The crazy frenzy that has been life in the Conrad household yet continued this past weekend. Funny how we “mark” things on the calendar and know they are approaching, even anticipate most, yet the daily glance and one wonders how it can all be accomplished. And God says, I AM. He truly does provide and it simply is a pleasure to obey, knowing that His provision goes before me.
Friday evening, our daughter celebrated her birthday with three of her closest friends. We went bowling, then returned for pizza, cake, and presents, of course 🙂 What a joy is was simply to watch these seven years olds interact with one another. They simply love each other with tender, compassionate, and encouraging hearts, each one unique, each one giggly, each one gifted. Girls are different than boys, I know, news flash. Instead of competitive teasing, jabs, and jokes, there were hugs, cheers, and gentle redirecting. One girl in particular has special needs, yet this is simply an adult label, they love and accept her just as she is, gently guiding her if some behavior just wasn’t appropriate. May this last…. just a bit longer….
Saturday morning, bright a early, 7 other girlfriends and I piled into the van and headed downtown for the Race for the Cure. Perfect weather! What a ball simply to participate with some who had trained to run this morning for the first time. It was such a joy to be able to run with my great friend Jen who was celebrating several events with this run today. I loved, loved hearing the stories afterwards, the accomplishment of a task that at times seemed unconquerable. There’s just something about running… I loved it, for me, it was a vision come true, I pray that perhaps it may become an annual tradition.
Well, no rest for the weary. Upon returning home, we all bathed, packed, and piled into the van, this time bound for Cleveland. We arrived downtown in time to pick up race packets for Aaron, his sister, and his brother-in-law. The kids and I (and Wubzzy!) walked around and looked at all the Cleveland landmarks, such fun history to share with the kids about our hometown. Next, we headed to my parents to unload and situate the puppy, then headed off to dinner to celebrate Emma’s true birthday. Red Robin is was! As our party of 12 sat and shared food and conversation, I couldn’t help but think about my dear mother-in-law who would have loved to see this. We gathered in celebration of her life this weekend, a service would be had the following day.
Sunday morning, bright and early (sense a theme here 🙂 we awoke, dressed, and headed out the door for Aaron fourth half-marathon race in four weekends (whew!) After having the wonderful opportunity to visit with my brother, his wife, and newborn baby the evening before, I was surprisingly awake, ready for a morning in support of Daddy. We wore special shirts in honor of Mom and Grandma, as we walked Daddy to the starting line, and waited at the finish, blowing bubbles, making signs on a white board, and eating blow-pops! Aaron had a great run, a great tribute to the race of life his mother endured while here with us. The service was beautiful. A testimony to her life of compassion, and her legacy left unto her children. I couldn’t have been more proud of Aaron. His voice was strong, and steady, his words were genuine and thoughtful, his love for his family just outpouring. I think I fell in love with him just a little bit more that afternoon, what an amazing man he is, humble and God-honoring.
After another dinner spent together as a family, we packed up and headed home (in a quiet van may I add). As a went for a run this evening, I had such a sweet time with the Lord. I reflected again on the service, and I had a vision. In it, I stood and spoke a few words. I spoke of the a time I remember headingover to Mom’s porch shortly after we were engaged. As with many young brides, I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed at some decisions that needed to be made. You see, the thing about the Conrad house was that anyone was welcome. ‘Come as you are’ was invisibly written above the door. I felt a sense of freedom in her presence – freedom to simply be me, and in those moments, I felt free to led go of a few tears, and as a result, I left feeling lighter, more focused. Fast forward a few years, I was laying in a hospital bed, in labor with our third child. She sat next to me, and gave me a diamond ring, a family ring. You see, her mother-in-law had given it to her, symbolizing her view of me as her own daughter and her love she wanted to bestow. Lord willing, I will be able to pass this along the the wife of our son – traditions, family legacy, this was her passion, her life goal. Fast forward just six months ago, they were here for a visit from Houston over Christmas. I vividly remember showering, and hearing the gentle whisper I’ve come to know as my Savior, asking me, “Heather, I want you to wash my servant’s feet.” In cheerful obedience, I entered Mom’s room with some of my favorite foot lotion and simply “washed” her feet. As we talked, I had a chance to ask her, “Mom, where are you at with Jesus. What words have you been thinkin about?” Without hesitation she stated, “Palms 139, and Palm 23”. Her heart was focused on Him.
I actually became emotional as I was running. I remember staring into her blue eyes and telling her, “Mom, I love you.” Without any words spoken, I knew she loved me too. I know she loved, for she modeled it well. She was more than a mother-in-law, she was the one who gave birth to my husband, who trained him up, and even trained me up. She was my friend. I’m so sorry I was not able to speak the words at the time, but I do feel the Lord spoke them to her on my behalf, it was a precious run for me tonight. I thank you Jesus. I love you Mom.