She Said–Our December

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Our December:

December 1 2012: Noel Night in downtown Detroit.  All the museums are open for viewing for FREE, and there are carolers everywhere.

The 40th annual Noel Night. . . attracted over 50,000 visitors—the largest yet! Over 75 Midtown venues, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Michigan Science Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Detroit Public Library, amongst many others, opened their doors to the public FREE of CHARGE during this Cultural Center-wide holiday “open house.” Activities included horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 120 area music, theatre, and dance groups. The evening’s festivities culminated with a community sing-along on Woodward Avenue led by the Salvation Army Band—a long-standing Noel Night tradition.

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We met friends at The DIA–right beside The Thinker.

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All clear cold night, the Christmas music, the ice sculpture, everything lent a magical feeling to the evening.

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It was cold out, so we bundled up.

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There were 50,000 people milling around, so the girls both wore their lighted necklaces, I never let go of Little Man, and LBG (Little Big Guy), had his cell phone on him.  I also wrote my cell phone number on the back of Eloise’s hands.

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There was music at every venue.  We enjoyed a chorus of bells outside, . .

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And some symphonic carols indoors.

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The Detroit Downtown Library was beautifully light up outside. . .

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. . .and filled with beautiful artwork indoors.

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Here is our party looking up at a mural.

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This mural of Michigan is stunning.

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I saw my first 3-D printer in action.  It layers plastic, one thin layer upon the next, to make a 3D model.  Fascinating!

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Outdoors again, we had our photo taken with this Theater Group.

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We finished a very fun evening with Crepes from Good Girls Go To Paris.  We got home after midnight with kids still awake, but we had a fun night–a great way to start off the Christmas month.

December 7, 2012:  Friday.  We usually go down to Mr. Ryans for wood carving on Fridays.  This Friday the festive Christmas mood had left me, and instead I was very, very sad.  I had just learned that my grandpa had been admitted to a Nursing Home.  I also was dreading the surgery of a good friend of mine on Monday.  The combination left me overwhelmed.  We arrived at Mr. Ryans at 10:00, and I promptly started crying.  He had me put my feet up on the woodstove, brought me a coffee, and let me cry and talk.  He is in his 80’s and has buried his wife and daughter and many good friends, so he understood.

December 8, 2012:  Saturday.  Scout had her last soccer game of the season.  Her Daddi was praying that she would score a goal as she hadn’t yet score during indoor soccer.  She scored TWICE!  That may not seem like a big deal, but to me and all my worries, it reminded me that if GOD even cared about the little things, HE cared even more about the Big Worries.

December 9, 2012:  Sunday.  We attend a Youth Orchestra, and signed up to join once the new semester begins in January–Scout on cello, Eloise on violin, and LBG on bass guitar in the Jazz Band.

December 10, 2012:  Monday.  My very good friend Marj donated most of her liver to her brother.  The initial report was that both had survived their surgeries, and that “the liver took.”  WHEW!!!  They both had a long recovery, but my big fear that Marj wouldn’t make it through was mostly behind me.

December 12, 2012:  Wednesday.  We loaded in the van to drive down to Cleveland Clinic to visit Marj.  She was just out of ICU.  Now I plan on writing a post on Marj and her heroic deed, so I won’t include 100 picture this time.   It was WONDERFUL to see them–just wish it didn’t require a liver transplant.

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December 14, 2012:  Friday.  It may seem crazy to you, but on the 14th this family celebrated Christmas.  As a pilot’s wife (they always work holidays) I have learned that birthdays and Christmas and anniversaries happen when we decide, not when the calendar says.  I had wanted to wait, but The Hunni, said this was the day.  Thankfully, I was ready.

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After breakfast the kids once again headed down to Mr. Ryan’s for woodcarving.  They needed to finish up some gifts, and I needed some time to get a very simple turkey dinner prepared.

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Oh it is so much fun to watch a child at Christmas time!

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And OH! it is so much fun to watch a Daddi at Christmas time.  This Daddi is watching his son do this. . .

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A bass guitar.  Something The Daddi always wanted.

We ended up having a houseful of kids for supper.  It wasn’t a “typical” Christmas, but it was very happy, and it was ours.  And I was VERY thankful that we had celebrated Christmas early because. . .

December 15, 2012.  Saturday.  I get the phone call that says my grandpa has gone HOME.

I am thankful.  He was finally HOME, not in a nursing home.  HOME.  HOME with his LORD and SAVIOUR.  . . .but the tears still come. . .and flow. . .I love and loved him greatly.  He lived next door (next door in the country is 1/4 mile) to us all my life.  Someday, I will write a post about him.  The news is bittersweet.

December 17, 2012.  Monday.  We wake up at 5:30 a.m. in the morning.  By 6:00 we are backing out the driveway headed south.  We were going to the Farm, for grandpa’s funeral.

December 20, 2012.  Thursday.  Grandpa Clem’s funeral.

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There were hellos.

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There was family.  So many people traveled long distances to come.  (Here are some of the California cousins.)

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There were generations.

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There was workers.  (So many people worked hard.)

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There was food.

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There were stories.

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There were visits with friends.

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There were cousins.  (Our birthdays go Jan, Feb., March, and April, and we all turn 40 this year.)

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And there were even more cousins.

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And on a windy, snow-swept hilltop, there was a good-bye.

December 21, 2012.  Friday.  This is the day that most of the visitors and cousins left.  A few stayed through the weekend, but most were gone.  The Hunni had to go back to work as well.  This was also Eloise’s birthday, but nobody felt like celebrating.

December 22, 2012.  Saturday.  We looked at the calendar and realized that perhaps this was the only day we could fit in two birthday celebrations.

No one was in the birthday spirit, but we gathered together for a party and despite the “flat” feeling, we had a happy time together.

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A present came from the West Coast Grandpa and Grandma!

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Cupcakes was the theme, with a pinata to bust.

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Eloise loved every minute of it!

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Back indoors there were warm home-made pretzels.

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My brother not only made them, but also gave us a history lesson on pretzels.

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More presents were exchanged and directions read.

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Here is Grandma with her Name Sake.

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And here is my sister, Faith.  She lived in Florida, but just moved home to stay with my grandma now that she is alone.

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Here is Little Man with the biggest love of his heart–kitty.

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Supper of BBQ Pulled Pork and Slaw Salad over, it was time to sing Happy Birthday to Grandpa and Eloise.

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Little Man blew out the candles in the middle of the first song, so we had to stop and light them and start all over again.

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But he finally got what he wanted all along.  The icing off the top of several cupcakes.

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The birthday two.

December 25, 2012.  Tuesday.  Christmas Day, but things are quiet.  There is a huge storm hitting the southern states, and it is headed towards the farm.  My dad checks the weather, and decided that either I leave today or I leave in three days, as a foot of snow is predicted.  I thought about staying for three days, but then I get the call from The Hunni that says he will be headed home to Detroit that night.  Apparently Dispatch had forgotten that The Hunni had to work three extra days because of the time he asked off for the funeral.  They looked at the charts again, then called back and said, “Merry Christmas, you are headed home anyway.”  With this news, I decided to head out Christmas Day to beat the snow storm.  Christmas morning was sweetrolls and packing up all the suitcases.  At grandpa and grandma’s farm, we manage to scatter our belongings not only all over the house, but over at cousin’s houses as well.

Although I had been at the Farm for a week, I had never gone down to see Grandma for a visit, so I put my 12 year old in the driver’s seat, and told him to drive me the 1/4 mile down the road.  It was a Christmas present for LBG.  At Grandma’s the boys picked out a tie they wanted to keep from Great-Grandpa Clem, and I took several of Grandpa’s plaid shirts.  I hope to make a quilt out of them for my dad.  Nothing fancy.  Something he can take to the field for picnics.  I hope I make some time this summer to piece it together.

Turkey dinner and pecan pie, and then I glanced at the clock.  It was almost 3:00.   I needed to leave, as I had 8 -9 hours of driving, a car full of kiddos, and a banging head cold.

We made it home despite the bad battery.  The only restaurant opened was Steak and Shake, and a cold milkshake on a sore throat sounded wonderful.  My dad was worried about my bad battery, so he handed me $50 before I headed out of the driveway.  My mom was also worried about my bad battery and the fact that it was Christmas Day and everything would be closed.  She tried to slip me some cash as well.  I was very thankful for the $50 as I realized that I didn’t have any cash.  Normally this is fine, but with it being Christmas and a storm coming and a banging headcold and a bad battery, it was a worry rested.

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December 26, 2012.  Wednesday at 12:30 a.m.  We arrive home, turn up the heat, and crawl into beds.  That morning we all woke up sick.  And one by one we have had the stomach bug or the achy-shakes until the New Year.

That was our December.  It was bitter and sweet.  There were hellos and good-byes.  Marj donated her liver so her borhter could love–a miracle of love and medicine and grandpa’s life ended in glory–a miracle of CHRIST’s death.  Tears and laughter.


P.S.  I am having computer problems, so it has been almost impossible to post anything.  I only get about 3 minutes before everything shuts down, so sorry about the typos.

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12 Responses to She Said–Our December

  1. Bel McCoy says:

    So thankful you were able to make it to the farm for the funeral and visiting!!! What a gift…. a part of a liver!!!! Are they both ok now?? Amazing!! Dear Clem will be badly missed by all!!!
    Thanks for sharing, and hope you are well again!! My Merry read your year end letter and she
    would send her love. There is one busy lady… 6 from 5 to 19… kindergarten to college.


  2. bethany says:

    bittersweet, been thinking of you and knew about your Grandpa, so so hard to say goodbye. thx for the pics and the update. xoxo. oh, and I think I spied Khet, the laser chess-like thing? Douglas has it and likes it, but has no real challengers to play with up here. Also, hi Faith!


    • whitsendmom says:

      Yes! It was the laser chess-like thing. If you get tired of the cold, just swing down to the farm and my nephew would be glad to have someone to play him.


  3. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Rebecca, for this report of your Grandpa’s funeral. Philip and I left with the BTP van, for the Burbank conference, the day U. Clem was called Home. We were so sorry to miss his funeral, but so happy his journey is over. We are praying for all of you, especially A. Mina. I remember from a long time ago how much she missed him when he was traveling. I am so thankful that we can look every day for the call, Come up hither! Then we will all be together, never to parted again. And each day that goes by only means that it is even more likely it will be today! Love to you all. 🙂


    • whitsendmom says:

      Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. Your old house was filled with a night of cousins remembering their grandpa. We all sat around Caleb’s living room and talked late into the night. It was interesting to hear the different stories from everyone, as the older grandkids had very different memories than the younger ones.


  4. Lisa Buchanan says:

    I’ve been reading the kids “Heaven is for Real”. SO EXCITING to think about Heaven and all our loved ones waiting . . . can’t wait!!! Sorry about your stomach bug, that has to be the worst!


  5. Susan C says:

    Your grandpa was such a blessing to so many, near and far! His visit to my parent’s house well over 20 years ago and my single visit to their home once are both vivid memories. It is harder to lose a grandparent as an adult than as a child I think because you understand and appreciate them so much more the older you get. Your kids were blessed to have so many years to get to know their great grandpa. With real sympathetic tears and prayers for comfort, Susan


  6. laura says:

    Big hugs to you! So hard to lose our loved ones! Loved the pic of your brother sitting on the arm of the couch holding his loves hand…made me smile 🙂


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