We’ve made it to September. (thank you Earth, Wind and Fire for those memorable lyrics… ba de yah… ) I don’t remember a longer hotter summer. I’m sure there’s some record books on it somewhere.
it was 17 C (my personal favourite temperature) on the deck this morning with a slight breeze, and clear blue skies.. the unrelenting humidity seems to be gone (for now!) Bird bangers and garbage truck air brakes are the only sounds interrupting the crickets, cicadas and happy morning birds this early Friday morning. A red throated hummingbird just stopped by the Scarlet Runners for a morning drink of nectar, the sun gleaming off his iridescent green feathers. So I broke my rule and made a second cup of strong black coffee.. because mornings like these are meant to be savoured.
It’s been a long haul the last few weeks. Lots of hard emotions. If you’ve ever helped an aging parent move from their home to assisted living.. you likely know the soul tearing feelings well. Mom we love you, you made it through.. and you are shining bright, showing yet again that you are a true survivor. And this daughter is tickled that you’re back to your mischievous self.
The crazy contract that Guillermo is working through right now is really wearing us down. I see significant changes in him. Those further away see the surface stuff.. how he looks drawn, tired, his posture shows the weight of the job and the weariness in his bones. I see the stuff inside – and how his personality has changed, and how sleepless his nights are. We keep eachother awake both trying so hard to sleep and lie still so the other can get rest, our stomachs in knots. We keep hoping to catch a glimpse of the end, but it keeps stretching just out of reach. At the same time, so thankful for the Divine provision.
He lamented last night quietly (not for the first time) while he picked beans in the dark “I’ve lost my summer, haven’t i?” His hope was always to retire (for real!) in the month April, and enjoy a long staycation at home in our backyard through Spring and Summer before venturing further beyond. thanks to Covid – he had April & May off this year, and worked hard in our backyard to make it beautiful for the summer.. those 2 precious months gave us a real taste of what retired life could be like. Then in June he started this contract of 4 x 10hr shifts a week, with 3 days off .. which stretched fairly soon afterwards to 6 x 11hr days. When he started in June he was getting up with the Sun, and now he doesn’t arrive at work til just before it dawns over the Eastern point of Lake Erie. So many of his compatriots retired from the steel industry at age 50 with full pensions.. and while “retirement age” in Canada is still typically 65 when we qualify for full CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) , and he’s just under 1.5 yrs from that, the last 15 years are hard when you’ve seen so many do it successfully early.
I’m sorry Honey.. maybe next summer?
We had a surprise reprieve from the punishing pace this last weekend. A young couple from our church planned a small Covid wedding, and needed a venue for their reception. We offered our deck, and Guillermo was able to take the Friday off work to help me set up. Rain was in the forecast, so we purchased a new 20×30 white tarp to cover the pergola and the South side where the wind/rain was predicted to come from. He installed it with a large exercise ball as a rounded peak to help the rain water run off. (brilliant!)
I set the table with pretty dishes, the groom dropped off a centre piece he arranged with floating candles and curly twigs, and we festooned the area with lots of celebratory & congratulatory balloons. This was all a surprise to the Bride who was thrilled. We so enjoyed our evening serving the guests. While they left earlyish for a wedding reception, it was still well after our regular bedtime for a work night (Bill works on Saturdays now, and the reception was Friday night). He did plan on ‘sleeping in’ and going in to work later this particular Saturday.
7:15 am on Saturday morning, 3 hours after his usual wake up alarm, he was just showered, dressed and was readying his breakfast, when a phone call from the steel plant rang in, letting him know that the Day Shift was cancelled… he miraculously had the day off. This has never happened before. Somehow, he was gifted 3 days in a row off work. And we SAVOURED it. We actually puttered and worked around the house most of Saturday, had guests for home church & lunch on Sunday.. but we just stayed home.. enjoyed each other’s company..and wordlessly hugged – a lot.
Next week Wednesday marks our 15th wedding anniversary, he’ll be working his long day, followed by a Zoom meeting in the short evening afterwards. A few days later is my sister’s 65th birthday. Both are calendar events we’ll be celebrating later. I remind myself.. people have missed many a milestone- birthdays, weddings, funerals, anniversaries, cancelled major events, graduations, and vacations these last 6 months.. we’re no different. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not even sad about it. I want to celebrate when we’re both relaxed, refreshed, and have the time to remember.
So we move on.. we keep on living, doing, being, breathing, hoping, praying.. one step at a time. And we count our many many blessings.. the small ones like a beautiful September morning, or the big ones, like the huge gift of selling mom’s beautiful Condo privately in ONE day to the first person we showed it to, for full asking price, with no conditions. Yay GOD!!! (sold to another beautiful Christian lady who just lost her husband late last year and needs to downsize – which is what mom did 19 yrs ago after our dad passed away)
Back in February, when we began the slow process of purging at moms home, I found braids that mom cut off my 5 year old head, 45 years ago..
I’ve been waiting through the stages of Covid to be able to donate them, and was finally able to do that today. When I brought them to Wigs for Kids, they seemed very pleased. From my understanding, they only once received hair older than mine, 60 yrs old! Since my hair had been braided before cutting, it will be easy for them to use – no tangles to deal with. Mom also had 2 sets of braids from one of my other sisters; we mailed those to her direct in Vancouver, and she plans to donate hers as well. I saw photos on Wigs for Kids of young children being blessed with wigs and am so thankful that mom preserved our hair so lovingly.
It’s funny .. (not in a haha way..) how we often thing “giving” is mainly about money.. then we consider it about giving our time. But there are so many other ways/things we can give that can make a big difference in someone else’s life. Like 45 year old hair. 🙂
2 weeks after Mom’s move, we are now preparing to “dispense” of her furniture kitchen appliances, and some other small items. My sisters and I were taking a wee break after the move to start this next step.. when I received a call out of the blue from a local mission looking for some items for a young couple in need expecting their first baby. We didn’t even photograph, catalogue or prepare anything yet. Someone from the mission came to the house, and was able to take an old kitchen table set/dishes/cutlery/pots & pans. Many of these items 30-50 yrs old or older – but still in really excellent condition, as my mom is truly one of the best examples of a “wise steward” that I know.
A couple of days later, we heard of someone who needed a fridge badly, and this morning, a call requesting her sofa bed for a young man moving away from home to go work up in Northern Ontario in a street mission. We haven’t made calls or plans, or set up ads.. and are just waiting now to see what the next phone call may be, and who God brings to mom’s door with a need for exactly what we have to give..
We want to truly recognize that Everything in Heaven & on Earth is God’s.. (2 Chron 29:11). and we are His stewards.. whether that be money, time, gifts, our talents, the hairs on our head, or 30 yr old furniture we’ve so enjoyed – and wait patiently for Him to provide the next steward. He is faithful… all the time. 🙂
I leave you with a few more fun Bean photos… as they are growing over the pergola.. providing us with food, beauty, shade and shelter.