I seem to get a little nostalgic on the lesser holidays, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day - days for family cookouts and fun times spent together. I’ve noticed that we seem to spend most of them alone, just Dad and I. And since both of our sons have chosen vocations in other cities, we do not have the luxury of every holiday with them. Our time together is often a hurried weekend spent trying to see everyone they can in the short time they are here. One lives close, about sixty miles, the other lives in Atlanta, not so close. Both have children, my grandchildren!
I really don’t mind spending time with Dad alone, not at all; he is, after all, my best friend. We do everything together and have fun at that. He makes me laugh all the time and I assure you I keep him in stitches too. But as we were traveling down to the “annual lake cookout” to spend the day with friends, I admit I got a little teary eyed as I thought of my own sons and their families. I missed them. Really missed them! You know that heart wrenching “miss them” that causes the heart to ache. I wanted to be with them, laugh with them, hug them.
As I’m looking out the window watching the scenery pass by quickly, I am reminded just how quickly life goes by. It is but a vapor. And I am saddened with the realization that the sons don’t realize this. They are in their prime of life, living it as they should, consumed with life, family, jobs, vacations. Not even noticing life passing by. Unlike us, who are watching it “fly” by.
We see life differently now. Our job of parenting is over so to speak, and now we are more in the advisory stage of life, giving advice when asked or needed. We guide them through the rough stages of child raising, encouraging them and laughing at the same mistakes we made, all the while wishing we were closer to help more and hug more. Family needs family. It is the cord that binds us all together. One cannot make it without family or without family help or prayer. Our sons realize this and we communicate as often as we are able through phone, text, and Skype. They are always asking Dad for advice. Hmmm, did I just say Dad? Ok, so I raised boys to men. They need their dad!
Anyway, back on the road to the picnic. The closer we got to the lake I began to realize although we do not have family here, we do have an extended family in our church family. Friends we can call “family.” They have been with us through years. Friends who have stood by us and prayed for us when our sons were born, when they got married and had children, when our parents passed on from this life into the next. The friends who make sure we really don’t have to be alone on holidays or special events, they include us in their grandchildren’s lives and let us love on them, too. They are by our side in the good and bad of our lives. They are our church family of friends. God has blessed us with this family and I am so grateful for them and the way they minister to us and pray for us. It fills the void and eases the ache in my heart when that ole nostalgia rears its ugly head.