Lately I feel like one of those circus types, spinning plates. It's with no small measure of thankfulness that I report that most of these plates are piled high with wonderful things. We're in the last leg of our interior re-do of our new old house; wrapping up the summer season out door tasks and looking forward to moving life indoors. Not buying flowers and gardening supplies, instead looking at paint and draperies. Tending to the garden and happily bringing in tomatoes and basil and parsley. Watching buds miraculously turn into green peppers and cucumbers.
With the wisdom of getting older, we are buying less new stuff and finding ways to reclaim old furniture and cabinets for a second or third or fourth life and realizing that the mellow warmth far exceeds the shiny new stuff that used to claim my attention.
Of course, there is my brother-in-law, Danny. He is constantly on our minds and has reminded me what praying without ceasing feels like. Tears and fear have turned to peace and confidence; always the result when ceaseless prayer takes its place.
The in laws are preparing to move for once and all. We will travel to Alabama the last Friday in October, pack them up on Saturday and drive home on Sunday. Moving in to the apartment we reserved for them a few days ago on Monday, November 1 (or is it the second?) Dean's cousin, Paul, will ride down with us to drive the U Haul back to Michigan so that we can both ride with the folks in our vehicle. The goodness of people never ceases to amaze me, a twelve hour drive alone in a U Haul to make our trip easier. Dean's mom feels she cannot part with her "stuff" so we will move it all here and the Mr. has informed her that when the small retirement apartment is full, that's it! In the meantime, we have repurposed our furniture and space and created a spot in the C.S. Lewis room for her piano. The piano that Dean learned to play on, sat next to his mom and sang hymns and has been central to their lives for forty years will find a new home in our lives. She was at loose ends knowing there was hardly room to bring it but not wanting to leave it behind. I think she's happy that her piano will not be lost. Although I can't compete with the Southern Gospel stylings of Marthena, I will one day surely be plunking out Silent Night with a grandbaby on my lap.
Just a little more dressing of the kitchen and family room and our re-do will be complete. In a few weeks with a few more dollars saved we'll change out the counter top. Labor Day will be sure to host a family barbecue, already being discussed in fact. Tom's birthday is on the calendar (Trish's Tomer), Mac's a few weeks later. Our anniversary trip to Marshall might be rescheduled to accommodate the Alabama convoy. The weather will turn by degrees until the garden finally falls asleep and the lawn furniture is put into the garage. Grape lights on the deck will be dimmed and candles will be lit in the family room to glow against the dark windows.
Life and schedules will change as we settle in to caring for Dean's parents while maintaining their independence, what will that look like?
I can already imagine my Christmas tree in the family room that holds few echoes of my grandparents, those only in my memories. Will we attend the funeral of Dean's brother before then? Will we skip our Marshall trip altogether? Will it be harder, happier or both to care for the Smiths than we imagine?
I don't know. But the seasons are unfolding as ever. I do know this...in a few months I will put my Grandma Trent's Christmas tree in my Grandma Gerhardstein's living room. I'll sit down at my Mother-In-Law's piano and plunk out Silent Night. The way I see it, you can only have a lot of plates to keep spinning if you have a lot of plates in the first place. Even if there are cracks, chips and mismatches; the Lord makes all things beautiful.
Danny: Thank you all for your ongoing prayers on Danny's behalf. I can truly say that I feel the battle in heavenly places and that I am confident in victory. There is no change in his condition right now. He remains unconscious and heavily sedated. The doctors are grafting cadaver skin in the attempt to control fluid loss.