Saturday, June 13, 2009

Joshua - The All Star

Joshua and his team stand at attention for the National Anthem.

It's been a rough week. However, life doesn't stop...for anyone or anything. We started the weekend very early, around 7am, getting everyone ready to head out to Loganville. Yes, Loganville. Joshua's All Star tournament started and his game was first, 10 am. We needed to be there by 9am which meant we had to leave here by 8:15. Wouldn't you know that THIS would be the morning all the kids would want to sleep in!

After a nice LONG drive down Sugarloaf Pkwy, we made it to Bay Creek Park in Grayson. We dropped Joshua off at the batting cages and took the other boys to the playground. They are such troopers to hang around and play while Joshua plays. And they do let us watch the game! Thankfully, at this park, the playground was RIGHT next to the field we were playing on! PTL!
The game started at 10am. I was a bit angry, I admit, to see that Joshua was still on the bench when the game began. He wasn't starting. But I trust his coaches and knew that he would get his time later. It was a pretty easy top of the 1st. Our pitcher, Logan, got everyone out. No baserunners. We scored 1 in the bottom of the 1st. We go to the 2nd up 1-0. I was glad to see Joshua's sweet face out in left field. In baseball ready position, legs apart and knees bent with his glove poised, he was ready for action. Again, an easy inning with no runs scoring. Joshua got up to bat in the bottom of the 2nd with bases loaded and 2 outs. Unfortunately, he struck out. I hurt for him. I know he's nervous. This is a lot of pressure for an 8 year old. But he took it in stride.
He came out in the 3rd inning to catch. He did great! He ended up catching the rest of the game! In the 4th inning, he got to bat again and got an RBI single up the 1st base line. He would later score a run! The Blue Lions would win the game 11-2! Yay! We get a bye tomorrow and play on Monday night at 8pm.

I am so proud of all my kids, of course. But today I was especially proud of Joshua. He didn't complain that he didn't start in the game. He did what he was told, when he was told, where he was told. I am mostly proud of him because, when he wasn't batting, he was in the dugout standing against the fence cheering for his teammates. He was always in the game, paying attention, being supportive. (Not all the other kids were.) What a great child (excuse me, young man) God has blessed us with!

To their credit, Zach and Elijah did great too. They played on the playground the ENTIRE time without complaining so we could watch the game.
Thanks to all 3 of my guys! I'm proud to be your mom!

Friday, June 12, 2009

After several days of mourning, planning, paying respects, seeing family and friends, explaining death to my kids, comforting my husband and dealing with all the other junk life throws at you, it's time to get back to life as usual. Janet's memorial service was yesterday afternoon. It was quite lovely (Naomi!). Close to 400 people showed up to pay their respects and say one last goodbye to their friend, mentor, teacher, aunt, sister-in-law, mother-in-law. We thank everyone who came and those who have sent flowers and cards. Seeing how many people were touched by Janet Julian has really been a remarkable thing. Now...back to normal life.
Normal? Will life ever be "normal" again? What is normal? I was getting ready this morning, back to the usual grind of what a Friday morning brings (volunteering at church, getting ready for work, etc.) and started thinking. I actually started feeling a little guilty. I'm just no near as upset and I think I should be, or thought I would be. Maybe I'm in "take care" mode and making sure that my husband and kids get through this and I'll grieve later. Maybe I'm in shock still and it just hasn't hit me yet. Or maybe, since I've been through this many times before, I've just turned myself off. My grandparents died when I was younger. Then I lost my mom and dad to cancer. Then my other grandparents. Then Steven and I had severe marital issues. I'm starting to think that, subconciously, I've just turned myself off so that I don't feel anything anymore because it just hurts too much. I just won't allow myself time to really think about it because I just can't stand all the pain that this life has brought. I know God never said it would be easy and there would be trials, but come on! Sometimes it seems more than I can take! Thankfully, God has gotten me through each hardship, as He promised. But I do think that I am a harder, more guarded person because of it. And I fear that my kids and my husband suffer the consequences of that.
But this is not about me. Steven still hasn't grieved the way I think he needs to. Being the good man that he is, he is concerned with getting back to work to provide for his family. He concerned about his dad, as we all are, and wants to take care of him too. I want to make sure they are both ok. I'm not quite sure how to do that except to be here. I will give hugs and listen when need be. That's all I can do. I pray that God gives me the strength and compassion to do that. I pray that Steven and Dave (Mark, Kent and Janna as well) will be comforted by the Holy Spirit and work through their grief. Someone asked me if you ever get over it. I had to tell them no. The pain of losing a parent or spouse never really goes away. You just learn to live with it. Lord, help us learn the best way to live with it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Losing a Legend

Janet Marshall Julian, loving wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and friend, passed away suddenly this morning. We are all in shock right now, but dealing well. God is good and comforting always. It helps to know that Janet is now with her Lord Jesus and partying with Him and her parents (and mine). That made my kids smile.

In this age of technology, word of her passing spread very quickly. The outpouring of love from friends and family all over the world via email, Facebook, etc has been tremendous. Thank you all for your kind words and prayers. Having taught for 30 years in this area, it's hard to find someone who DOESN'T know Janet and who HASN'T been touched by her. Just last night, while I was working at Gwinnett Stadium, I met a man whose son just graduated and had Janet as a teacher. I also have friends from my job at Perimeter Church who know her or have married people that were her students. (We always say the Julians are the center of the universe. Just about everyone knows them!) What a blessing to hear how Janet has touched so many lives.

For me, she was a mom. Having lost my mom to cancer 8 years ago, Janet was the only mother figure I had left. I am one of 4 daughters-in-law, but she always made me feel special. Not a visit went by that she didn't tell me that she knew she couldn't replace my mom, but wanted to be a mom to me. I appreciated that. It helped me through a lot of difficult times.

To my kids, she was Grammy. Giver of money for good report cards and player of Sorry Sliders or Mr. Mouth or Dominoes. They loved going to her house. They cried when I told them the news. Zach, my 5 (soon to be 6) year old was the most hurt. After many tears, he turned to me and said, "Now I only have one grandparent left." (Amazing how smart kids are!) Joshua has been concerned about Grandaddy, wanting to make sure he is ok. (He is so compassionate!) And Elijah, noticing my tears, asked me what was wrong. When I told him I was sad, he came over and hugged my leg and said, "I so sorry, Mommy. I so sorry." Their energy and joy have helped today.

Steven is with his dad working out details. There is always so much to do when a loved one dies. It's almost like your body turns on the auto pilot and you go into "get things done" mode. (I've been there twice.) The problem with it is....what happens after all the services are over, everyone has said their goodbyes and friends and family go back to their daily lives? I love my husband dearly and am saddened for him at the loss of his mother. But I hurt more for Dave and the loss of his life companion. They would have celebrated 50 years of marriage in August. After being with someone day in and day out for so long, how do you go on without them? I thought the same thing when my mom died. I just can't imagine. Losing a parent is VERY hard. But losing a spouse has got to be 100 times harder, at least. I tear up and get a knot in my throat just typing this out now. Please keep the entire Julian family in your prayers, but especially Dave.

Janet, we love you. We will miss you. We are glad that we know where you are and who you are with. We look forward to seeing you again someday soon. Thank you for raising 3 great sons and 1 great daughter. Thank you for being a fantastic grammy to my kids (and the 9 others). You will always hold a special place in our hearts!