Thursday, July 31, 2014


There were bees buzzing round my feet
The day we opened the ground
And gently placed you in it.
I remember that much.
Bees on clover
Like any ordinary day.

It wasn't you at all
(Not really)
In that box of cold, hard granite that
could never hold you.

Your bright, warm spirit would never feel at home there.
Which is good
Since this isn't home.

I know you must spend some time looking in on us
Between walks on golden streets
And visits with your mother.

And I think you must have smiled on us that day
We, who tremble and ache with grief.
We, who just don't get it.

Did you and Lulu and Mims and Pips
All stop by together
To watch the silly ones?
Crying during the meantime darkness.
Missing you.

I remember thinking how strange it was
That life went on
For you.
And other people.
And bees.

The blink of an eye
Is longer than I thought.
And longer for him than for me.
Longer still for the old man,
Who leans on a cane and God
since he can't lean on you,
Though he wants to, desperately.

It won't be long now
(What are days and weeks and months and years?)
When I'll watch the bees again.
And you'll watch me
Watching them.
I'll be crying, because I just don't get it.
Crying, because I can't get past
my own missing.

And you'll pause for a moment with us.
(I'm sure you love this spot.)
And then the Delightful Laugh
And the Smiling Eyes
Will dance off hand-in-hand,
Leaving me with the cane
And the bees.

© 2014 Laurie Sitterding

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


My son PT is heading off to college soon, and I think it is so fun that he planned a last "date night" with his little sister EL, taking her to her first live concert ever.

What a memory this will be for her! (And for him, too, probably...but don't tell him I said so!)

Here's to great big brothers who love their little sisters well!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Baby Bluebirds and Baby Boys

From this:

to this:

Apparently we missed the laying of a fourth egg while we were off with my son to his summer orientation for college.  As our little bluebird couple prepares to fledge their second brood of the summer, we are preparing to fledge our second-born off to college.  Soon after we recover from that, we will "fledge" our first-born in marriage.

Hooray for our little bluebird house, and our first batch of babies!  Someday they'll look like this:


Someone with more time and photographic skill on her hands than I have, chronicled the entire process here

I'm viewing these little birds as a living reminder to me of the normalcy and naturalness of sending your babies off--once they're ready--to face the world without you. It is strange to think that soon two of my children will be living elsewhere. I will miss them desperately. (If one's children are burdensome or irksome, I would imagine it might be nice to arrive at the, "Bye, see you later!" stage of things. But when they're delightful--and you count them among your very best friends and enjoy being with them as much as anyone on the planet--it is pretty difficult!)

I would imagine in the end, it feels a little bit like this:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

We Had Seasons in the Sun

As I read this post from Shauna Niequist this morning, I was filled with nostalgia and family memories of summers gone by on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We don't have our own little island, and our memories don't house conch fritters and row-boat rides, but I loved reading about her precious times with her family, and the million little memories that have stacked onto one another over their years of visiting the same place, together.

Ever since my parents scraped together the funds to buy a piece of heaven-on-earth when I was in high school, we've been able to stack memories, one on top of the other, of yearly summer weeks spent together.  And Memorial Day.  Labor Day.  Cold winter weekends to get away during the off-season--just you and some folks you love sharing nothing in particular, but doing it together.  Retreats for church women--that much-needed get-away for harried young mothers, afforded only because of the generosity of my folks.  I doubt they knew all they were providing when they made that purchase all those years ago.  My family has precious memories I could never have afforded to provide--not even once, let alone year after year--because of the generous provision of two parents who gathered the generations by the seashore every summer.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for providing us with this blessing for all the years of our married life!  Our family trips to the NC shore are precious to me.  I'm full of precious memories with precious people over many precious, fleeting years.

From quiet, carefree, joy-filled days getting to know each other as husband and wife... to a tiny newborn sleeping in a drawer... setting up sun tents for sandy, sleeping infants (who no doubt have sand clutched in their teeny fists)... fits thrown at bedtime, or when it's time to get out of the hot tub... little cloth sun hats that cover tiny heads and necks, and shade little pudgy cheeks...  toys and games in the owners' closet, like old friends who meet us for a once-a-year visit...

Fresh fruit and veggies from Powell's on the way in... little pink, sunburned cheeks... meltdowns on the back nine as we play putt-putt past bedtime... sandcastles... working on puzzles together in the hot room with the ice machine... little girls fighting over who has to sleep on the trundle bed... MuMama's blue beach chair... Tripoly... making t-shirts together at that cool clothing shop... stopping for BBQ buffets... looking for shells and sea glass in the cool of the early morning...

Stepping on Pooh guys by the upstairs wood table... fireworks on the beach... chasing sand crabs in the dusky twilight... five little girls always pairing up to leave someone "out"... that bouncy, green cart with yellow wheels, full of shovels and buckets and coolers and all manner of fun... the respite of shade under a colorful umbrella... Rummikub... watching the neighbors' illegal firecrackers catch the dried sea grass on fire--and having to call the fire department!... Cabin Boy... bike rides to the pool... a buried body with a sandy mermaid's tail... honey buns for breakfast... Yahtzee... boursin... spying on feral cats from the balcony...

Lazy naps in a hammock... having to take turns with boogie boards and skim boards and huge, floating rings... offering your great-grandmother an arm on the walk to the ocean... knowing your great-grandmother--and I mean, really knowing her...

Taking refuge in a dark theater on yet another rainy day... Lighthouse bagels... late-night neighbor-partying keeping everyone awake... little fits and tears over sunscreen in little eyes... swinging on the swing set by the community pool... sunburned ears or feet because someone forgot about coating them... "Ssssh!  Aunt Nita's still asleep on the couch!"... early morning walks through Pine Island...

Looking for a bargain at the "all merchandise 50% off" spots... adding whatever is needed to the community grocery list... baths in Nanny's big, jetted tub... "reapply!"... dear dogs running on the beach, which may just be what doggie heaven is like now for Huckie and Zach and Little and Winston... guitars and fiddles and ukeleles...

Skinned elbows and knees from bike-time wipeouts... a huge lazy Susan... a row of bikes heading to the grocery store or to get Duck Donuts... Nita's spaghetti, and Nanny's pound cake, and MuMama's banana pudding: the tastes of beach week... "and now we're having fun writing songs with the fam..."

"There will be a day when memories will be all we have," said Shauna Niequist.  Tears spring to my eyes as I consider how true this is.  I think of many people I have loved, those I can now only meet in my memory.  I know the time is short... with our parents, one of whom is already passed from this life to the next.  With our children, one of whom is already pledged to another, beginning to dream about what life will look like when "home" isn't the same place as my own four walls.  I cry for my pastor, whose son was unexpectedly snatched from them a month ago by a gunman's stray bullet.  I cry for my sweet friend Jeanine, who entered her final rest from her courageous battle with cancer just 36 hours ago.  I cry for their family members and friends, who now visit with those they love only in memories.  The time given us is short, and life is fleeting, and in a matter of moments we have to say goodbye... whether we were ready to or not.

I am driven to a desire to live each moment to the fullest--in connection--and to never waste another precious moment of life fighting or arguing or taking those I love for granted!  I am driven to a desire to capture memories better than I do--more pictures, more videos, more snapshots of daily-day life with those precious ones who live in my circle, at least for this day.  I am driven to a Savior, who comforts my pain--and that of my friends--and who has made a way of lasting comfort and joy for me: that I may know Him in this life, and that I may know Him--and my loved ones who also know Him--forever in the life to come.  "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" - John 17:3.

"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" - Psalm 23:6.  And until that day, may I live life deliberately, like one who is "stealing against the inevitability of time," and loving every minute of it I'm given.  Thank you, Shauna, for the reminder!

*Entry 7, July - The 12 Months of 2014 Blog Challenge
The title is a line from the song "Seasons in the Sun," recorded by Terry Jacks, and then by the Beach Boys, and then covered by many others.  It is an adaptation of Rod McKuen's lyric poem, which is itself an English translation of a French one, "Le Moribond."