Summer is winding down here. I'm sitting on my porch in gorgeous weather listening to Andrew read aloud to get ready for 2nd grade (What?! How did that happen?). I've been meaning to come back to this space to update you about lots of things, especially our Both Hands project, but, honestly, I've been leaning into the slower pace of summer with my kiddos and just didn't feel like writing.
As we began to look forward to getting back in the groove, I came back to this blog and you dear readers to tell you some of what is going on in our lives. I was looking back over my posts from 2018 (there are only four, it didn't take long), and I was thinking how sad this poor blog seems. It didn't start out that way. I started this blog to chronicle our adoption after all, which is a (mostly) happy thing. But then when Adam died last year, a huge bucket of dark gray paint got sloshed over the whole thing. Everything was sad. Everything still is, sometimes.
And today what I have to share with you is another sadness: my grandmother died. My mom's mother went by Mom to everyone because the family is so large that kids and grandkids were growing up together. So Marie and Jim just stayed Mom and Dad. Last week she went home to be with Jesus, something I think she desperately wanted to do.
We are all relieved, truthfully. She was 93 years old and did not enjoy the last few years as her brain and body failed her. But now that she is home and we don't hurt for her anymore, we hurt for ourselves.
Mom was the kind of grandmother you read about in stories. She made the perfect chocolate chip cookie. She taught me to play Solitaire. She kept lots of dress up clothes. She helped me make a crib set for my dolls to match my bedspread. She taught me to knit. We watched Jeopardy at night. She laughed all the time, fussed at you when you were out of line, and seemed to be always, always singing.
Once, my cousins (Jessy, Maggie, and Carrie) and I were under Mom's huge cherry tree in spring, talking about Anne of Green Gables and enjoying ourselves. We thought it would be lovely if we cut down armfulls of blossoms to decorate our room when we slept there that night. We got a wagon and cut down every cherry blossom bunch we could reach. (We didn't realize this meant that there would be no cherries to reach that summer.) When we got to the house with every single cherry blossom, Mom opened the back door and was so stunned she could hardly speak. She was so upset, which confused us. We thought this was a perfectly romantic idea! She quickly set us straight. We felt terrible, and all started to cry, even Mom! But after a few seconds, her tears turned to laughter. She pulled down every vase, jar and pitcher from her cabinet, filled them all with water and helped us arrange the flowers. Then she took a picture of all of us on the kitchen counter with our beautiful and tragic bouquets. Mom framed that picture and kept it in "our" guest room.
Mom always found joy. Her songs seemed to all be about joy:
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray..."
"Zippidy doo dah! Zippidy A! My oh my what a wonderful day!"
"Oh how I love to go up in the air, up in the sky so blue..."
"This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made. I will rejoice, I will rejoice, and be glad in it, and be glad in it."
Us Tranthams were at the beach when mom died, enjoying a wonderful week of togetherness, much less emotional than last year's trip. Josh and I were reflecting one day early in the week on the differences between the two trips. We were both struck by how proud we are of us as a family for not being mastered by our sorrow. We are sorrowful, to be sure. There is a part of me that hopes we always will be. Death is always a bad thing, and I know from the Bible that God hates it as much as we do. Silver linings, when they exist, don't change the horribleness of such loss.
But even though the background color of the canvas of the last year was an overwhelming, cold, dark gray, we have managed to laugh. We have managed to build, and to play, and to learn, and to hold on to each other and the Lord. And in doing this we splash in warm yellows, muted greens, cool blues and purples, and even some bright red. We are sad. But, because of the grace and love of Christ, we have great joy.
Mom taught us how to do that.
Josh and Emily
We hope that by sharing our steps, challenges, and milestones of our adoption, you will see yourself as part of the community we hope to build around our child as she grows up.