A Tribute To My Grandmother

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My grandma passed away and I was privileged with the opportunity to be able to speak at her funeral. As it turned out I was unable to make it all the way back to Ontario. This is what I wrote for my mom to read in my place. I love you grandma.
Isobel Rose Spalla Born: August 28, 1934 Passed On: February 24, 2009
A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says She is gone. Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large now as when I last saw her. Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her. And just at that moment, when someone at my side says she is gone, there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon and other voices take up a glad shout - There she comes!
How does one sum up a loved ones life? How can a few words on a piece of paper ever really do justice in expressing the life of a human soul? It can't and yet we go on with hope in our hearts as well as the pain. I so very much wanted to be there to say goodbye to my grandmother, but it did not work out that way. I have felt sorrow, fear and guilt at not being there with you all and my heart aches at the thought that I will not be there to share this with her. As I deal with these emotions my mind is turned from the moments lost, the words gone unsaid, the memories not shared to all the things that we do share, my Grandma and me.
From my first day of life, we have shared the middle name of Rose, a name that I am now so very honored to share with her. We were both the first born to our mother's and the only daughter. The first born to us, as grown married women, was also a baby girl and although I have 2 sons as well we both have three daughter's.
Some of the other things that we share are negative; habits and baggage passed down from one generation to another, but that is our life's work, to strengthen the good and to work hard at eliminating the bad, learning from those who have gone before. We share the nauseating affects from pregnancy. She could, as well, sympathize with me when I went through postpartum depression after the birth of one of my children as she had also been in that place in her earlier years. Two very different women from two very different generations, understanding each other's suffering and pain. I could focus on those things and yet I choose to focus on the good. For it is true that what we focus on, will reap it's just rewards. I choose to remember everything that was good about my grandma, everything that she taught me, all the time we spent together.
I remember Christmas at their house, traditions that were established and instilled in me and that I am now able to pass down to my children. I remember going away for the weekend with my grandparents, waking up every morning and walking down the path to say good morning to my Great Grandparents, teaching me manners and respect for our elders. I remember having toast for breakfast. It was the BEST toast in the world. It was simply bread and butter, but for some reason I can still remember how good that toast was. She spent time teaching me to sew and doing all number of crafts and then together we would give them as gifts to others, teaching me to bless the lives of those around me with my talents. We spent warm days at their house on the water, fishing, boating and swimming, teaching me to have a love for nature ( as I usually always wanted to throw the fish back) , teaching me the basics of driving a boat and water safety and learning that you should not go swimming for an hour after you eat, which I religiously obeyed thinking something so very horrible was sure to happen, as all the adults were very cautious about instituting this rule.
I had the opportunity to go back and visit my grandparents for a couple of summers after we moved to B.C. One of those summers she taught me how to apply makeup and how much or, in my case, how little should be applied. We also spent part of one of those summers crocheting an afghan which I still have. I started it and tried my best to follow her instructions, but I was unable to finish it due to time. I left it with her and I left for home. She later sent me the finished product. I thought I had done pretty good work, but you can definitely tell which side was mine and which side she had completed.
She and I both love to shop, we loved to go for walks together. We love animals and we love our friends and family.
Never a birthday went by that a card was not sent, even as she got older and increasingly more ill, we always received that well wishing card. And it broke my heart as I saw the hand writing getting weaker and more strained with each passing birthday. And yet the effort was made, the card was sent, teaching me one of the greatest of life's lessons, It doesn't always matter how YOU are feeling, what is wrong with YOU, what YOU are suffering with at this time. There is always someone worse off and you don't let anything stop you from letting your loved ones know that you care and that they are important to you. Life is too short for us to be focused solely upon ourselves and our situation. Let us not live with the regret of "if only".It only takes a minute to perform those niceties of life and a life time of pain can be spared. Let us live so that when our time has passed we will be remembered for the good that we brought into this world, for the service that we rendered and leave with our loved ones a knowledge that they were indeed cherished by us. If more people learned this lesson and followed my grandmas example I believe that we would all be better for it. My life is richer because she was a part of it.
God looked around his garden And He found an empty place. And then He looked down upon the earth,And saw your tired face. He put His arms around you, And lifted you to rest. God's garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best. He knew that you were suffering, He knew you were in pain, He knew that you would never get well on earth again. He saw the road was getting rough, And the hills were hard to climb, So He closed your weary eyelids, And whispered "Peace be thine." It broke our hearts to lose you. But you didn't go alone, For part of us went with you,The day God called you home. Anonymous
She suffered, oh did she suffer, but she also lived and oh, how she lived and she will live on in the hearts and memories of her loved ones. This thing called death, this separation is only temporary. Her broken body is laid to rest and her spirit is now free and I know, I know with every fiber of my being that I will see her again someday, when it is my turn to return to our maker. She will be there and welcome me home and we will never be separated again. We cannot know how long we will ache for her, we cannot know what time will bring, but we must have hope, we must remember the good, we must go on and live our lives while they are ours to live, she would not want us to lose one more minute, I am afraid that it is those who are already gone that can truly appreciate the gift of every day, of every breath we are given.
I have come to the end of the road And the sun has set for me I want no rites in a gloom filled room Why cry for a soul set free Miss me a little - but not too long And not with your head bowed low Remember the love that we once shared Miss me - but let me go For this is a journey that we must all take And each must go alone It's all a part of the Master's plan A step on the road to home When you are lonely, and sick of heart Go to the friends we know And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds Miss me - but let me go. Anonymous
We must LIVE. The legacy of Isobel will live on through us, through our lives and what we choose to do with them. She will live on through the example and the teacher that she has been, the lives that she has touched and through the generations as we pass down her memory and legacy, a legacy of love. So although I am not able to be there in person, I am there in spirit and heart and a piece of me is there in my mother, in my aunts and cousins, in my grandfather and in the loving memory of a most beloved grandmother. As my great grandfather, my grandmother's dad taught me, we do not say goodbye, we say, "I will see you later". We will see you later, Isobel Rose Spalla.

Movin' On Up!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I asked her not to, but Nya keeps growing. She is getting to big for her moses basket and yet still looks so little in her crib.

4 Months Old

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nya, 4 months old and getting some fresh air.

Don't Touch The Peanuts!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Potty training with Tate is going better now that we have removed all garments from his bottom half. He can sense better and he feels more inclined to use the toilet without anything covering his bottom. But, of course, this opens up a whole new can of challenges. First of which being that he is always exposed, fine while at home and as long as he doesn't sit on anything, ya right and second, he is a boy and like most boys he does have a very strong magnetic force pulling his hands towards himself. We use the correct terminology with the children and we are constantly asking him to not touch himself. Just today Tate came up to me and said," I not touch my peanuts, mom!" Peanuts have taken on a whole new meaning around here. I wonder if Tate will think twice the next time he is offered some peanuts.

Home School

Well, we finally did it. The kids have been out of the public school system for about a month now. It took an incident at school to force my hand and yet in retrospect I needed something like that to happen. I don't know if I would ever have been brave enough. I have always loved the idea and wanted to do this with my family, but quite honestly I have never felt smart enough, good enough, patient enough, strong enough, it was never the right time, I was never ready. It took a GREAT leap of faith for me to do this, the process was 4 1/2 years in the making and I could always justify putting it off. I know that this is right for my family, others may have a different path, but this is the way we are to go. I know it. I feel it everyday more and more. The choice was so hard because I was so scared. Once we made the choice, then came the peace that I had so desired before. Now that the choice is made, there is no going back. I can't believe that it took me so long. Every time I drive past the school I am so glad to be on this end of things, not because something so terrible happened but because I knew that I was not living true to myself. You can only go on like that for so long. When you know that there is something you should be or want to be doing and you don't do it for whatever reason, the choice seems to get harder and harder to make and you can feel it inside. Self- deception. And Although I am still scared, there are a few things that I have learned in the beginning of this adventure.

First of all, I had to ask myself, do I care more about my children or what other people think? Are you crazy is usually the first thing that people say or at least think when they are informed about our decision. I am sad to say that there have been moments when I cared more about how I looked in the sight of others. I want to be an inspiration and a mentor to my children and not a model of pop culture to those around me and I know that through this process I will find those who believe in and will support our choice. I have also been surprised to find that many do think that this is such a great venture. From mothers whose children are already raised, to the people Darren meets at work, to those who have not yet entered their children into the public school system, to past teachers.

Second, I was fearful that I am not smart enough to home school my kids. That someday they would discover that I had no idea what I was doing and that they are in fact smarter that I am. A friend who has been helping me along this path said to me, " We don't always know what we are doing in life, we have kids don't we?" There was a time (prechildren) that I thought I knew it all and mothering was going to be so easy as long as I did everything right ( are you laughing yet). Since then I have been humbled sufficiently. But I am not preventing it from stopping me or quitting in the middle of raising children. You just take one step at a time and hope in faith that you are doing something right, seek for inspiration and pray that Heavenly Father fills in the blanks. He gave me these children, that alone qualifies me to be the best teacher for them.

Third, "I wish I could do that, but I just can't". I have realized in saying that that I have actually been saying that the idea is nice, but I just don't want to do the work involved. I have come to believe that I can do anything that I want to do!

Forth, The other day I was out with all 5 kids by myself, the kids were well enough behaved, but still children filled with energy and excitement. I felt a little like there were those looking at me and judging. This is not the first time I have ever felt this way, but in this case a thought entered my mind that never has before, I'm not finished yet. Meaning, come back in 20 years and judge me and my children then, when I have finished the job, don't judge me in the middle of my life's work.

Fifth, is there anything that I don't know that I can't learn? The answer of course is no That is the hard part, to be the person I want my children to become.

Sixth, I thought that learning happened at school and life happened after hours. I have since dicovered that learning happens all day, everyday and how much more fun it is to learn while living. Sometimes it only takes a few extra words, a couple more minutes to turn something very ordinary into something of lasting value.

So far this has been pretty much what I had expected. I am loving it, I am sooooooooooo tired at the end of the day, as there is no down time, I want to pull my hair out sometimes, I feel like crying the next, sometimes from exhaustion, sometimes from the joy I am finding in my children. The one thing that has surprised me the very most though is that more than ever I feel like I don't have enough time with the children to teach them all I want to teach them. The days are flying by faster than while they were at school. I thought the days would seem longer with them here. I am so grateful for the inspiration that Darren and I have always felt and the baby steps that we have taken in order to get here. I am grateful for the peace I feel in knowing that this is right for us and I am grateful that I have the chance to be stretched farther that I ever thought I could be without breaking. So far I am the one doing all the learning. I pray that I will be able to become the person that God sees in me and for the part that this plays in that, I am grateful.