Sunday, June 1, 2014

Those Who Inspire Me

This is a flashback to September 2011

Hazie waiting for the bus on her first day
of school this year! This was her first bus ride!

I just love this series of pictures. I don't know why exactly but they represent something special to me. They brought tears to my eyes as I looked at her sweet little face, so eager, so trusting, so ready to go! I have had to ponder this experience for days to better understand why it touched me so deeply.

Getting on the Big Yellow School Bus!
This little one that has never met a stranger!
She is trying to engage this man who seems
to be unaware he is in the presence of an angel!
And off she goes to school....
To life as a big girl.

Her first independent trip away from home, away from her family and into the unknown with a smile on her face. That is courage. That is inspiring. When I saw the back of that bus...I had to think of our own daughter, Hazie's Mom. Watching her little, almost four-year-old, take off with perfect strangers on her own for the first time.

There was her little precious girl, that she has nurtured and cared for in the extreme, with all of her spina bifada issues, knowing her and helping her like no one else but a mom could. The very act of letting Hazie get on that bus and go off on her own...that had to take courage, it had to be hard. That kind of maternal courage inspires me.

I remember when Jennifer went off to school, how I wept. That little person who shared my body before birth and my soul all of her life, wasn't a baby anymore. And I prayed for her protection in a big, very uncertain world. I wanted to hold on to her and her innocence and never let the world rip it from her as it was ripping her from me right then.

I felt the same way when I saw the back of this big yellow bus. In our lives, we have those defining moments when we learn something that changes us. I am constantly amazed by the depth of love I have for our grandkids and kids and what I learn from them. I see things in them all the time that humble me and make me want to be a better person. Their refining moments refine me. The power of that love of mother to child is divine.

Their experiences bond me to them in ways I never realized they could or would. When they stretch and grow I do too and when they hurt I feel pain along with them, when they feel joy, my heart is bursting too. These feelings can be felt in other relationships, but never quite as keenly as in mother to child. Not even child-to-mother love knows of this power. Of course perhaps, a father's love for his children produces this experience too, but I can only speak of a mother's love through the heart that I know best. The courage that I see in our children and grandchildren makes me feel ashamed of my own fears sometimes. They are amazingly faithful and courageous. That inspires me to face my fears head on.

Spencer James
This very week our grandson, Spencer, has gone off for the first time as well. He is 12 so that probably seems rather strange to a lot of you. But Spencer has a disability that cannot be seen. He is deathly allergic to peanuts and soy. What this means for his parents is they must prepared all his food with caution. They never buy anything that the label isn't checked first because companies change ingredients all the time. Most of his food is made from scratch. (He will undoubtedly be healthier than most through out his life time because of it, right?) He can never eat any purchased treats like chips, cookies, candy or a gelato, or a hamburger. To a child with a peanut allergy eating can bring about unthinkable consequences. You cannot be lax, vigilance is essential 24/7.

Spencer carries an Epipen wherever he goes, he doesn't eat food prepared for parties or church dinners or in any but a couple of thoroughly screened restaurants where he is allowed pasta with butter only. He never travels on a train or plane without precautionary methods needing to be taken.

It is tougher because it is invisible and it enters into every new relationship he ever makes, as explanations and exceptions have to be made. There are emotional issues to be dealt with. I think most people never can imagine this type of thing unless they are faced with its challenges. Food is an issue and central to just about every social thing we seem to do. Imagine always being on your guard.

But this week he went on an outdoor, educational, camping trip with his new friends, at his new school, in another state. He went with every one of his meals packed and ready for him to confidently enjoy, prepared by his diligent mother. That took courage, that took faith. That is inspiring to me. I know that Laura and Robert wrestled with this and had very similar thoughts to what Jen must have when that bus drove away with her baby.

Again I do not know that I could have handled these thing well as a parent. I learn courage through their courageous acts. And I am pretty sure I would not have handled this well as a 12-year-old. There is so much security within the walls of a loving, protective home. When the grandkids are brave, I can be more brave in the things I face or may face in my life. I learn from them all the time.

These are just two examples of those who inspire me to be courageous. There is also James, always working hard and usually in pain as he does it. He just plows through in spite of the consequences physically sometimes. The sacrifices are almost always for someone else. There is also my brother, Steven, bravely enduring his cancer treatments that have been so difficult with his Steve Martin-like looks and sense of humor and a desire to lift the rest of us. That is courage that inspires me.

I have a mental list of those who inspire me to be better. You are probably on that list yourself. Who we eventually become has a lot to do with where we are looking. I am looking to God, and wonderful courageous and inspiring people that help me along my way, every day.

Do you ever think about who inspires you through their courageous living?


Sister Susie Says said...

I remember some years later, mom telling me how she cried all the way home when she took me to college (it was about a four hour drive!)

Being a kindergarten teacher for 28 years, there was more "separation anxiety" from the moms than it was the children! What joy, however, when the end of the day came, when the children had a special gift we made in the day for their moms!

We teachers had much to be alert about concerning allergies with peanuts, milk, chocolate, severe asthma. I'm so proud of those moms who assisted us with the information we so greatly needed! And you are so right at how brave and courageous these children are.
They truly are an inspiration!
The LORD bless you all, Susan.