Back in April, when my mother was in a rehabilitation center recovering from her broken hip, I used to sit with her and talk about the day we would "put our toes in the water."
Her doctor had prescribed a heavy dosage of medication, so, at the time, she was mostly incoherent and could not carry on a basic conversation. Occasionally her eyes would roll back in her head and her whole body would shake.
There were a few days when I wasn't sure she would ever come back to us, so I would sit and hold her hand and occasionally remind her of our plans by saying, "Mom, we're going to help you to get better, and then I am going to take you down to the bay right by your house, and we're going to put our toes in the water."
She would usually smile and whisper, "Oh, won't that be nice!"
Alia painted a watercolor to remind me of this dream:
Well, a week ago Thursday the weather was beautiful, and since my children were out of school, we had a full day to spend with my mom and dad. I got excited and thought, "Could this be the day?"
I called my dad on the phone and asked his feelings about my proposed field trip, and he felt confident that we could make it happen.
When I arrived at my parents' house, my dad had my mom all dressed and ready to go. We carefully guided Mom down the front steps and lowered her into her wheelchair. Then we walked two blocks to the bay and pulled her wheelchair across the sand.
See the tracks?
My children enjoyed an afternoon playing in the water . . .
My dad took a much-needed rest under our beach umbrella (see how cute he is?), and I sat with my mom, just a few feet from the shoreline:
It was beautiful and sacred to finally be in such a happy spot. And the whole time I was there, I thought, "This is a tender mercy from the Lord."
Mom didn't have a lot to say that day, and she spent most of the afternoon feeling concerned about a class she thought she was supposed to teach that night.
My children had several spells of crankiness, and there were a dozen moments during the day that went terribly wrong.
But for about 45 minutes, I got to sit on the beach and make a dream come true.
Here is a little video:
I knew it was a tender mercy during that moment, but I didn't realize how much of a tender mercy it was until just a few days ago.
My mom had another fall on Wednesday and re-broke the exact same hip. Now she is in a new rehabilitation center for the next few months.
I have high hopes that we will be able to go to the bay again next summer, but when I think realistically about my mom's health situation, I realize that this may have been our last time.
However, when my heart starts to hurt for my mom, I think about this beautiful gift--this day we got to "put our toes in the water."
It was a tender mercy.
(Wasn't that so nice of the Lord to do that for us?)
So I'm sharing my story to remind each of us that the Lord cares about what happens in families. And He will provide tender mercies for you, as well.
I've noticed that tender mercies usually happen in the midst of challenging times.
They are often simple, and can easily go unnoticed.
But when we look for them, and thank Him for them, they bring a special kind of peace into our lives.
These pictures and these memories are holding me together right now.
I am worried about my mom, and I am not even close to being ready to say goodbye.
But even though I don't know the end the story, I do know that the Lord is watching out for us. For all of us. And for that, I am very grateful.