Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Girls' Day Out

The girls are studying Tchaikovsky this year in music, and for the past nine weeks, we have listened to various pieces from The Nutcracker.  They fell in love with the story and enjoyed listening to the music during lunch, so taking them to see a live performance was pretty high up there on my list of things to do in December.  I was delighted to learn that the Beaumont Civic Ballet put on a performance, which meant I wouldn't have to deal with Houston traffic!  Score!!  Plus I ordered our tickets early enough that I was able to get us front row seats!  (This ended up being great for the eyes, but the ears may have paid a small price for it since there are speakers along the edge of the stage at the Julie Rogers Theater.)

The girls and I decided it would be fun to invite the grandmas to join us for a Girls' Day Out.  I'm not a "girlie" girl by any stretch of the imagination, but I did think it would be fun to eat lunch at a tea room, then head to the ballet.  It turns out that none of the tea rooms in our area are open on Saturday, though, so we all agreed on Olive Garden instead.

Before we left, the girls each gave one of their grandmothers a nutcracker ornament to hang on their tree so they would always remember our special day.

Here are the girls and the grandmas.  Meemaw is holding her Nutcracker ornament.

Here we are, all dressed up and ready to go!
 I didn't know what the quality of the performance would be like since we stayed in Beaumont rather than heading to Houston, but it was truly wonderful!  Millie got excited when she recognized the Mouse King, and at one point I looked a few seats down to see Hannah's face, and she was literally on the edge of her seat, beaming with excitement.  My heart soared!

I thought the performance was spectacular, as did the girls, but it brought a smile to face when I opened the mailbox yesterday and found these two thank-yous waiting inside.

I definitely think this whole experience was a Christmas tradition in the making!

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Not a Goodbye—It's Just a See You Later!

Today was such a bittersweet day.  I had a church work day last Saturday, and when I got home, my mom had left a message asking me to call her back because she had some very sad news.  I knew what it was before I ever returned her call.  Grandpa had died.  And today was his memorial service.

It's hard to explain how I felt when I found out he had passed away.  There was a part of me that was excited to imagine all that he might be seeing and hearing and feeling as he left this life behind to experience God in a whole new way.  And I was also relieved that he wasn't suffering anymore.  I had just been up to see him two weeks before, and he looked like he was barely hanging on.  His breathing was labored, and he slept through most of the visit.
But there's another side of me that was just sad.  Sad that I didn't go visit more often.  Sad that I didn't listen a little harder and ask a few more questions.  Sad that my mom and dad lost their last living parent.  Sad that my kids lost the only great-grandparent they ever knew.  But at the same time, I'm comforted by so many wonderful childhood memories, some of which I think of often and others which I had forgotten until I heard my brother share them at the memorial service today. 

Memories like our weekend fishing trips at Old Gulf when I was a kid and at the cabin when I was a teenager.  Old Gulf was always fun because I got to drive his light blue and white Chevrolet pick-up truck, and we would have a huge crab boil before we went home on Sunday.  Memories like all the outings he took David and me on.  We went to the Imperial Sugar refinery, to Texas Gulf, to the park in Rosenberg with a rocket jungle gym and a spiral slide.  He would just watch patiently for a couple of hours while we played.    Memories like how he would swish my bath water for me to get out all the cold spots when I went to stay with them for a few days every summer.  Memories like the prayers I heard him say before Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner throughout my entire childhood and part of my adulthood, as well.  Memories like how I honestly thought my Grandpa was the smartest man in the world and there was nothing he didn't know!  And precious, treasured memories of how he would interact with others.  My grandpa was truly a gentleman.  He was well-mannered at all times, he was never one to gossip, and he was always very gracious in his speech.

If I can't have Grandpa forever, then I'll take all the memories I can.  And I'll cherish every one.