.  That has been hard.  Mataya has struggled with the role. . . a lot.  She has not been sweet and gentle all the time.  She has kicked, hit, bitten, stolen toys, etc... She has cried with jealousy and insecurity when I have cared for my grandson.  Many times, I am not sure if I should discipline her or reassure her.  Which child's needs should I meet first?  Who should get the sought after toy, this time?  There is a constant tension, both babies struggling to figure out their place in my heart.

Of course, there have been many moments of joy.  My grandson is sweet and content and delightful.  I have LOVED watching him grow.  I have LOVED the many hours he has spent at  "LaLa's day care" while his mommy has been at school.  (I have cared for him three days a week for much of his life!)  I have loved him heart and soul from the moment I knew he was coming. . . I just didn't feel very grandmothery.

Being a grandma and not feeling very grandmothery is a guilty thing.  I can not even totally explain it.  I LOVED him.  I knew he was my grandson, but it just felt odd.  Not special, just factual.  (I know none of this makes any sense.  How can I say I adore him and yet not feel that ushy-gushy grandma feeling?  I have no idea.  But that is how I felt.  I was truly a tiny bit detached and unsure. I was very uncomfortable, doubtful of my ability to succeed in this very important role as grandma.)

And my poor little grandson felt the exact same way.  This little people person learned all the names of family members before any other words.  His first 15 words were names.  He could say momma, and dada, grandpa, Joshua, Riley, TayTay, Rah-Rah (Sierra), Enna (Brenna), and all the names of his daddy's family, too.  But he called me, "MOOOM!"  Not the cute kind of momma.  He belted out, "MOOOM!" like Mataya did when she was in dire need.  And every time he did, I ignored him.  Or I responded, "Momma is at school.  Can LaLa help you?"

He was so frustrated.  Everyone else called me "mom" and I responded.  However, when he did, nothing happened.  Poor little guy.  He would repeat "LaLa" when I told him to - but his heart and mind just did not connect with the title.

We tried Grandma.  He knew that term.  He used it for his other grandma - but in reference to me, it just confused him.  I was just this weird lady that loved him, cared for him often, and didn't fit into any box he understood.

And then one day, he and him momma walked into my home and he yelled, "LaaaLaaaa!  LaaaaLaaa!"

At that exact moment, my heart melted in a way it had never melted before.  For the very first time, I felt like a grandma.  HIS grandma.  He asked for me!  And he asked for me first, not TayTay or Joshua - but LaLa.  He claimed me.  He gave me a name that no one else had ever given me.  It was precious and life-changing for me.

Since that day, we have a game.  It is a brand-new game.  One I have never played with anyone else, ever before.  It is ours, and ours alone.

I walk a few feet away from my sweet grandson and he yells, "LALA!"  To which I respond, "loves you!"  And he giggles quickly repeating, "LAAAALA"  We do this over and over and over, all day long.  And it never, ever, ever gets old.

Not a single struggle has changed.  The babies are still vying for my attention, all day long.  I continue to wonder how to balance the role of mommy and grandma simultaneously.  More than likely, I always will.  Yet, my heart has changed.  I am his LaLa.  He has named me.  He has claimed me.  He has changed me forever.

In just three short weeks, grandbaby number two will arrive.  This time I am being gifted with a granddaughter.  This time I am not scared.  I know the transition will be hard, her parents will be tired and stretched thin.  They will struggle to meet the demands of two little ones - BUT they will succeed.

As I await my granddaughter's birth, I am feeling something brand-new. . . joyful excitement.  I GET to be a grandma.  I will soon hold my tiny, precious granddaughter for the first time.  I can not wait.  The Lord took my own grandparents home this year, but he is sending me another tiny one to love and mentor and enjoy.  I no longer have a grandma, but I get to be a grandma.  I CAN use all the love they poured into me and pour it out into these precious, precious babies.  What an amazing gift.

Wyatt John, your Lala loves you with a special, all-encompassing love.  You made me a grandma, and I am so grateful.  Thank you for patiently teaching me how to do my job!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

WDA 2016

Sometimes it seems silly to blog about the normal stuff.  My heart is heavy with all that is happening in our world.  A devastating hurricane in Haiti.  A state of emergency in Ethiopia.  A ridiculous presidential race in America.  The deaths of young people.  So much tragedy and hate and unrest tugs at my heart and mind and prayers - but even in these crazy times (perhaps ESPECIALLY in these crazy times) I choose to savor, celebrate and document the normal, beautiful moments of my life and family.

Saturday was the WDA Cross Country meet.  It was cool and breezy.  The perfect day to race.

 Brenna had an amazing race!  She beat her previous PR by nearly one minute, placing 16th in the WDA!  It was so fun to watch her!  We are so proud of your hard work and improvement, Brenna-girl!

We also had a blast watching the high school teams.  Because we got to know the boys and their families during Jamison's years at CHS, watching them race is super special!  It was an extra special day because they won the WDA meet.  This has not happened since 1978!  The girls team won as well, in part because of the middle school girls who were asked to race with them.  The addition of the middle school girls (who we know and love) made that race personal as well.  So - it was all in all a superior day, and a nice escape.  I am not usually one to find a day of sports action a relaxing break from life, but yesterday it was just that!

Joshua does not love cross country - but he does love climbing trees!  Once in a while a race course has some good climbing trees.  These pictures were taken in Minot at last week's meet.  They were too cute not to post.

Life is a hard balance sometimes.  There is much going on that is and should be driving me to my knees.  It almost feels wrong to post this "silly little stuff" in the midst of it all, and yet to skip it is to sacrifice the gift that it is.  Little stuff matters.  Little moments of triumph and laughter are what get us through most days.  So, I won't sacrifice the gift that they are; BUT, I will also be praying over the BIG things.  I will be giving them over to the Lord many times each day, trusting them to He who is able to do more than we can ask for or imagine.

Friday, October 7, 2016

He Came Home

It has been a hard week.  One of Jamison's high school classmates and friends died in a tragic hunting accident.  While this news would always hit me hard, at this point in my life, it was so very personal.  I miss having daily contact with Jamison so very much.  So Very Much.  And yet this momma will never again have contact with her son, this side of heaven.  It just wrecks me.

Plus, because I had not seen Jamison face to face, I didn't really know how he was doing in the after math of this tragedy.  It is the first peer that my kids have lost.  There is something intense about someone your own age dying.  

Plus, the little kids were missing Jay.  Mataya had refused to talk to him since he moved into the dorm.  On the brief occasions she had been around him, she would not go near him.  She told me, "I mad at him.  He go 'way!"  And Joshua had lost his wrestling partner.  For an eight year old boy, that is a huge loss.

Soooooo, when Jamison showed up at about 3:00 this afternoon, I was so grateful.  For four and a half hours, we chatted.  For the first time since he moved out, I feel like I know a bit about his life again.  

He played with the little kids.  Mataya was ALL over him.  Begging in silly toddler fashion, "Jay don't get me!  Jay don't tickle me!  Jay!  Jamison, Jayyy-missss-sssonnn don't chase me!  Jamison don't get me with your beard!!!" for his attention.  And he lavished it on her.  Chasing and hugging and tickling and playing.  

When Joshua walked in from school, Jamison jumped off the couch and greeted him in a wrestler's stance.

We had supper together.  I did his laundry.  Sierra and Jay chatted in the kitchen while I cleaned up supper.  Normal felt soooo good.

My heart is so much more relaxed this evening.  A couple of big hugs and a few hours with my son made me feel so much better.  He really is doing well.  I saw it in his eyes.

Confession - I really did not expect to miss him this much!  I truly am OK.  I don't walking around crying all the time.  I am functioning quite well - BUT there is this constant tension in my heart wondering how he is, missing the daily mundane moments of his life.  Krissy has always stopped home every couple of days, so this is all new to me.  I had no idea how pathetic I would be!  I even roll my eyes at myself sometimes!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Learning to Fly

Truth - I am missing my tall son a whole lot.

In the past six weeks, I have seen him a total of 5 hours.  I was NOT prepared for that!

I have learned that while having him close by for college is a HUGE advantage in case of an emergency, it is a disadvantage in that he may never come home for a weekend (outside of when they close the dorm for Christmas.)  Jamison is super busy right now.  He is taking 19 credits, practicing with his track and xc team three hours a day, and working 10-16 hours each weekend.  He is also choosing to live the college life, hanging with friends and going to campus activities.  All this does not leave time to stop by momma's house.  While I am so very happy that he is doing well SO VERY HAPPY), there are days, like today, that I could really use a big hug and a long chat with my man-child.

Instead, I spend the day praying for him - thanking God for the man Jamison has become and asking his blessing, guidance, and protection to follow him always.

As I get used to him being gone, I often think of a comment he made years ago.  We were eating dinner and discussing ages of children we most enjoyed.  I claimed to like every age.  Jamison looked at me carefully and said, "Actually mom, the age you will not like is the age when we leave."

Oh, my son.  How correct you were.  And yet, I celebrate with you!  I am so proud of you.  I don't wish you back.  I am proud of your wings.  They are serving you well.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Building a Dream - Garage Concrete

In typical Chad Dietrich fashion, much has taken place in a short period of time at our lake lot.

While my husband is good at many things, he is a master at design work.  He has great vision, and he can somehow take a rock and turn it into a diamond.  Our lot was nice when we bought it, but I am shocked and awed at the way he has transformed the place with his large equipment.  A bit more dirt in some areas and a bit less in others has changed the place immensely.  (Much more than photos can express!)

In addition to dirt work, he and a couple of our employees have poured the concrete slab for our garage.  (I am not sure who is happiest about the lake garage, Chad and I. . . or Sierra.  Currently her vehicle sits outside because the garage is full of toys.  Once the toys are tucked into the lake garage, she gets to park inside.)  A few other employees have been building the wall panels inside the shop.  If things go as planned, the garage will be standing very soon.

 Chad spent Thursday through Sunday at the lake.  Since the kids had school and other activities, I was only there for about an hour on Saturday.  He is great at sending me photo updates.  And because he knows me so well, he sent me a picture of the sunset view.  That is love people, especially since he is not a sky guy.  (Also notice the spruce trees that he planted.  The lot is on a cliff.  One side is well protected from the ND wind by existing trees.  On the other side we are creating a windbreak of our own.  We could not find anyone local to haul trees in, so we bought the tallest trees we could move ourselves in the hopes that it won't be too long before we will reap the benefits!  So far six are planted.  We have 8 more to haul up next week.)
 Crummy cell phone picture - but it does document the size of the trees!
Tay Tay was so happy to see her daddy.  They found a pretty spot for a water break.
As he was leaving today, Chad took this photo.  It does a good job of showing how he enlarged the front of the lot by filling in a low spot.  The camper is sitting near where we will build the cabin.

This will have an entirely different look by next October!  It will be an exciting year to come.