Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Montana Nana

Big changes are coming to my house.  My sweet Mama has moved to Oregon.

I have to tell you how it all happened because God's Hand in it has been so clear, so evident, that at times I've been dumbfounded at the simplicity with which it has fallen into place.

Of course my Mom never would have left Montana while Grama was still alive.  The reasons are so obvious I'm not even going to waste the time of typing them.  Grama died at the end of August and by January Mom was already starting to toss the idea of moving out to be with us.  She began praying about it and by the time she flew out here for Roo's birthday in February she was convinced God was giving her the ok.  All the little signs were amazing; it was truly an honor to watch God speak to mom through other people.

Once she was out here for Roo's birthday she felt total confirmation to put her house up for sale.  She went home and began packing her  house, she felt she was in "show condition" and actually put the house on the market on March 21, 2012--it sold on April 12, 2012.  Astonishing.  Especially in this market, this economy, for a little bitty house on the edge of Park City, Montana.  Astonishing.

31 days later Hot Jeff and Mom left Montana in a big-ass moving van with her SUV on a trailer behind it.

I haven't done any official research or polling but I'm pretty sure that is some sort of record when it comes to deciding to sell, time on the market, and moving time.  I'm pretty sure my Mom is going into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Hot Jeff suggested my Mom live with us for an indefinite amount of time giving her time to enjoy, adjust and rest.  She has the luxury of having no debt and huge nest egg from the sale of her house so she literally just gets to hang out with her grandkids.  I can't even put into words how excited I am to do all the things with my Mom that I haven't gotten to do the last 14 years.  Essentially I haven't lived near her as an adult.  I mean, yes, I was 21 when I moved and I had been living with her but I was in college and seriously...how incredibly young does 21 sound now that I'm 35.  I bet someday 35 will seem like childhood to me too also.

I'm excited for Saturday markets, Sunday dinners, etc...all these fun traditions that my friends have with their Mamas who live nearby.

Who I'm really excited for though: my babies.  My Mom is one of those grandmothers who thinks my kids are the greatest 2 people on the planet.  If she didn't love Jesus so much she'd make Samily her own little religion.  I'm excited that my kids are going to have a grandparent who loves to have them over for slumber parties, to take them bowling and to the movies.  I'm excited for them to have a grandparent like I did.  I can only hope that my kids will have a relationship with their Nana as I did with Gigi.

I'm sure having Mom live with us will have its ups and downs.  You can't add a new person to your house and daily routines without a fair amount of adjustments, some hard and some easy.  Fortunately, we all love each other and are good communicators but we're also pretty good and  not sweating the small stuff.  It hasn't been lost on me how blessed beyond measure I am that my husband adores my Mom and vice-versa.  It really is quite amazing how well they get a long and enjoy each other.

One thing I know I'll need to keep in check is my need for everyone to be happy, to get along, to not be frustrated with each other.  I'm a people pleaser and I long for peace and accord at any cost.  I know I will have to give Mom and Jeff or Mom and the kids or Mom and me the freedom to get annoyed and go sulk in a bedroom.  I will have to remind myself this isn't an indication that Jeff hates my Mom or that my Mom regrets moving here.  These things are normal within my family of 4, they will certainly be normal in my family of 5.  There is so much freedom in Christ; because He allows me to be who I am I can allow those I love and live with the freedom to be who they are without regret, condemnation or me trying to "fix" things.

I'm sure some real Come-To-Jesus family meetings will have to take place but I'm confident He is in this and He is good (thank you Pastor John).

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What Might Have Been

Just when I have myself convinced I really don't mind not having a relationship with my Father of origin something like this weekend happens.  Just when I have everyone I know convinced I really don't mind not having a relationship with my Father of origin I go and blog about it.

First of all I have to back up...my Mom is moving to Oregon from Montana.  I can't believe I haven't blogged about that yet.  Most of you follow me on Facebook so you already know that but yes, wow, my Mama and I are finally going to be back together.  "Reunited and feels so good."

With that said, she's going to be living with us for an indefinite amount of time.  We have a big bonus room, 300 square feet big.  Just a marvelous, square room that we've used as storage and computer room (before children) and a romper/play room (after children).  Up until a week ago the bonus room consisted of one couch, one chair, one play kitchen, one play workbench, 2 activity desks, 1 mini table, a tv on a stand, a bookshelf, a toy box, a dress up box and a toy cubby shelf.  Then Mia swept in like an organizing angel and helped me empty it so that our friend Ryan could build a closet in there and finish up some trim work.

The room has been relatively finished for about 3 years but the window, door and floor needed trim work done.  Easy enough to do but as you know already, Hot Jeff doesn't dig wood/house/DIY yourself projects.  Hence, we just used the room in a slightly unfinished state.  The other thing you should know about the bonus room is that when we moved into the house in January of 2004 it was down to the studs.  It has taken us forever to finish that room and we have done it in stages as time and money and energy has allowed.

I swear this is getting to my Father.

When a person has the skills and tools to dry wall and frame and finish a room it really is no big deal.  Materials are relatively inexpensive--its the labor that is costly.  We're fortunate to have a talented crop of friends who have pitched in their time, talent and tools and the room is done, beautiful and going to be a great space for my Mom to "get away" from the craziness that is our home.

Here's where it all comes together.

My Father is a very, very talented carpenter.  He has made beautiful things.  He once promised to make Samuel a toy box with burned artwork on it (because he is also an incredible artist.) but alas, surprise, surprise, he never delivered on that promise.

During the different stages of working on the bonus room (just shy of a decade) I've often thought how in a normal, functioning father-daughter relationship a dad would love to come over and help his daughter with a room.  I have this idyllic picture of my Dad up there working with Jeff while I feed them good food and lemonade.  I picture him teaching Samuel how to use a drill and laughing at Emily's head lamp.

Instead of having us be bound to someone else's generosity my Dad would jump at the chance to hang out with all of us.

That's not how it is.  I haven't spoken to my Father in over 2 years.  After giving him "one more chance" he lied to me for the last time and for my mental health, sanity and sake of my children I asked him to never contact me again.  He has obliged.  Not a surprise that he didn't fight for the right to stay in our lives but that's a whole other blog post.

I think when it comes to John, my father, he doesn't know how to love.  Or maybe he loves the best he knows how.  My cousin Kristi told me that's how she thought of her own Dad and their relationship.  My Uncle had the same upbringing as my Mama; an alcoholic father who left them and then was killed in a car accident.  He never had much of a chance to learn the gentle nuances of fatherhood because he himself had a father who didn't know how to love or only could love the best way he knew how.  I suppose there are countless books and blog posts dedicated to the sins of the fathers and cyclical familial dysfunction so I won't delve into it now but to say that something happened with John that made him incapable of loving his daughter the way she needed to be loved.

I simply will go back to the rhetorical question of what kind of Daddy doesn't help his daughter finish her bonus room?  Its such a silly thing but it represents so much more doesn't it?  I guess the answer that I know in my head but it hasn't (and maybe never will) made it to my head yet is the kind of Daddy who doesn't know how.

I have found a lot of freedom in that answer.  When I'm feeling guility for finally putting a stop to the cycle of lies, broken promises and 2nd chances and feeling like I should continue to give "one more chance" I remember that no many how chances I give John he doesn't know how to love me.  John doesn't know how to be a father let alone a Daddy.  So I take a deep breath, put down my phone and remember that I DO NOT have to put my children in that same never-ending cycle.  Samuel and Emily will have enough disappointment in their lives; if I can protect them, I should.  If I should protect myself, I should.  At some point I had to relinquish the lie that John is my responsibility.  He's not. 

I'll probably always play "what might have been" games in my head and heart until the day I meet Jesus face to face and He holds me on His lap and cradles me in His arms and tells me "Daddy's here.  Daddy's here."