As a child, I understood how much my grandmother's deteriorating hipbones were affecting her by how far she was able to get around. Earliest memories include "Granny Ro" driving her orange VW Fox from Athens, Georgia to our house in South Carolina. When she arrived, she had her hand sticking out of the car's sunroof, waving to us. But there came a day when she stopped visiting us. Any visiting would be our driving to her.
When we arrived at 485 Southview Drive, we'd find Granny Ro sitting in her well-lit office, busily typing away on her computer preparing some genealogical record. She'd click-click-click around on her crutches from her office to bedroom to bathroom. I hardly ever saw her in any other part of the house.
Later, the office grew dark. The computer sat untouched. My grandmother was bed-fast.
Granny Ro's independence also grew as dusty and unused as her office. We would have to help her brush her hair, clip her toenails, fold her laundry. As a kid, I never could understand her extreme attention to detail. Fold the towels this way. Don't leave the box there. Why did she have to be so picky?
While I have no idea what it was like to live inside of her skin, I think I understand Granny Ro's fastidiousness a little better now. For my handicapped grandmother, having things workable for her was imperative for survival. It was easier for her arthritic hands to grasp a towel folded that way. It was safer for her to get around if the box wasn't there.
As a mom, I am finding I have grown more specific and deliberate about stuff. Want an example? I generally like to have the dishes washed as soon as possible after eating. Why? A few reasons include: our dry Colorado climate which superglues food to plates... our counter space is the size of a chewing gum wrapper... our next meal comes sooner than this cook thinks...
In my post "The road less travelled," I wrote about my challenge with Camille. If you have been praying for me, thank you. I wanted to give you an update on that. This past week, I sensed the Lord showing me a way to better connect with our daughter for where we're at right now.
Perhaps she's not listening so well to me because I'm not listening so well to her.
If you were Camille, you would see a mama who's always doing something. Picking up the toys with you (a good lesson in being responsible, not to mention averting the notorious "tripping and breaking something" predicament). Washing dishes (of course). Folding clothes. Making breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Your mama would be hearing a lot of "voices" in addition to yours. Loud, important, DutyCalls voices.
The duties are necessary, but they aren't as important as Camille. Could I turn down the volume on those duties to better hear our child?
This week, I have ached to hear Camille's heart more than ever. That ache has sometimes looked like: getting down on the floor and playing with her when there are dishes in the sink... including her in my work... asking her questions and waiting long enough to hear her answer... looking into her eyes... directing questions and comments to her first... giving her solo time in the rocking chair to read books, sing, and just snuggle... disciplining intentionally and not reactionarily... saying "I love you" more... asking forgiveness...
Camille's beautiful, unique personality hasn't changed, but she has seemed more calm, responsive, and settled. If I'm honest, maybe I have become more calm, responsive, and settled, too! I'm grateful for Camille's patience, joy, and forgiveness lavishly expressed to me as I walk through each new day as her mama. I'm grateful that God describes Himself as our Helper, who among other things, helps us to better know, understand, and love one another for this new day.