Kim and I live here in Houston and only about 15 minutes from our daughter, Heidi Slay and her husband, David (first responder - Firefighter), and three children, Brodie, 10, Dillon, 6 (almost 7) and Finley, 5. We also have family on the east coast that we miss very much as well. Who knows when we'll be getting with them any time in the near future.*
Before this health concern happened, Kim and I were with our Houston kids and grandkids two to three times a week. Our family calendar was full! We attended church together, I subbed at the school where the older two attended 4th and 1st grades (subbing sometimes in their classes). Sometimes I picked up Finley at her preschool in Sugar Land. Kim and I attended ballet recitals, soccer, basketball and baseball games, and every school and church program on the calendar. Now, none of these activities and events are taking place and we don't know when they will resume.
Before all this happened, the Slays lived with us for a while as they searched for a new home. Kim and I began telling the kids bedtime stories that we made up - fantasy or adventure stories - and we had them on the edge of their beds almost every night. We would take them to the farm with us. That's a big treat! We would watch the kids if Heidi needed to run errands or go to appointments. We have bikes, scooters, balls of all kinds, a swing set, and sidewalk chalk and they would play hopscotch, and foursquare on our driveway and sidewalks. Sometimes, to give Heidi and David a little break, we would invite the kids to spend the night on a Friday or Saturday night. And last but not least, they love helping Kim in his garden. If we aren't careful, they will eat all of the green beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
These things are what the three miss the most, as I am told: Brodie misses trips to the farm and going fishing with Kim. Dillon misses spending the night. Finley misses playing Four Square on our driveway. Even though we cannot do those things right now, we have tried to come up with other activities to fill in the gaps. We still tell stories these days, but on FaceTime. They love it. Kim and I have started riding bikes again and it's about a five mile trip to their house. Sometimes we call ahead and sometimes we don?t, but we almost always end up taking at least two or three for a bike ride in their neighborhood. The hardest part for us and them is not being able to give hugs and kisses to one another. They ask when they can go back to doing all these things, and we tell them we hope it's very soon. We also tell them many, many times that we love them so very much. It is so hard.
What has helped all of us is the availability of our church services and events online. They keep us grounded, focused, and reminded every day of the love of God, what He means to us, and what we mean to Him.
Kim and I pray a simple prayer with the kids when we put them to bed, either or FaceTime or in person:
Jesus, tender shepherd hear me,
Bless thy little lamb tonight
Through the darkness be thou with me,
Keep me safe ?til morning light.
All this day thy hand hath led me,
And I thank thee for thy care,
Thou hast clothed and warmed and fed me,
Listen to my evening prayer.
May my sins be all forgiven,
Bless the friends I love so well,
Take us all with thee to heaven,
Happy there with thee to dwell.
I will say I have prayed that prayer for so many nights when this first started. I still pray it every night, for comfort, peace, and assurance.
*We also have four grandchildren who live on the east coast. The oldest one, an 8th grader who is also an ?e-student?, has called Kim twice for help with his Physics assignments!
Patti Randolph 5/22/2020