What Surprised Me About Last Week

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

Last week’s post, Don’t Throw Me a Pity Party, generated a number of comments on this blog as well as on my social media sites. I appreciate everyone who commented and shared. I’m amazed at how many of you are dealing or have dealt with a family member trapped in addiction. I find the prevalence of this problem disconcerting. Yes, it’s comforting to know who understands firsthand, but I’m still concerned over the number of people affected. Please remember, you don’t know what someone else is dealing with so be kind and try not to judge them.

The surprising part of last week’s post was the volume of responses that focused on our daughter’s addiction rather than our current situation. Yet, most of the sympathy statements I receive relate to our raising grandchildren. Yes, it’s due to our daughter’s addiction, but that’s not what I hear about from most people. As I told one person on Facebook, I believe people focus on what they see—grandparents in a tough spot—and not the issue of what put them there. Maybe I’m wrong. It doesn’t really matter because the two issues go hand in hand.

Early in my writing career, I discovered that individual interpretation of what I write will vary from person to person. Sometimes, the insight surprises me. I don’t think that’s bad. When we read, we filter the information through our own perception, our own world. I’m glad my words resonated with so many people! Thank you for reading and sharing.

Next week, I plan to give you more insight into what grandparents in our situation often feel. So, get ready for some assistance on how to be empathetic with grand-parents.

 

PS:  You may have noticed I’ve been using the term “grand-parenting” in my posts. I made this term up because I believe it’s the best way to describe what we’re doing as we raise our grandchildren.

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Abounding Grace

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor. 9:8

A few years ago, I wrote the following post for an event in my church. The theme of the event was Overflowing, and the coordinator asked me to write about overflowing grace. A lot has happened since this post, but God’s grace still abounds.

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Let’s jump back to the first half of last year (2015). After a lifetime focused on various family issues, life was going well. I was on track with my goals and had time to devote to them. Bruce and I were enjoying, thoroughly, the empty nest life.

What could go wrong?

In early August, we realized our second child’s life was falling apart, mostly through her own doing. I tried to help long distance, but things got worse. Then she disappeared, with my grandchildren. I spent frantic days praying and searching. The police refused to issue a missing persons report stating the children were not in danger while they were with their mother. I knew differently. She was not stable.

Thankfully, after a week my daughter resurfaced and asked us to take the children.

OK. Not what we planned. Having already raised five children, we didn’t expect to raise our grandchildren. Spoil them? Sure. Just not raise them.

Victoria and Amari arrived with nothing. We struggled to find room for them in our down-sized home. Before their arrival, finances were not an issue, now, our wallets hemorrhaged money—clothes, shoes, school supplies, daycare, groceries, and medical care. How could we manage this so close to our retirement?

But God is true in His promises. We needed furniture, and a local store offered us an incredible deal due to the sacrifice we were making for our grandchildren. Acquaintances donated clothes. Medical personnel helped me navigate the legalities of medical care without court-ordered custody. A Facebook friend, who is also a lawyer, gave me legal advice for free. Old friends in the same situation surfaced and offered their support. People stepped up and helped where they could. Most importantly, prayers overflowed in our direction.

The right thing is rarely the easy thing. Paul tells us that in all things and at all times He will provide. A four year old and eight year old take a lot of work, especially at our age! We’re exhausted, but I know our grandchildren’s welfare is more important than anything else we could be doing. We may not have a surplus now, but we have what we need and so do our grandchildren.

We are the living proof of His abounding grace.

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So here we are two-and-a-half years later. Victoria is eleven and Amari is six. We’ve adapted. Do I wish for things to be different? Sure. Who wouldn’t prefer their child walking the straight and narrow path? But if wishes were … well you get the idea.

A lot has changed in our lives. I’ve met amazing people who I’d never know if this hadn’t happened. I’m more tuned into the culture of today, too, which pays off in my career. We are still the living proof of his abounding grace.

Honoring Our Veterans

My Dad

Tomorrow, November 11, is Veteran’s Day. Since it falls the day before my birthday, I’ve never forgotten this holiday. Kids tend to notice when they don’t get their birthday cards on the birthday thanks to a holiday they don’t understand.

Of course, now I understand the importance of this day and urge you to honor our veterans. Below is my traditional post honoring my father’s service.

Blessed Legs

I thought all men’s legs looked like that—harsh crevices outlining the muscles, puckering around the edges. Long gashes ran down his thighs, the shape of a huge eye to my youthful imagination.

I stared at them, not because they were unusual, but because they were at eye level.

Dad stood at the bathroom sink every morning, the scrape, scrape of his razor rasping away his overnight beard growth. Water trickled in the sink, swishing when he rinsed.

I sat on the floor or on the cool edge of the tub and watched the foamy white cream disappear behind each stroke.

His legs were not my focus, but children see what’s at eye level, soaking it in. I saw Dad’s legs.

I accepted those legs as sculpted and muscular. Not the ravaged remains of skin grafts after a bomb in France blew up beside a young soldier. War warranted a brief mention in my childhood years, the reason behind Dad’s missing finger. I imagined his finger shot off while he peered over the edge of a dirt embankment. I was much older before I learned the truth. That my father, six months into his stint in the war, experienced the unfortunate luck of a bomb exploding next to him as he escorted prisoners to their holding place. I can still see the look of wonder on his face when he told me that those same German prisoners carried him to safety after the explosion.

Dad was nineteen. He spent the rest of his life missing a finger, living with tinnitus, carrying shrapnel around in his shoulders, and standing on the most beautiful legs I ever knew a man to have.

Later, when I noticed other men’s legs, I knew the difference. I realized the beauty of the surgeon’s renderings saved my father’s life, grafting skin where he needed it most.

To me his legs represented normal, and with my growing awareness of their true meaning, beautiful. I don’t know if Dad ever realized how I saw his legs, but the daughter in me hopes that somehow he felt my innocent acceptance as a blessing.

Today, please take a moment to acknowledge our veterans and those who gave everything in service to our country.

This post originally appeared in print in The Petigru Review, Vol. 7. Editor Tibby Plants.
South Carolina Writers’ Workshop, 2013, 125-126.
It, also, won an Honorable Mention in the
80th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.