Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Seasons of Life

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to mourn and a time to dance,..." Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2a, 4b

Exactly one month ago today, Keith and I were gathered with family and friends on a sunny hillside in Whittier, California for a graveside service. A little over a week before, Keith's mom had passed away at the age of 80. Her death was not a surprise to us since she had not been well for some time, but it began for me the realization that our family would never be the same again...

It seems that life can plod along somewhat predictably for quite some time, and then all of a sudden, Kapow!! things happen all at once! That's what I've been experiencing for the past 30 days or so. The circle of life has taken me for a dizzy ride! While we were in California for Grandma Roses's funeral, our daughter Melissa was expecting, and was already one week overdue. I was so hoping and praying that the baby would stay put until we got back, but with the full realization that babies come whenever they are good and ready.

The funeral on that Saturday was warm, (80 degrees!) and we shared a lot of laughter on that sunny hillside remembering the life and often hilarious antics of Keith's mom, Elinore. With a love of community volunteering, an infectious laugh and the tendency to overreact to things...a lot, she was well remembered and well loved.

 Here's a picture I found that was taken when Melissa was about 9 years old. Grandma Rose had come up for a visit and us three girls were enjoying a very nice tea party at a tea room in Bellevue, WA. Wow...it sure doesn't seem like it was all that long ago, but I guess it was!

Sunday, the day after the funeral, Keith and I had an early flight back home to Seattle. We were welcomed  home to the Northwest by blustery, cold, cloudy, rainy (and wonderful!) November weather. I must say right here that 80 degrees in November just doesn't feel right. I was born and raised in sunny southern California, but I was always longing for rain, clouds and snow. So, my heart magnet pulled me up to the land of inclement weather and I've been quite happy with it ever since!

Well, anyway. Back to my story. As soon as we got off of the plane in Seattle around 11:00 am, we had a message on our cell phones that Melissa was in labor. "Thank you, Baby for waiting for us!!" I was thinking. Well, Baby kept us and her poor mommy and daddy waiting for 25 whole hours before she made her grand appearance! Anelie Rose Foltz came into the world around 8:30 am on Monday morning, November 28th. Hoooooray!!!

Here's a picture of me holding Anelie for the very first time, only a few hours old. She is wearing a Thanksgiving pumpkin hat that I knitted for her. She didn't show up for Thanksgiving, so there was no time to lose. She needed to wear that hat before Christmas got into full swing!

And now, here is a picture of Melissa and Anelie just a few weeks later. Aren't they beautiful?  

Becoming a "Grammy" is one of the most exciting, rewarding and beautiful things that I have ever experienced in my life. Being an adoptive mom, I had never experienced pregnancy or childbirth, so being able to walk alongside my daughter throughout this miraculous process was a huge blessing to me. A time of healing. A time of rejoicing without the sadness of a birth mother's loss. Babies are God's way of giving us love all wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket. An overwhelming kind of love for that little bundle that shoots up to the sky and explodes like Fourth of July fireworks.

Here's a picture of me and Keith over 22 years ago holding Melissa for the very first time...do you see the fireworks?!!!

Baby Anelie is blessed to have such wonderful parents, and we are blessed to have Anelie in our lives and in our hearts. The circle of life spins around at an increasingly faster and dizzying rate, but the the ride is soooo worth it! Remembering a loved one who has lived a full life and gone on to heaven just as another loved one enters our lives has caused me to really stop and ponder. It makes me stop and thank God for this life He has given me, the gift of family, and the knowledge and peace that we're all in His loving hands. There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under heaven. And sometimes, it happens all in one weekend.