We are visiting family in Ontario and it's been a joy to see so many relatives at once. God has definitely blessed me as I've been grafted into a large family who are all believers. We share meals together, go for walks, go to museums, laugh, pray, and watch the mayhem of grandbabies running around. Silas is loving the ready attention of available aunts and uncles to cuddle, kiss, tickle and play games with him. He loves his cousins and is always asking "where Levi? Where Jacob? Where Allie?" He is playing hard, eating hard and sleeping hard. Although, he is having a crash course in what is acceptable and unacceptable social behaviour. He's been having a lot of time outs for pushing, shoving, grabbing and hitting. Poor fella is probably overstimulated most hours of most days. But he is loved by many and I am truly blessed to watch the security and confidence that kind of love and support gives him.
One thing I love about such a large family is so many hands to help and eyes to watch! It feels like I don't even see Silas most of the day since he's busy running around and playing which leaves me to take care of Toby. This 3 month old of mine is becoming more and more of a sweet child. He seems to be getting better (?) with my dairy free living. I must have made some eating mistake just when we were flying because the first number of days he was very mucousy and coughing a lot. Now he seems to be a lot better and is sleeping well- even putting himself to sleep without us holding and rocking him for hours on end (woohoo!) Most of the time he is happily jumping in the jolly jumper, sitting in an exercauser and cooing somewhere on his back.
It's been a challenge being really careful with dairy but it's a lot easier since others here have diet restrictions too. I catch myself almost unconsciously sneaking bites of cheese when I'm slicing it for Silas' snack or licking a yogurt spoon but I am not missing it as much as I thought. Especially when I know that one lick or nibble could make Toby miserable for days. At least he is a happy mucousy baby! He has a huge coughing fit and then looks up at me and smiles =)
One downer however is I found out while here that my dear grandmother passed away. It wasn't a surprise but isn't death always, in some ways, a surprise? I wish I could have lived closer to her to help her through some of these hard last years. Her mind was in a fog, her emotions were all up and down, and her physical abilities gradually declined. In all of that I was busy far away going to school, getting married and having babies. That doesn't seem fair?! After all the influence she had on me as a young child and young believer, I hate that my life has had me so distracted and distanced from her that I didn't get as much time with her in the end as I wish I'd had. I am ever, ever thankful though that she is in glory with our Jesus. What a welcome she would have received! What a joy knowing I have all eternity with her to eat the sweets of heaven and run and laugh and chat with her.
After much tearful contemplation, some arduous calling and a miracle of God- I was able to change my flights to go to her memorial in Indiana. This does mean, however, that I'll be flying alone with an infant. I have a 7 hour layover in Toronto, many connecting flights and will only be there for a day, and I'm missing ministry commitments back at home but I'm praying that it all works out okay. I'm thankful I have this time to reconnect with family and pay tribute to a woman who although was imperfect like the rest of us, left a lasting legacy on my life and faith.
A few comments about Rolena June Jackson, my dear grandmother:
We played a lot of jacks together, I never understood how one so much
older could be so much faster and stronger than me!
Vent-pokes was a running, chasing, laughing matter and I often had bruises
to show for it! You were always so competitive but I loved it.
You taught me how to clean, how to pray, how to eat sweets [coffee nips, hersheys kisses,
cake, pies, you name it, you loved it] and love Jesus.
You were a faithful letter writer, package sender, and never forgot a birthday.
You sent me cassettes with songs and stories, brought special prizes in your red
duffel bag and sent me many shoulder-padded-shirts which mom and I always laughed about.
Your sweet scent is not forgotten from my memory and I always loved your laugh.
You were a spit fire, full of life and motion
You never missed a hair appointment and I always thought it funny how you taped down your sideburns and wore scarves. A silly memory really, but that was you. You were beautiful and poised.
You had great stories to tell and great wisdom to share
We had many great talks over slow poke suckers and sang a lot of songs together
I was told so often I am like you. I pray and hope that I am as vibrant, as thoughtful,
as encouraging, as prayerful, as energetic, and as loving as you were.
You were the one who told me "good things come in small packages" which gave
me confidence when I was teased about my height
I love that even though you were imperfect, just as I am, that you were still a
shining vessel of how God can use anyone for his glory.
You were loved, so much, and I cannot wait for your kisses and hugs on the streets of glory.
Praise Jesus for your influence on my life and praise Jesus that he released you from the prison of your failing flesh, clothed you in the finest heavenly form, and you are enjoying the spoils of heaven.
I cannot wait to spend eternity celebrating God's love with you Grandma.
You. Will. Be. Missed. Until. Then.
XoXoXo (how we always signed our letters)