A Time for Mourning and a Time for Dancing

A Time for Mourning and a Time for Dancing

I have so much to tell you about our weekend.  It started pretty rough.  I had a full day of adventures planned for Friday.  I was going to take my 3 little boys to the Witte Museum, out to lunch (a rare treat), do some shopping and maybe…if Mommy could stand up long enough, get some frozen yogurt.

We never got yogurt.  It was all too much.

We planned to leave the house at 8:30 Friday morning.  We prepped the night before.  Baths given, clothes laid out, breakfast ready to grab and go.  It was all going OK and we were headed out the door when Patience ran to me from the backyard.  She and Hope went to feed the dogs and they (brace yourself….this part is upsetting) found that our dog, Andy, had died unexpectedly during the night.

It was awful.  The girls were crying and the little boys, oblivious to the whole thing, were excitedly rushing out the door to get into the car.  James and Jacob were gone.  I was all dressed up for my day in the city and ready to leave.  {sigh}

Patience was really upset, poor thing.  I had to leave her with Grace while I figured out what to do.  I led Hope and Noah out to the backyard.  The 3 of us stood on the patio while I told Noah what had happened.  I handed him some gloves while I put gloves onto my own hands.  We discussed the options.  It was decided that we would wrap Andy in a tarp and put him in a place where other animals couldn’t get to him.  Then when James and Jacob got home the next day they could help us bury him.

While Hope went for the tarp I talked quietly with Noah.  He’s 13 years old.  He is bursting into manhood with the speed of a bullet and having some struggles.  I sensed this was a time God was giving him to step up and do something hard.  I quickly prayed, “God, help me get out of the way for you to do what you want with Noah.”

It was going to have to be Noah doing the heavy lifting.  Hope and I would help, but the weight of the job would fall to him.

“Can you do it?” I asked him seriously.  He took a deep breath, looked over to where he knew the dog was lying and paused.  I silently prayed.  After a minute he turned back to me and simply said, “Yes ma’am.  I can.

He’s always had a father or older brother around to carry the burden of these things.  It’s never fallen so completely on him before.

And he did it.  He never hesitated or winced.  It was a terrible job and yet, so good for my boy-turning-into-a-man.  He needed to know he can do something really, really hard and unpleasant if he has to.  Once, when it got really rough I stepped forward to help, but Noah said, “No Mom, I’ve got it.”  I was proud of him.

45 minutes, many tears and a gallon of sweat later, the boys and I were in the car and headed to the museum.  The rest of the day was busy and HOT.  We played some Tom Chapin in the car and danced while we drove.  We were late to the museum event, but still had a great time.  After the Witte we went to Freddy’s for lunch….that was really fun.  Just me and the 3 boys talking and eating and giggling over silly stuff that boys like.  Someone tooted and that sent the whole table into peals of laughter.  Boys.

By 4:30 the heat started getting to us and we headed for home.  I realized I’d had enough when I noticed I was holding my head in the cooler at Sam’s a little longer than necessary just to get a package of cheese.  Sorry boys, no yogurt.  Mommy is wiped out.  I let them all decide on one special snack-ish thing to get at Sam’s.

That’s the way we do it.  Everyone agrees in 2 minutes or Mommy decides.  And if Mommy decides there’s no guarantee it won’t be something no one really wants…like apples, or nothing at all.  After a little deliberation they chose Cheetos.  The backseat of my car is now is orange, but they were happy.

The rest of the weekend was spent working on the girls’ room makeover and cleaning.  The room is taking oh-so-much-longer than expected.  None of us can figure out why.  We’ve been at it full steam ahead for a week.  I hope this doesn’t turn into the project that just won’t end.

I am not a patient person and a week on one simple project is my limit.  I need the house back; I need the girls to stop sleeping on the couch; I need some frozen yogurt.

Sunday night made up for the rest of the long, hard weekend.  We cooked hot dogs on the grill and the whole family went swimming.  We do this fairly often and it’s such a delight for James and I to hold hands in one “corner” of the pool watching the kids all play and sing and drag each other around laughing.  The pool is full of activity and silliness and I marvel that this is my life.

My favorite part is how the boys and girls naturally separate.  At first everyone is kind of playing together and then, about 10 minutes after the rest of us, Jacob comes out.  As soon as the other boys see him getting in the pool it’s like a magnet.  Within minutes he’s pushing Levi in his little boat around as fast as he can with the 3 other brothers hanging onto his back.  Levi is shouting delightedly, “Go faster Jacob!” while the other boys try to take Jacob down.  Jacob’s laughing and I just watch; my heart melts.  In the middle of the pool, away from the wild and splashing boys the 4 girls hold hands and sing songs, taking turns singing lead, giggling and dancing around.

My family.  A blessing I never could have imagined as a girl growing up in the city.  It’s a life I couldn’t have dreamed for myself, but God knew it would bless my socks off every day.  Every moment, even the hard ones, bring swells of gratitude.

Despite the sadness of the loss of our sweet dog there was a joy to the weekend.  A story of a boy growing up, some rare Mommy time for Adam, Elijah & Levi, the girls’ room getting closer to the goal of being finished and the whole family together in the last moments before a busy week.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

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  1. my heart hurts for your family….but my heart swells for you when I think of your Noah. Watching my Noah aka man-child, become the man God wants him to be is the most stretching pulling exhilarating experience a mother could ask for.

    Thanks for sharing my sweet friend. We need to share some yogurt…soon. Is your recliner still waiting for me? xoxo

    • Thanks Lisa, you’re such a sweet friend. I love that we both have Noahs. They are a blessing! My recliner is always on the ready for whenever you decide to come to Texas! Lisa~

  2. Tears for you and so happy for your family all at once. I would type more but my baby boy is asking why I am crying. Blessings, Bev

    • Aw Bev, I’m sorry. I hope some of those tears are tears of joy. Your sweet baby boy….that makes me smile. Lisa~

  3. That hurts my heart for you and your family, Lisa. What a sad thing to have to experience, and bless sweet Patience’s heart. Please give her a hug from me. I love that sweet girl.

    And Noah? He’s amazing. What a blessing to your family that he got to step up and be the man when he had to be. I know it was hard, but this is a turning point in his life. It’s the hard things that turn us into the people we are.

    Hugs all around!

  4. Ah… How sweet… bittersweet but sweet none the less. It does a momma’s heart good to watch her son step up and be a man doing the hard stuff. I am so sorry to hear about Andy though… I know he will be missed by all. The time in the pool sounds wonderful!

    Its been a week on the girls’ room already? Really? How did that happen? I mean how could it be a week already? We aren’t fairing any better here… LOL

    Praying your week goes well. I know you are so glad to have James and Jacob back home. 🙂

    • Peggy, I’m with you. Time flies doesn’t it?! I am so, so, SO glad to have us all home again. Thanks for the prayers. I hope you have a wonderful week at your place! Lisa~

  5. Go Noah! As a mom of three boys, nothing makes my heart swell more when I see those boys taking those steps to manhood. Lord, guide them along they way and help them be who you want them to be! Love it!

    • Niki, that’s the way I feel too. Thanks for adding to the conversation. I love your prayer! Lisa~

  6. Oh! So sorry to hear about Andy 🙁 What a blessing it is that the Lord gives us these moments for our boys to “rise up.” Noah holds a special place in my heart–please tell him that we are ALL proud of the man he is becoming! And give sweet Patience a hug for me. Having dealt with the temporary loss of our dog this weekend during the rain storms, I can so relate to her tender heart. Love you!

    • Thanks Lisa. It’s such a blessing to have friends that love your kids. Thanks for your tenderness and I’m SO glad you found your dog! Lisa~

  7. What a sweet and sad and happy story. I am sorry about the loss of your dog. I’m sure you and your kids are missing him. Your children all sound amazing and much of it is because you are an amazing mom. God is good and I love how you describe how you see your blessings! We are so blessed 🙂 Have a great week!!

    • Aw thanks Leila! I’m so glad there are blessings through the hard times! Speaking of dogs, I’m so sorry about the barking dogs you are dealing with! I hope it gets better soon. That would drive me insane! Lisa~

  8. Lisa, thank you for sharing this today! It blessed me and reminded me the importance of stepping back and letting my children do an important but possibly difficult job. Bless you!

  9. Precious, precious gifts. I’m so thankful for your eyes to see His Blessings, His Faithfulness, His Provision.

  10. I’ve yet to experience the loss of a pet that isn’t a goldfish, so I can only imagine how that felt. What a strong young man! I’m proud of him, and I’ve yet to someday meet him!

    Here’s a question I’ve wondered about. I like your family’s stance on modesty, and I’m wondering how that plays out with swimsuits? Our family doesn’t mind having bare shoulders for tank tops, and even with that, it’s hard to find modest swimsuits! (bottoms don’t matter, because I’ve always worn longgg board shorts with swimsuits… mostly because if I was to wear typical womens (short) board shorts, the world would be blinded by my lily white skin!) How does your family, with a pool, swim modestly?

    • Becky, the girls wear t-shirts and shorts over one piece bathing suits. Our boys wear rashguards and swim trunks. A couple of the girls have modest swimwear from companies that make them, but they are too expensive for us to keep everyone in them. Sometimes they wear boys’ swim trunks, it just depends. We swim so much that we have to have a couple of options per person.

      I have a swimsuit with a little skirt on it that I wear jogging shorts under and a t-shirt over so it looks like I am wearing one of those old-fashioned suits. Like you, NO ONE wants to see my pale legs! LOL!

      Does that answer your question? Lisa~

  11. I am in tears over the loss of your dog, but loving the joy of seeing your family grow up and become ‘men’.
    Like you, I could never have imagined this life for me, and I hope I never cease to praise God for what He decided for me… It’s waaaay more than I could ever have asked or thought.
    Blessings to y’all – on another continent, but brought together at the feet of our Lord 🙂

    • Croft, isn’t it awesome how God can bring friends together over thousands of miles?! I am constantly amazed that I have sisters in Australia and I am determined to get there someday to meet you all! Lisa~

  12. Such a sweet post! We lost our family dog several years ago and we mourned over her for months.

  13. Oh Lisa, I had no idea you lost your pet last week. You were right, this one brought on the waterworks but what a beautifully written post. So very happy to call you a friend. Can’t wait to hug you today … will have to figure out a way to get you some yogurt sometime soon as well 🙂 See you in a few!

    • Thanks Stacy! It was great to see you yesterday! What a treat to see each other twice in a week. More hugs Friday! Lisa~

  14. So sorry for your loss. What a sweet boy you have to handle it so well.

  15. I am so sorry about your dog! But I am glad that through it all y’all had a blessed day and were still able to dance! I love the title of this post! If I could put our summer into words it would be these! 🙂

  16. I loved reading this. I feel like my littles are making my life crazy insane all the time & I just honestly can’t imagine how it is with 9!! It is my prayer that I am patient, passionate, & savoring every moment….so proud of the example you set! – Goodness Gathering

    • Thanks Katy. It does get crazy sometimes, but stooping and saying a quick prayer always brings me back to the right perspective. ♥ Lisa~

  17. Oh Lisa, I am so sorry about your dog. That is so hard and it is so hard to see your children hurting.

  18. Lisa, I’m so sorry about your dog. That happened to us once, too. Our happy, healthy, young dog just didn’t wake up one morning and it was completely shocking and horrible. It sounds like you all handled that difficult situation with grace and love.

    Also, I love your, “Everyone agrees in 2 minutes or Mommy decides.” Totally going to try that with my kiddos. Brilliant!

    • Aw thanks Colleen! It was so hard to walk in that morning and just be all happy and carefree. I kept thinking about my kids at home that were grieving over the dog.

      You’re going to love the 2 minute plan. I tell them, “Y’all have 2 minutes to decide, GO!” then I just step back. After that time if they haven’t decided I just chooes what I think is best and we move on. No one is allowed to fuss about it. Life is full of imperfections and I want my kids to know that these little things just aren’t that important and sometimes it’s more important to just let someone else have what they want.


  19. I am so sorry to hear about your dog Lisa, I’m impressed that you made it to the Witte after all of that. Hope your family is doing well, losing a beloved pet is never easy.

    • Thanks Neven! I was very close to not going, but my little boys had been looking forward to it all week and I didn’t want to add another disappointment onto their already sad day. 🙂 Lisa~

  20. I just love you to pieces. Your writing makes me smile So sorry for your loss. You handled it beautifully. 🙂
    I was in your neck of the woods again. One of these days…we will meet up again. 🙂

  21. I’m so sorry about your dog! It’s hard to lose that special family member.
    I can imagine how proud you were of your son. It’s wonderful to see them turn into men.
    It sounds like you have a great family!