Sunday, March 10, 2013

Changes


March 10, 2013

I might have to move. Again. I’ve accepted that.

Yesterday, my family asked me why we are not considering overseas opportunities.
Because I’m selfish, that’s why. OK? I like my comfortable living space, driving to stores and putting purchases in the trunk, reading signs in town, and having steady electricity in my home.
Since November, I’ve been helping my husband look for work anywhere. Well, anywhere INSIDE the USA. Maybe the Caribbean, if need be. Alaska and Hawaii are OK with me. And so far, we have had very little in the way of success at finding that next job. He has had a few phone interviews, but the follow-up has been the letter of “we chose to go another direction.”
So yesterday, they asked me. Selfishness isn’t really a good answer to the question. Because my family is all on the west coast of the USA, I say. Yes, and how often do we see them? Truthfully, about once every two years. And I slowly realize, I have no reason at all to tell God I won’t go overseas again. It’s not comfortable. It’s downright wrenching. And then I let go.
Well, mostly let go. I enter the favored website and put in all our combined qualifications, and then I carefully select two opportunities I might like. One is in the Caribbean. I go on with my Saturday, feeling much better. And praying for a job in Puyallup or Uhio. Or the Bahamas.
Bahamas
Sunday morning, I check our email. That should be safe on a Sunday. And there is an inquiry from a school in Bangladesh, a request that we apply. That is by no means a done deal. I’m not packing. But my heart is challenged today, to consider it, seriously and prayerfully consider moving back to an inner city, with its poverty and the amazing opportunities to share hope and joy in a dark world that knows it is dark.

Bangladesh

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Every grandmother thinks her grandbabies are the smartest. But mine actually are. Olivia is absolutely remarkable, even though we are a whole country apart. And Derek amazes me daily.

Derek and Garry do this cute little interaction throughout the day. One of them makes a sound, like “La, la, la!” and the other one echoes it. They might be in different rooms, and one will call out, “Ba, ba, ba!” and the other echoes.

We Skype with Aunt Michele since she moved to Baton Rouge, and Derek always checks behind the computer to see if, just maybe, she is back there. He remembers things she taught him, like blowing kisses and sticking out his tongue, and he does them at the phone whenever she calls.

I feel so privileged to have been a part of every day of this little guy’s first year. Here’s to more!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Family Reunion

The original six of us, and my favorite picture from the reunion so far.

Fuller Family Reunion 2012

I go to Family Reunions with expectations. I shouldn't, and I know I shouldn't, and yet I do.

This time, I expected to play games, talk a lot, listen a lot, laugh a lot. I expected to catch up on everyone's lives, hear all their stories from the past two years and their plans for the next two.

And I expected to show off our delightful, cheerful, easy-going grandson, Derek.

Derek didn't cooperate, and that affected ALL of my expectations. Stories were told, and I was upstairs with an upset baby. Games were played, and I was helping figure out that Derek didn't react well to local water being put in his formula. And our cheerful showpiece was arching his back and screaming. Often.

By the time people began leaving, Derek was almost back to normal, and was really enjoying his second cousins. Our drive home was incredibly easy. He was cheerful the entire 8 hours. It was amazing. And today, he is delightful again.

So much for my expectations! I don't know how my brothers and their families are really doing. I didn't hear their plans. I did play a couple of games and helped a little with a puzzle. But it wasn't the week I expected. Looking back, it was a good week, though. I wasn't at work, I was hearing the voices and laughter of people I love dearly, and I got lots of hugs.

It's fuzzy, but this is my mom and her first great-grandson.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Six months old. Our little guy has been with us six short/long months. He is still the most cheerful, easy baby I've ever seen. That's not to say he doesn't have his moments - the occasional frustration that leads him to let loose a scream - but for the most part, if you pay attention and give him something to do or think about, he is calm. 

It's spring, and we often sit outside in the evenings now. Sometimes someone joins me, but most every night it's Derek and I. We listen to neighborhood dogs and he tries to bark back at them. We watch birds land in our little trees and then fly away, and he follows them with his eyes until they are FAR away. He loves it when I imitate the bird sounds. 

He hates it when the military jets fly right over our house, and is frightened by any loud, mechanical sound. They make him cry and he appears to be afraid. A sudden, loud cough in a quiet room has the same effect on him.

Pounding on things and hearing the different sounds they make seems to fascinate him. He likes to try different objects on different surfaces. I'm not sure if that makes him a scientist or a musician! Or maybe it just makes him a little boy...

And his favorite song is "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy." Isn't that silly? But it makes him smile and bounce every time I sing it. So I do. I love to make this little guy smile. His second favorite song is, "Ho-ho-ho- hosanna, ha-ha-hallelujah..." And he will actually make the "ho ho ho" sound to ask me to sing it. 

Someone visited recently, someone who really would rather Derek had never been created. That broke my heart. I know it wasn't the ideal way for our grandson to enter the world, but oh, what a precious treasure he is, what a gift from God! And I just couldn't get past that. I know I need to forgive that person, just as God has forgiven each of us because of what Jesus did. I will forgive them. But what a sad thing to wish for. Don't wish away my little sweetheart. He's a bundle of joy in my life. 

"...He-he-he-he saved me; I've got the joy of the Lord!"

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nothing like it at work


In my entire workday at the credit union, there is absolutely nothing as rewarding as the moment after I have come through the door at the end of the day, and Derek sees me. His whole body starts to quiver, his legs pump the air wildly, and his face lights up with a huge grin. I say, “Hi!” and he says, “Uh uh uh uh!” and hold up his arms. It’s wonderful.

There is also, thankfully, nothing in my work day quite like baby kisses. I kiss his cheek, and he turns, mouth open wide, and slobbers the side of my face. While I do love the sentiment, I am not fond of slobber, so it’s a bitter-sweet moment for me. 

So much of this I would miss out on if Derek and Amanda didn't live with us. The blessings far outweigh any inconvenience or cost. 

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Contemplating the future

Derek is almost four months old. He will be seven months old before most of my family (parents/siblings) get to even meet him. That’s a shame, because he is so fun these days!
He smiles, laughs, holds toys and puts them in his mouth. He looks around and tries to see everything, but Walmart still overwhelms him into a comatose stare that leads to a nap. He knows where I usually sit, and looks for me there, and comments when I’m not there.
When he’s tired, he snuggles his face into my armpit.
Today, he got upset because I buckled him into a baby chair while I made dinner. He looked me in the eyes and howled. I looked him in the eyes and told him, “I do NOT do what you want because you throw a fit! When you are calm, I will get you out of there.” Granted, he doesn’t understand me yet, but a few minutes later he was calm, and reached for me, so I took him out. Hopefully he is learning which behavior gets rewards.
Olivia and Derek make me think about the brevity of life. My birthday is this week, and I’m contemplating how much longer I’m likely to live, barring the unforeseen. Because I have medical insurance, I’ve had every checkup a 50 year old woman is supposed to have in the last few months, and there isn’t anything wrong with me that a little exercise wouldn’t fix. So it’s possible I’ll live to be 90-something, like the grandmother who gave me this body type.
That means Derek could be about 40 when it’s my turn to go. Olivia would be 42. I could possibly meet their kids.
What will my life be like for the next 40 years? Will I live in this house, in this town? Will I finally visit Thailand, and maybe live a year or two there? But then, I would miss so much of the grandkids’ lives. I already miss far too much of Olivia’s. She doesn’t know me at all, doesn’t know how much I love her, because we just live too far away. But as she gets older, she will understand better, gifts and phone conversations will become more meaningful, and visits will be remembered.
The future still holds a lot of love.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Routines


Our little boy is such a creation of routines and signals. He is eight weeks old today, and in those short weeks he has learned so much!

“Sleep, eat and poop” is what many say is all a baby is good for. Those are definitely three of his four routines. He sleeps beautifully, sometimes five hours at a stretch during the night. But generally, he knows that in the evening he gets fed, then has some Grampy time. Sometimes a bath punctuates the evening, and more Grampy time.

Then it’s Grandma time. I get him ready for bed, and we turn down the lights, put on a good nature documentary, and snuggle together for a bedtime snack. There is burping and more snuggling, and then I put him in his crib. Sometimes he is already sound asleep. Other times, he smiles at me and closes his eyes. In any case, he knows it’s bedtime, and all is right with the routine.

But oh, you mess with his evening routine, and he lets you know. Amanda kept him out late one night, and he came back all wound up, not ready for bed until he had Grampy time. One night I went to bed early, and he fussed about not getting Grandma time. And tonight, just as he and I settled into the big armchair, Amanda turned off ALL the lights. He let out such a despairing cry! That’s not the routine! I didn’t get my snack yet! He makes me laugh.

His fourth routine is my favorite: awake time! He giggles and coos and smiles at us. One dimple dots his left cheek. His lips and tongue try to imitate ours as we talk and sing to him. He can lie in his playpen for 45 minutes, looking at the toys and patterns and lights in the room.

All of this will change too soon. He will grow up, sit up, stand, walk, talk. He should. He must. But for today, I just want to cuddle him and enjoy this time and these smiles. They are the best part of my day.