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Somewhere over the rainbow

July 9, 2018

Some things from childhood linger.  Special foods.  Memories of perfect days.  Even best friends and their mothers who become an integral part of your story.  Just the other day, I saw a post on social media that brought tears to my eyes.  When I was young, my very best friend was my brother.  We did everything together and there are times when I long to go back to those carefree days of banana seat bikes, romping in the woods by the pecan trees, and creating our own fun.

Recently, my husband was taken aback by my response to a post about the age of Disney’s “The Fox and the Hound”.  At first, he believed his method for determining if movies are worth anyone’s time and money by the tears I shed was the culprit.  If Kandy doesn’t cry, then no one should pay hard earned money to watch this. In his defense, I cry at Hallmark commercials, game winning touchdowns, inspirational underdogs, most television shows, and all kinds of movies; so his sentiments are pretty spot on. Yet, he thought I was still pouring forth tears over the tale of the unlikely friendship between Todd and Copper.  Oh, do not get me wrong!  Just thinking of that friendship makes me teary-eyed.  And seriously if you don’t cry at the ending of this movie or Ol’ Yeller, I think something is seriously wrong with you or at the very least, you have never been loved by a dog like I have.  But when I explained the reason for my tears, my husband who thinks he knows everything there is to know about me (– and he is flat wrong.  A girl cannot give away all her secrets in the first 25 years of marriage -) was shocked.

I cried because that one tug-at-your-heart, tearjerker movie was the first time I attended a movie without my brother.  In fact, I was so distraught that I walked out of the theatre and asked to go home 10 minutes in because I felt so disloyal to my little brother.  My friend (an only child) and her mother were shocked by my reaction and coaxed me into staying.  I still tear up thinking about it.

That niggling guilty feeling of leaving a loved one out creeps up on me whenever we embark on a new adventure that I know Reed would have enjoyed.  I don’t let his absence ruin our fun, but in the deep dark recesses of my heart and mind, thoughts of “Reed would have loved this” or “I can’t wait to tell Reed about this” fleetingly escape from my soul.

Just as my childhood was filled with special friends and memories; so too are my children’s.  We often sit back and giggle about many of those precious people and moments all these years later.  For Reed’s birthday, his very first best friend’s mom brought over a balloon, cupcakes, hugs (my favorite) and then the best gift of all (a shared memory).  Derek and Reed have been friends since they were toddlers when our families met a library story hour.  Kristi remembered Reed’s love of rainbows and how he prayed for one on his sixth birthday as a “gift” from the older brother he never knew.  I share the story in my book, but the faith of child reminded us then and now that heaven isn’t very far away.  Reed got his wish and Noah (with God’s help) produced the biggest rainbow for his birthday gift.

After her final hug, Kristi told me they were leaving for vacation, but along the way they would be looking for Reed’s rainbow.  What love!  There was balm in Gilead from one grieving mom to another.  Just knowing their family would be looking was gift alone.  The fact that they found not one, but a double rainbow on their trip brought true joy!

Reed's rainbox 1

Photo courtesy of K. Buysse.

The next day we were leaving for a stay at Disney for a national convention for me and for vacation for our family.  That tiny little guilt of never having taken Reed to a Disney park creeped back into my thoughts.  I was heartbroken for the milestone that would never happen. As I was just about to hit my knees in prayer for all the grieving mommas and their missed moments, something in my spirit said, “Look up!”.

My tear-filled eyes feasted on one of the most priceless works of art right outside our resort window.   My prayers changed from ones of grief to ones of praise for the amazing God painting (as Reed used to call them) and to ones of thanks for friends who remember the sacred stories and live them with us.

Reed's rainbow 2

Photo courtesy of N. Janas. 

Wherever you are today, I wish for creation to speak to your heart.  I long for tears to cleanse your soul as they do mine (even if it’s at the movies).  I hope the love of childhood memories lingers on.  But most importantly, I pray that God uses all of us to be the vessels of hopes and dreams and living out precious memories for others.

Be blessed. Keep your heart and eyes open.  Stay curious. And go to the library, because you never know along with a good book, you just might find your lifelong best friend!

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