April 2, 2013

Milestones of Our Lives

Today we are celebrating a birthday in our family. The big guy’s - the old man (I can say that cuz he’s older than me!) It got me thinking about the milestones of our lives.

Thirty-one years ago when we celebrated hubby’s birthday, we were living in a small apartment in Sacramento. We had recently left the Midwestern winter behind and moved to California. 

I baked a cake and tried to give him the attention he would have received from his large, extended family had we been celebrating in Wisconsin. This was our first milestone away from family. We were on our own, just the two of us --  along with my cat, Mittsy.

We had packed up and moved in March of 1982, giving away whatever wouldn't fit into our rented 4’x8’ trailer. What I remember most are the final good-byes. I've found that when strong emotions are tied to a memory, they remain forever.

When the packing was completed, and friends helped clean my little flat, we celebrated our bon voyage by toasting with champagne in paper cups. Later we added some of hubby's things to the trailer (the rest were left in his parent's basement), and when we were finally ready to leave on our great adventure, it was near dusk.

Our final farewell with extended family is burned into my memory. As we pulled away from the curb, they stood along the sidewalk in the falling darkness, all in a line, waving goodbye. The moment was so filled with emotion – our great adventure just beginning, and leaving friends and family and everything familiar behind.

In all the time that has passed, we’ve made four major moves to three different states. We’ve grown our family with the addition of four sons born in two different states. All of their milestones have been joyously celebrated along the way.

One part of my life journey that I remember clearly was when I was ‘born again’ in my faith, as a young mother living under the broad expanse of Texas skies. I had long talks with God on my walks under that great blue sky. 

I remember when I tearfully gave Him back my sons, one at a time, knowing fully well that they were really His. For a mom who believed I was their protector, this was difficult to do, but my relationship with God began to grow as I learned to trust Him with my precious children, and indeed with my own life as well. There have been many milestones in my faith journey, and I hope they keep coming! 

We celebrate the passing years with birthday parties and anniversary celebrations. Holidays come and go, with all their preparations and fun and family closeness. And when they are past and I am left with a mild melancholy. But I cherish the memories.

Children grow past their years of needing us for everything, and too soon we are celebrating graduations from high school and then from college. If you haven’t gotten to that place in your life yet, believe me when I say the time passes so very quickly, way too quickly.

We celebrate our children’s growth as they become the people God intends for them to be. The joy of watching them grow and develop maturity is perhaps the most rewarding stage of parenthood.

I hope in my future there will be the celebration of grand babies and their birthdays. The years continue to march forward in infantry-like precision. There is no stopping the passage of time. And with this crazy world we live in now, even those who have time on their hands say that time seems to be passing more quickly these days.

Photo Courtesy Best Light Photography

So we must celebrate the milestones, as well as the every day gifts of life and love and beauty. Every day is a new beginning for us. We are made new each day by God's grace and are given the opportunity to be grateful for the very breath that brings us life.

We can celebrate the passing of the seasons and the special milestones of our lives, knowing we can give thanks to the One who walks beside us through each and every day. In fact, the only constant through all of this change is knowing God is always with us. He is walking with each of us, as we navigate this journey of life. 

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