When the Grandparents Came to Stay

My husband’s father and step-mother arrived yesterday from Las Vegas,Nevadato stay with us for five days in our home here on the East Coast. We only see them every two to four years. I’ve actually only spent time with them three or four times since we were married eight years ago. While the quarters will be a little tight (only one bathroom, they are sleeping in our room and we sleep on the floor of our daughter’s room), my daughter already seems excited to see them. But then again, my daughter is two and loves almost anyone who gives her attention. After only two hours she had already gotten them both to read to her. This is the second time she has seen them since she was born; last time she was only a month old. I find myself wondering how she will feel when they leave after five days. She gets attached to people quickly.

Having family members stay in your home can be stressful. Originally they wanted to sleep on the living room floor. While I don’t look forward to sleeping on the floor myself, having them in our room is  much easier logistically than in the living room. (Our downstairs living area is mostly one room with the only wall between the living room/dining room area and kitchen.) I am already missing my own personal space to recouperate at the end of the day. I can’t go to bed early and lose myself in a good book. But I recognize how sweet it is of them to come all this way just to see us and our daughter. I’m cautiously optimistic about the next few days, but I can tell my husband is a bit more wary. Fortunately our daughter helps to break the ice in almost any situation.

How have you dealt with visiting relatives? Do they stay in your home or get a hotel room?


Running the Race

This weekend I had the chance to watch my dad run his first ever marathon. He ran a half marathon last summer, but decided that this year he wanted to up the ante. That being said I think many of his friends and co-workers (and also my mother) had some reservations. My dad didn’t take up running until his late thirties or early forties, though he had been a long time cyclist. He also suffers from asthma and isn’t always careful about factoring this into his fitness goals. A few years ago he had to take a month off from running to heal a ligament strain in his knee. While he continues to be fit, he is also noticing pain in his knees, shins and hips as he ages. (That’s life over fifty). But I admired his tenacity. He followed a training schedule he found on the internet and talked to other runners. Over the summer he got up very early in the morning to run before it got too hot. Instead of his usual runs around the neighborhood he drove to areas with better running paths. It was a ton of work and very physically taxing.

The day of the race wasn’t too hot, but very humid. There were four exchange points where supporters gathered. (They were called exchange points because that was where the relay runners exchanged positions). We didn’t make it to the first exchange due to the early hour. My husband, daughter and I met my mother, sister and brother in law at exchange point #2, arriving just in time to see my dad run past. My brother-in-law even ran with him for a while to help encourage him and pace him. We drove to the next few exchange points, each time waiting and hoping he would be OK. I think we were all worried he would have a cramp or injury and give up. But he kept plugging. At the final exchange point my daughter and I walked and ran with him for a few paces. He was tired, his shins and knees hurt and he was fairly certain one of his feet were bleeding. But we kept cheering him on.

My dad didn’t play sports growing up. He’s generally doesn’t enjoy organized sports. In fact he joked that by entering a marathon he had accidentally joined an organized sport. As we waited at the finish line the excitement built. When we finally saw him coming down the street there was a rush of adrenaline. I almost wished I could run with him. He finished in less than five hours. Not a world record, but significant for a man running his first marathon at age 54. Initially I think he was just glad that it was over, but eventually I hope he’ll see how amazing this is.

We all have goals for our lives. Many of those goals involve training and discipline. I will probably never run a marathon but I want to finish my first novel and develop a daily writing habit. Finishing the race is a huge moment. I wasn’t quite sure why I was so excited until I realized that I’ve rarely been a part of a major accomplishment in my father’s life. I was there when he got his Master’s degree, but I was so small I barely remember it. I did get to be there when he installed as associate pastor of a church. But this was different. I watched him train, I saw him struggle. I remember him wanting to give up and I was there when he crossed the finish line.

As we run our races in life, we aren’t alone. Those who love and support us are running along side us, pacing us, cheering from the sidelines and celebrating our victories. As a Christian, I think a lot about my spiritual life as a race. I love Hebrews 12:1.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Next time you want to give up remember all the supporters you have cheering you on, both seen and unseen.

It’s Official: Baby #2 is Well on the Way

After twelve anxious weeks of waiting, I am pleased to announce that we are expecting our second child. As some of your will remember, this is my third pregnancy, as I had a miscarriage back in March.  While still somewhat nervous and apprehensive, my husband and I are also excited about the prospect of finally expanding our family. As things currently stand, the baby should arrive in early March. We’ve already had an ultrasound that showed normal growth and a beating heart. I had forgotten how hard the first trimester can be. The nausea and exhaustion have been worse than I experienced in either of my previous pregnancies. I’ve been lucky if I manage to get through the day without vomiting, let alone cooking meals (or writing blog posts). I’m hopeful that the second trimester will lead to more energy. In the meantime I’m going to have to get used to thinking of us as a soon-to-be family of four.