Remembering . . .

Two days ago, on July 18, 2011, a wonderful woman, Fredricka Sanders Creighton, went home to be with the Lord.  I know this because I know that she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.  She was my paternal grandmother, and I loved her dearly.  I’ve been thinking a lot the past couple days about her; remembering the time we shared with her.  As I reflected on my life with Grandma, I found it ironic that, here I was, remembering, but the last several years robbed her of that same opportunity, due to the effects of the disease that took much of who “Mrs. Freddie Mae” really was:  Alzheimer’s.

This post is not about Alzheimer’s though. I want to tell you about the woman who so effortlessly used to tell anyone who would ask about me and my brother and cousin.  She had a bumper sticker on her car that read, “Let me tell you about my grandchildren.”  And if you asked her, she would tell you.  I distinctly remember hiding behind a pole in the Stamford Town Center (Stamford, CT) parking deck with my older brother and cousin, because some stranger saw the bumper sticker and asked Grandma about her grandchildren.  She proceeded to start talking, and turned at one point to point to us, only to discover we were hiding.  Kids, I tell you.

Grandma Creighton was a vibrant woman. She was full of life, and joy and smiles and hugs.  When we were younger, she would always make clam dip for my Grandpa to go with his Lays Potato Chips (the yellow bag), and we would always beg Grandpa to share.  I don’t know how she made that clam dip, but it was YUM-MY!  Then there was the dream cake.  It was a yellow cake with layers of some sort of creamy white icing (probably with Cool Whip in it), pineapples and coconut.  I can still taste that cake.  My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson, wrote me a note about that cake at the end of the school year.  It was THAT good.

Grandma was a social butterfly; Mrs. Popularity.  She never met a stranger, and made you feel like she’d known you since her childhood; even if you’d just met her 5 minutes ago.  She was full of life and love.  Never stuffy (though those plastic covers on the gold couches would have you think otherwise), always sassy and always with a hug to give; you know, the kind of hugs that only a Grandma can give.  She loved music, and, even in recent years, would dance to the music.  I guess that’s where I get it from; I always have a song playing in my head.

I’m going to miss my Grandma.  She was a wonderful lady, and brought so much joy and love into our family.  She showed me what love is really about, and taught me so much over the 33.5 years I got to share with her.  I’m truly blessed to have had her so long, and am thankful to know that she is back home, with the Lord, rejoicing, dancing and singing with the constant songs of heaven’s choir.

Thank you, Grandma.  I love you, and I will see you later.

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It’s Not About You

I was actually going to write about a different topic today, but, as usual, the Lord gave me another idea and, well, He was the one who gave me the idea to actually do the entire blogging thing, so who am I to fight it?

If you follow me on Twitter, then you have seen my posts over the past several weeks asking for prayers for a little girl named Mireya.  Mireya is the 4 year old daughter of some friends of ours who are also members of our church family.  She has been diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, and has been in and out of the hospital for several weeks.  This week, she is scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant.

Now, to know Mireya and her family is to love them. They are absolutely wonderful people!  And at first, I remember thinking, “oh no, she’s sick.”  But it is hard to grasp how serious a condition is when you’re looking in from the outside.  As I sat with Venus, Mireya’s mom, one day, I began to understand just how serious her condition was, and how much of a miracle it was to have a bone marrow donor (Mireya’s 6 year old brother, Jalen) identified and ready in just a couple weeks.

Our church held corporate prayer where all we did was pray for Mireya and her family (#TeamBolton).  During that prayer, the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance the situation we endured with our son, Caleb.  To be clear, the parallel was just to remind me that, as parents, particularly parents who stand on the Word of God, we don’t always share all the details of our kids’ lives, particularly when there are very serious health challenges.  We don’t want to relive the words a doctor has spoken, we want to stand on God’s promises that we prosper and be in health.  And in that moment, I began to understand what Venus and Quentin must be going through.

How often do we hear about someone having a serious challenge, whether it be health or otherwise, and we feel bad for them, but we don’t think much more of it?  Do you put yourself in their shoes?  This life, it’s not about you.  It’s about helping others, serving one another, and making sure we are all our best.  So maybe you’re needed to sit in the hospital with a family while their child goes through surgery, or help with medical bills, or simply fast and pray.  Whatever it is, don’t just say, “I’m sorry to hear that” or “You’ll be in my prayers,” (and never pray).  DO SOMETHING!  Why?  Because it’s not about you.

Letter to My Daughters

To my dearest girls,

I wanted to take some time to write you this letter.  It was 4 years ago this month that you came into my life.  You were only 2 and 9 at the time, and I didn’t realize that you would become a permanent part of my life just 15 months later.

I did not birth you.  You each have a mother who loves you dearly.  I did, however, choose you.  When Daddy asked me to marry him, I didn’t just say yes to him.  I said yes to both of you as well, to the opportunity to be a second mother to you, to love you and cherish you every day of my life.  I said yes to being there for the good times and the bad.  And I have never looked back.

I love you both so much.  You are my baby girls.  I look at you and see limitless possibilities for you.  You are amazing young girls, and will grow up to be amazing women.  There is so much greatness in you, I can’t even begin to accurately explain all that I see.  It is cliché, but your best and brightest days are truly ahead.

My pledge and commitment to you is to be the best parent I can be.  You are both truly blessed; you have a mom and dad that love you unconditionally and a stepmother and stepfather that love you unconditionally.  You have the benefit of having two sets of parents who love you, and I pray that you get to experience the benefit of that every day of your life.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you, pray for you, miss you and continue to love you.  I often wonder how you’re doing when you’re not with us; if you’re having a good day or a bad day; if you’re happy or sad; and if you think of us the way we think of you.

I know sometimes I can be hard on you.  It is only to help you grow.  But I hope you also enjoy the many good days that we have.  The fun times, playing, dancing, or just talking.  There is nothing sweeter than to hear your voices in the house, even when you’re driving me up a wall fighting with each other :-).  I want to see you reach your full potential.  Daddy and I have already been successful in our lives, and continue to drive for greater success.  But even with all we do,  we want to see you reach those levels and higher.  We want to see you grow and develop into all that God has for you; and trust me when I tell you there is a lot He put in you from before you were even born.  It is our job, as your parents, to help guide you down the path to discover that purpose for yourself.

I want to thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives.  Thank you for loving me unconditionally, for reminding me not to take myself too seriously, and for being the wonderful, amazing young girls that you are.  I look forward to every day with you, to watching you grow up and to being there every step of the way.

With all my love, today and always,

Mom/2nd Mommy/Rasheeda