Friday, July 29, 2011
Stop and Smell the Roses
This summer has flown by for our family. We have been so busy selling, moving and resettling in our temporary abode that the routine "fun things" have been put on hold. Sure there have been tennis, harp, dance and swimming lessons, but the spontaneous adventures that bring us so much joy have not been possible. So - with three weeks before school starts - I thought we'd start our "summer."
Yesterday, we piled seven children in our car - 5 girls and 2 boys - for our own little summer outing. We picked up lunch at McDonalds (not a place we frequent often) and headed up to Bennett's grave for a little picnic. Of the friends we brought, three of them did not know Bennett. In fact, they did not even know that we had a brother pass away. I thought this would be a good way to introduce them to our Sunshine Boy.
As we sat underneath the shady oak tree, we told stories of our sweet little brother. They asked questions and we answered them openly and comfortably. While I ate my salad and the kids chomped on their hamburgers and fries, we covered everything from his favorite games and foods to the events surrounding his death. During our conversation, they kept analyzing his pictures engraved on his headstone. I love those pictures. They remind all who see his memorial how REAL he is. That this is a REAL person whose loss is very poignant and significant to another.
"I have a two year old sister and I would be so sad if she died," one said.
That comment ushered in the perfect opportunity to talk about where we are as a family. How we too feel sad sometimes as we cope with the loss of our little boy.
As we tidied the area, we invited them to join us for our tradition of singing "You Are My Sunshine" before we leave. One of the children suggested we circle the grave while singing, ring-around-the-rosie style. So as our chorus of young voices - 7 children under the age of 9 - sang Bennett's precious anthem, we circled his grave, singing his song with our whole hearts.
As I looked at each one of their precious faces, my heart took a picture. I was so grateful for all our blessings. Grateful for a beautiful place to memorialize my son. Grateful that we can visit him so often. Grateful for wonderful little friends from choice families. And grateful for the tenderness and strength my own children exhibit. They are amazing human beings.
We finished our outing romping around the park. The playground, tennis courts, raquetball courts and fields all echoed the laughter and play of children. It was music to my ears! It. Was. Perfect.
And so today, I am grateful for perfect summer afternoons. Moments when time stands still and you just take it all in. Can you feel it when your soul experiences that? I can. I love it.
So make today a day to remember. Live with no regrets and make as many wonderful memories as you can. As James Barrie once said, "God gave us memories so we might have June roses in the December of our lives."
So stop and smell the roses.