The Sky

 Alison was the driver, and I was in the front seat as a passenger. My grandchildren, Flynn, 4 and Zuzu, 2, were riding in the back. We were traveling between the paved lines on the straight and narrow pavement; the Subaru Outback was carrying us up and down the delicate hills of Nebraska. With a touch of fear in her voice Zuzu suddenly exclaimed, “Mom watch out! We are going to drive into the ocean!!!” Ali & I looked back to Zuzu with alarming confusion to see what she was seeing. Her tiny index finger pointed straight ahead to the windshield. We both realized the sky ahead of us looked like the ocean as we were approaching the next hill. 

“Baby, that is the sky. There isn’t an ocean in Nebraska.” 

“Take a picture Mom!” Ali shouts not wanting to miss the moment. I turned to take a picture of Zuzu and Flynn. “No Mom, take a picture of the ocean, the sky!”

We all laughed together.

Zuzu, “OK, hold on tight!”

Flynn pipes up, “Mom, how long does it take to drive to the sky?” 

I recognize how significant and symbolic that moment riding in the car with Ali and the kids was eight years ago. Her family had just moved to Nebraska from California after her year of diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. We were all moving toward life with absolute uncertainty. And without a map or knowing where the ride’s destination would take us, we trusted in God and the presence of one another. 

This life has brought us the ups and downs, and because of these, life is more beautiful. Along the road, there have been moments that I wanted to avoid, to hold on tight, ask questions that have no answers, and times I thought the sky looked like the ocean. I also laughed with a full, grateful heart and took pictures capturing the precious times. My greatest joy has been in knowing that I am not alone on the journey. I’m able to do life with my favorite people. My happy is my family. They are my deepest love and have brought so many immeasurable moments over the past several years. 

We’ve celebrated two more births and watched grandbabies become toddlers, become school aged, and launched two to junior high.

We have loved a new baby girl, Aliya adopted into our family. 

We witnessed the planting of trees in memory of baby Grayson, our grandchild now in heaven. 

We’ve had the privilege of being a spectator and supporter at grandkid’s events and school activities.

We’ve applauded 3-pointers made by Gavin and his dedication to the game.

We’ve been impressed with Flynn’s creativevideos and his leadership qualities both on and off the field.

We’ve seen Myles advance his skills in gymnastic events collecting medals on his way to the top in regional events.

            We’ve been in awe of Kyran’s ability solving the Rubix cube 2×2 in 3.3 seconds and the 3×3 in 15.8.

We have embraced the energy of Zuzu in her zest for activities. So many friends, so much slime, and so many sports.

We’ve seen Aliya swim to compete after just one lesson, awarded with an abundance of unexpected ribbons.

We’ve had our hearts captured by Landon, the dabber, telling Grandma, “I can’t say you are the best because I already told Grandpa he is the best.”

We’ve been entertained by Baylor with a smile that lights up the room and a golf swing that’s sure to light up the course.

We are in awe of Bryan’s work ethic and his promotions along the way.

We’ve seen Alison create paintings that generously support good causes. 

We’ve heard stories of the impact Jonathan makes on the lives of his patients and the humor he brings to the office. 

We’ve witnessed the hard work that goes into teaching and seen Laura receive awards for her efforts. 

We appreciate the benefits of chiropractic care from Alex and his heart for our well-being.

            We’ve seen more beauty in people’s homes because Marcela started a business sharing her talents with grace.

We’ve carried the story of Ali’s cancer becoming stage four. 

We’ve witnessed the scare of a heart condition for our son, Jonathan and the lung condition for our son-in-law, Bryan and celebrated good outcomes for both.

We witnessed the death of my mother following her days of dementia, and through it I’m closer to my four sisters and brother. 

We lived life in isolation the best we knewhow during the days of Covid.

We were reunited with our father, as he died in that isolation, surrounded by his children. 

We also buried both of my in-laws and two brothers-in-law. A family of six for my husband, now a family of two.

Life is beautiful but certain to be uncertain.

I have grown. My teachers are my children and family. They all love the Lord. They are my light, and my heart is full because of them. My story is not about what I have done in life, but who I am after going through it. I am a woman with more faith, particularly in the uncertainty. I’m more in love with my husband. I am a retired nurse, and after being part of so many people’s hard and healing stories, I have started taking greater care of me. I am traveling to places I had only dreamed of going. I am meeting new friends who are impacting my life, continuing deep friendships with old friends, and cherishing the memories of friends who have said goodbye. I am an active member of Al Anon and setting boundaries I didn’t know I needed. I’ve started a Bible study and a Life Group to grow deeper in my understanding of God and my purpose in life. I am inviting more light in every day. 

My purpose is to continue to draw closer to God in faith, to listen well, learn, and love always. I can’t fix the things in life that truly just have to be lived.  I love and I am loved. Each day, I am learning to let go and let God, allowing God to be at the wheel and for me to “hold on tight” and be the passenger…because someday He will drive me to the sky.