Do you ever have so much going through your head that you just don’t know where to start or what to think about first? That is me right now. I go from pure fear to complete and unhindered joy in a matter of milliseconds. This has been going on since Christmas. One moment I am frozen in fear and the next my heart soars beyond your wildest imagination.
Let me go back a bit. My son, Jeremy, is a pretty awesome young man and so are his friends. Most of his friends call me “mom,” something I feel is a true blessing in my life. I cherish each and every one of them. They light up my world on a regular basis and the blessings they bestow on me are more than I can ever give back.
However, Jeremy is not my only son. I have three older sons from my first marriage. The story isn’t pretty, actually it is pretty ugly from my point of view but it is done and I can’t go back and change all that has happened. The pain surrounding all of this is horrendous. We have survived. Not without scars and pain but nonetheless we have survived.
I did not receive the blessing of raising my three oldest sons. In fact, for the most part they are not an integral part of my life. I have prayed every day that “someday” these relationships will be healed and we can build strong, healthy relationships. I have held onto that thought for many years, even when believing and hoping for it caused extreme pain. They are all men now, with families of their own. There has never been a day that they were not in my thoughts. There has never been a day that I did not hold them tightly in my heart. There has never been a day that I did not love them and want them in my life. There have been days of utter despair. There have been holidays that I would just rather forget exist because they were not a part of my life. Yet, I kept putting one foot in front of the other, holding onto hope.
My son, Jeremy, has known about his brothers every day of his life. He has lived with a mother who faces her pain daily. He has seen the hurt and yet he has also felt the love. I am sure in some ways he has also had to deal with his own pain regarding this whole situation because he knows he has three brothers and yet they are not a part of his life. He lives as an only child. I believe in many ways this is why his friends are so very important to him. They give him that sense of belonging that he doesn’t have with his own siblings.
I am not telling you all of this for sympathy. It is to explain where the fear and joy come from that I spoke of earlier. If you don’t have a bit of background you can’t truly understand the magnitude of what is happening this week.
From my three oldest sons I have 7 grandchildren. Out of those 7 grandchildren I have met 2. I have been gifted a beautiful relationship with my two granddaughters and their mother. This is something that I cherish more than words can possibly describe. They have been a bright shining light in my life now for close to eight years. They live in Minnesota so I do not get to see them often enough but I value every single moment I get to spend with them, talk to them or even see their beautiful faces in pictures.
My second son lives in Florida. He has my first born grandchild (my grandson) and a daughter. His wife is a friend on my facebook so I have gotten to watch them grow up through the pictures she posts. I have never met them. My grandson will be 11 next month. I have been told that he was born on my birthday, how awesome is that?
I have sporadic interaction with my second son. There will be times when all of a sudden I get a phone call telling me he is in California and let’s have dinner. There are times I will get a text just to check in. When my husband died he was the only one to pick the phone up and tell me how sorry he was. He had met my husband a couple of times and they truly liked each other.
Let me be very clear here, I am thankful for every single moment I have communication with him in any form! I adore him. He is my son. I love him more than words can say. I am thankful and am blessed whenever he chooses to be in my world. It is something I long for more of but am happy just to know that there is a line of communication, any communication.
Back to the pictures my daughter in law posts. Several months back she posted pictures of my grandson playing hockey. Just about anyone who knows me knows that my all time favorite sport is hockey. If you didn’t know that you do now. I love it! My favorite team is the L.A. Kings but I will watch any hockey, any time and be happy. I just love it. Anyway, the pictures of my grandson playing hockey made me stop in my tracks. I looked at Jeremy and said “look at your nephew!”
I told him how sad it made me that my grandson was playing my favorite game and I would never get to see it happen. I actually stood there and cried for a moment. I work hard to acknowledge the pains of life, feel them and then let them go. Sometimes it is easier than others. In this instance I just carried a dream for a few moments and then decided it would probably never happen so I didn’t need to focus on what I couldn’t have, instead I chose to love the pictures and the little boy in them.
Several months later I was facing my least favorite holiday, Christmas. With the history above I am sure you can kind of understand why Christmas is my least favorite holiday and this year was going to be harder than usual because it was going to be the first one without my husband. Another difficult hurdle to get over. I just wasn’t looking forward to it. I kept looking for anything I could be thankful for just to get me through. I was thankful that I was going to get to spend the day with mom and brother as well as a couple of my nephews and of course with my son. They were going to get me through and I was going to find a way to smile.
I didn’t really need to stress over it. Several things happened this holiday that have literally and figuratively changed the course of my life. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention again the lost love that I found a day or two before Christmas. He brought hope, dreams and made me feel great even if it wasn’t what it seemed it would be at the time.
More importantly, the most amazing thing happened this Christmas. Jeremy apparently paid great attention to my words about my grandson playing hockey. Come Christmas eve he was driving me crazy to open my gift. I refused. I would wait until Christmas morning. I did. He woke me up early. Handed me my gift and told me to open it.
When I opened it there was a card. In the card were all of my son’s friends names that call me “mom” as well as my son’s name. Inside the card there was a round trip ticket to Florida. I didn’t understand. I asked Jeremy “What’s in Florida?” I will never forget his words “You are going to watch your grandson play hockey.” To say that I was overwhelmed is the understatement of the century. I just couldn’t imagine that this was really going to happen. I had longed and wished for it so many times but I never dreamed it would happen. All I could do was sit and cry.
All of these young men and women had pitched in to make this happen. Jeremy had called his brother to find out if it was alright and he said YES! There are so many beautiful things in this that finding the words to them is overwhelming. It still makes me cry. The absolute unhindered, selfless love that went into all of this just fills me from head to toe in ways that I just can’t describe.
The last few months Jeremy has asked me several times if I am excited. I just keep trying to digest it all, seriously. Well here we are. In 3 days I will be getting on an airplane (first time in about 16 years) and flying to Florida. I will get off of that plane and get to meet my grandson and granddaughter for the first time. I will also get to watch my grandson play hockey.
So back to the beginning, on the one hand this brings me a deep, all encompassing fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being human. Yet in a millisecond that complete fear turns into complete and unhindered joy! My heart soars with hope of what could be, what it will feel like to hug my son, daughter in law and my beautiful grandchildren. Pure joy sings loudly when I think of getting to spend several days with them. Fear and joy are two extremes that seem to be a large part of my life lately, yet somehow, the joy continues to win. Somehow this journey we call life is both bittersweet and sweet at the same time. Joy, it is something we all need to get more comfortable with feeling and let it overcome the fears we face in our human lives. Joy is what Spirit brings when we allow the love to flow through us. I choose joy.