One Step Forward, One Step Back, and a Little Shuffle to the Side

I’ve been wondering lately why my mind won’t remember the 13 1/2 wonderful years that I had with my amazing husband.  Why is it that my mind is obsessed with that last year, the year when I was forced to watch him slowly decline into a shell of the man that he’d once been.  The ironic cruelty that he, of all people, would get brain cancer.  Why can I not remember the happier years instead?

Yesterday afternoon Noah & I were in Mt. Pleasant, running errands.  When we were done we hung around to have dinner with Wade & Katie, my second oldest (by one day 🙂 and his fiance.  The wedding is in June!

Mt. Pleasant is where we lived for the first year and a half of our marriage.  There was a lot of turmoil in those first months of our marriage.  Eight months after we were married, Larry’s first wife died very unexpectedly of pnuemococcal pneumonia.  She dropped the boys off for New Year’s Eve Weekend and never came back.  Blending a new family with a cloud of grief and fear was not easy, but in the end we managed to do it.  Even with all of that, while driving the familiar streets of Mt. Pleasant, those memories came flooding back, and with them came a glow of  warmth and longing.  Suddenly that oddly designed little house in the rural subdivision, that had never been quite big enough for all five of us, seemed like the most perfect place in the world.

How I wish there were a car that could go “back to the future” to fix what’s gone wrong.  I would love to be back in that kitchen again, where Larry first started taking over dinner when he would come home from work.  At first I thought he didn’t like my cooking, but then I realized that cooking helped him to relax and unwind after a stressful day at work.  He never used a recipe and sometimes it wasn’t quite edible, but he loved to cook … and I don’t.  I can cook, quite well when I want to, I just don’t like to cook.  Perfect match.

I’d forgotten about the dishwasher too.  The one that Larry thought was broken, because he didn’t know how to run it.  My brilliant corrosion engineer husband… I loved it.  I showed him how it worked and he decided that we were going to use it that night, because neither of us enjoyed washing dishes too well.  We didn’t have any dishwasher detergent, so Larry put dish soap in the both cups in the dishwasher.  We laughed so hard as the kitchen proceeded to flood with millions and billions of tiny soap bubbles.  There was no way to stop them, they just kept coming out of the dishwasher.  It was like something out of a Steve Martin movie… maybe for the next Cheaper by the Dozen.  Or I could write my own sit-com?

And then there was Lady… our little white Spitz/Chihuahua puppy.  Not sure what you’d call that…Chitz?…Spichi?…yeah, nothing works there.  Picture a white Chihuahua body with freakishly long legs and bat-like large ears.  That was Lady.   She started out so tiny and guaranteed not to shed; Spitz don’t shed.  Chihuahua’s shed.  Lady shed, 24/7/365.    Lady got carsick from they day I brought her home and everyday after that when we attempted to take her anywhere in the car.  Lady’s first act of adapting to her new home was to walk over to the heat vent and take a dump, on it!  Good thing she was so cute!  That little Lady brought so much healing to our family.  She could jump vertically and land in Larry’s arms.  When you told her it was time to go to bed, she would hide her head behind a pillow so you couldn’t see her.   And her favorite thing was napping with her daddy!

The boys were younger then than Noah is now.  I can barely remember them being that young, except for Scott.  I spent more time with Scott because he wasn’t in school yet.  Drew was already so grown up when I met him, he’d taken over being the man of the house for his mama.  I’d missed most of Wade’s little years because I’d had to work.  I remember pulling over to the side of the road by a farm once with Scott, so we could watch the miracle of a calf being born and the calf’s first wobbly steps.  I worked with Scott on how to spell his name one day,  going to pick his brothers up from school.  The next thing I knew he’d taught himself to read, and he was only 4!

As crazy as those first years were… I’d go back in a heartbeat if I could.  But that is not possible.  Nor is it part of God’s plan.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Praying for the day when the future glows as brightly as the past.  Good Grief!

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