This is a big weekend in the Hobbs House. It always has been really. You see this Saturday is my Father-in-law’s birthday and Monday is my Mom’s. For years we have celebrated our alternate parent’s lives back to back. It can be a bit hectic and time consuming celebrating so much life in one fail swoop. For years we did a lot of driving and eating the last weekend of February.
But things have changed, for now my Father-in-law is gone. He died a few years back after battling cancer at 85. We still celebrate his birthday in some way with his widow, my mother-in-law. In many ways it is not just an acknowledgement of his life and the impact it had on us all, but a recognition of hers as well. It was awfully hard on her to lose her husband of 59 years in her late seventies. We worried about her a lot those first couple of years. Would she bounce back? Would she find life again? To some extent when we celebrate my Father-in-law’s birthday with her, we are also celebrating the fact that we still have her in our lives. Even at 82 she presses on and lives a vibrant life. She is a gift to her community and our family. We are just so grateful she is still with us not only to share memories of him, but to make new memories as well.
And then there is my Mom. When you lose one family member, it doesn’t take much math skill to realize you are going to lose the rest of them sooner than you wish. Each birthday we celebrate becomes more and more precious. Even though my Dad is 82 and my Mom is seventy something, I mean 49, I mean I’d better stop talking about her age or I’ll get in trouble, they are still active. They are involved with their church and community and friends. They are a vital part of our family’s life watching over our kids when we get busy or sick and lending a hand in any way that is needed. But more and more our conversations focus on their friends and age mates who are sick and dying. Even though I am just in my early 40s, since I was a later in life surprise to them I realize I am lucky to have had them in my life as long as I have.
So that is what they don’t tell you about getting older. That you will move from squabbling with your parents and having them on your nerves half the time for giving you such much advice to praying to God for one more year with them. One more year to hear their words of wisdom and having the blessing of their presence in your family.
As I looked through the card aisle today I realized they just don’t make cards that express that adequately. Yeah, there are gratitude cards and “I love you” cards, but there is no “I’m just so grateful to have had one more year with you in my life card.”
So, I decided to make my own.
For our parents, even though we still sometimes squabble, get on each other’s nerves and disagree:
So, if you are lucky enough to still have your parents, even if it is not their birthday, feel free to share a little love with them this weekend. You can even steal this graphic off my Facebook or Pinterest or just forward this post. Love and Gratitude are meant to be shared. Take the time to offer it while you are able.