Notes from Jan

Better Than Planned

October 14, 2015

No grand alarm clocks this morning.  Maggie and Kate returned home with their parents last night after having stayed the BETTER part of a week with me.   Last Wednesday they arrived with suitcases, stuffed animals, favorite books and enough energy to provide daily workouts better than my usual at the BMW. They were so excited to be coming for more than a night or two.  I stared at the week ahead more like they were coming for a sleepover and over and over, followed by, “Lord, have mercy.”

It’s been anything but a quiet week but sometimes quiet’s overrated.   It was my idea to care for the girls so Chad and Kristina could fly to California to help celebrate Matt’s birthday, a good idea, not be be skewed by personal fatigue.  Grandmother-joy kept me going and the prayers of the net. I know how fast it all goes.  All too soon they’ve pierced their ears or naval and your heart as they’ve whirled around and turned into a grown-up.

No school yesterday for Maggie so we went shopping for boots and a few things she needed, then lunched at Panera.  I must’ve looked seriously tired to Maggie.  As we trudged to the car, Maggie suddenly said,  “Stay alive, Momo.”  Had her parents warned her to be on the alert should I keel over? Was I teetering on the edge?  She repeated it several times, like marching orders.  I wondered what onlookers thought as this child with a voice that could shatter glass, held my hand, urging me on with her 911 code for survival. “Stay alive,Momo.”

I miss those two grands.  They help keep my selfish bent at bay.  Simple rituals of life together wrapped each day in something better than I could’ve planned.  Some nights we ate by candlelight like special company, which we are to each other, except when I try to teach  and preach more than simply enjoy?  Like the night Kate flipped tapioca pudding all over herself and the then-known world.  Where is a muzzle when I need one?! We are an odd threesome, aged 4, 8 and 75, sitting at table,  nourished by more than food.

Last night after they’d gone and  supper dishes cleaned up, I slumped into the nearest chair and said,”Well, Jesus and Jud, we made it.  They’re heading home with suitcases filled with clean clothes, full stomachs and not too many reminders that their grandmother is way too human.  Thank you for protecting them from my worst self and me from theirs.  I’m thankful to still be alive, especially after Maggie reminded me and any within hearing range how near to the edge I teetered.”

This morning I’m reminded of the story in Luke 9.  The story begins with Jesus giving the twelve disciples “power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases …and to preach.” They’re good to go,  but just so far.  After returning from their healing and preaching tour, they find feeding folks too challenging.  Somewhere between their sojourn into unfamiliar territory armed only with God’s power and authority and the more familiar turf of mealtime and hungry folks, they’re left  feeling powerless.  They whimper helplessly, “We have only…” So Jesus took their “only” and fed five thousand plus.  Jesus, the Christ,  multiplied the mundane stuff of life  into a miraculous picnic, leaving twelve disciples  wide-eyed beholders of thousands of happy campers and they, each man a  stunned holder of a basket full of leftovers.

And so it goes for me, the ongoing challenge to carry Sunday into Monday, to believe that “power and authority” from God means help for the days when I’m  caring for two grands or when attending to all the ordinary challenges inherent in any given day.  And they are given days,  each day a gift  given from the God who seems to love to take our “only” and provide a picnic in the wilderness in which we  sometimes find ourselves and those we love.  Nothing fancy, just the basics  so at days end we’re left wide-eyed holders of  a basketful of leftovers and a heart full of gratitude to still be alive to receive such lavish provision.





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  • Reply Wendy Lane October 14, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Oh how easy it is to forget ALL that God has done for me! So thankful for His patience, mercy, grace, etc! Thankful for you dear Jan!
    PS I’m taking notes on “being a grandmother” 🙂 No grandkids on the way yet, but want to be ready! 🙂

  • Reply susan October 14, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    OK, I’m seriously jealous now (a sin!). How I look forward to the day when our girls can spend a week with us, too. I know it will wear us out, but what a blessing. You are such a wonderful grandmother, and how wonderful that Kristina and Chad could have such a long getaway. Thank you from the other (jealous) grandmother (well, envious, less bad) xoxo

  • Reply Jim Trent October 14, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Each day is indeed a gift. Thank you.

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