Sunday, March 27, 2016

a resurrection story

He is risen, indeed!

As our family celebrates Easter this year, the Resurrection seems extra close to our hearts. Jesus died, going to our darkest place, the place that we as humans most fear. He willingly passed into emptiness, solitude, agony, pain, and even the grave itself. But the story didn't end there, of course. Today we celebrate His rising, and with it all the hope He restored to our broken world.

My mother-in-law, Anne, has had a hell of a year. Since last July, she has endured grueling chemo, radiation, pancreatitis, and a crazy surgery. But by the grace of God and through the miracle of medicine and an early diagnosis, she has come out on the other side. She has been declared cancer-free, something we were all afraid we would never hear. This year she has been to dark places. She has faced pain, loneliness, fear, confusion...emotions I cannot even imagine. But the beauty of Easter holds true. Jesus himself went to those dark places. When we travel these roads, we can take comfort in the fact that he, in human form, traveled them before us. And more importantly, we can rest in his Resurrection, for no matter what the end of our path looks like, God has redeemed us and shown us the magnitude of his love for us through His Son's rising. Because of the Resurrection, our hope is real.

While we celebrate Christ's Resurrection, I am also celebrating Anne's own personal resurrection. Anne is a fabulous grandmother--she is very active and hands-on with our children, and they adore playing with her. Since July, though, it's been tough. We've had to tell them she is sick, temper their expectations. She has had to miss outings, watch from afar. But this weekend, the spark has returned. We haven't had to remind them that Gigi is sick even once. She has rallied for the egg hunt and the crafts and the play time. She has sat with them at every meal, watched them perform countless shows, helped them dye eggs. She's read books and kissed booboos. While she certainly isn't back to 100%, and while we may have completely worn her out, I know our kids are leaving with the sense that Gigi is well again. And my heart is so full.

He is risen, indeed.

the whole Shafer crew

Easter morning 2016

my set of shafers

Sunday, March 20, 2016

to frances

While finally organizing our master bedroom, I found these:

Long-closed vestiges of my former life. A life lived in high-heels and business attire that came with a bit of glamour (see above) and a dose of drudgery (see long days and nights, billable hours, working on holidays). While I've chosen to walk away from that world for now, I am constantly searching for ways to remind my sweet daughter that a woman's place isn't only in the home.

If you ask Frances what she wants to be when she grows up, she usually says a mom. Which is awesome. And flattering. And hopefully will come true. I hope that one day she finds a wonderful partner and that, if they so choose, they are able to start a family of their own. But I worry that seeing me as "just a mom" sometimes taints her views of what women can achieve.

The concept of having it all is tricky. I believe we can, as both men and women, "have it all" in the sense of career and family and faith and voluntarism and all the other goals we have. I don't, however, believe we can always have it all at the same time. We make choices, hard choices, and change our priorities depending on our life stage. So yes, for now Frances sees me as "just a mom." But as she has gotten older, she has begun to understand that even her "just mom" works a bit from home. That other moms work full-time while their little ones are in school. She is surrounded by so many amazing examples of how to be a woman. She knows that Virginia's mom is a lawyer, that Emmylou's mom makes beautiful music. She knows that Aunt Christina stays home with her kids, while Aunt Bec teaches other little kids.

When I first asked Frances whether a woman could be president, she immediately said no. Needless to say, we've had some discussions since then, and she now proudly proclaims that a woman can be president as well as anything else...that girls can be anything boys can be. Oh sweet girl, hold on to that truth. Hold tightly to the truth that you can achieve your dreams. And I'll hold on to these fabulous shoes for you.