As promised in my last post, I’m excited to tell you a little about our holiday “secret”. My sister in law, Crystal, texted me one day while I was working. She and her husband, Jeff, had a fabulous idea that they wanted to share with us. Christmas Caroling! But this was not your usual caroling – you know, where you walk around your neighborhood, dragging your kids who are totally mortified that you are actually singing….out loud…..in front of other people…..this was different.
Cancer is a part of our lives. I don’t mean a part of our lives like everyone else – you know its out there, but it’s never affected you personally. I mean it’s a part of our lives. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, my mother in law, Mary Lou, has waged a war against cancer – a war that has raged on for over a year now. And boy, is she a fighter. She stands all of 5 feet tall (maybe), but her personality is much bigger! She is the core of the Coltharp family, the matriarch and keeps this family together. She has always been active. When she retired from her full-time job a few years ago, she took easily to the role of full-time grandma, driving all over town (literally) to help us with after-school care of our three kids, helping Jeff and Crystal get their kids off to school and frequently driving to west Texas to see their three other grandchildren. She became a professional volleyball grandma. She knows the game….well…and never misses a play, a bad call from the up-ref and is always welcomed by all the parents and players on our team. She and Bob even lead a ministry at their church for folks that had lost their homes or had nowhere to go. She stayed busy. Till cancer became a part of her life.
I’m not gonna lie. It’s been a long, tiring battle. But she is prepared and, I believe, at peace with whatever our God has in store for her. And for someone who is waging a war, going to doctor appointments and treatments seemingly daily, she is more concerned with us and the kiddos. Typical Mary Lou – always caring for others before herself. Its one of the things I admire most about her.
I’m not a great singer, but those that know me and know me well, know I LOVE to sing. I’ve long wished I had the courage to join the church choir. I cry during the songs at church. Doesn’t matter if it’s a traditional hymn or a contemporary hit song – I’m going to cry. The kids are used to it now. So imagine how thrilled I was when Crystal texted me with the idea to carol for Mary Lou! I didn’t care when it was, we were IN!
So we met, secretly, outside Mary Lou’s house one cold evening (or as cold as it can get here in Texas, which right now, as I write this, is in the high 40’s), giggling with excitement at our special surprise. Crystal prepared song sheets and even made us matching red fleece scarves. Jeff rented a snow machine, which he secretly placed on the roof just above Mary Lou’s front door earlier that day. Everything was in place!
We reached the front door and Jeff rang the bell. Bob helped Mary Lou to a chair he had put out on the porch earlier that day. She was thrilled – here were some of her kids and grandkids, in their fancy red scarves, singing White Christmas! Midway through the song, Jeff, using a remote control, was going to turn on the snow machine to bring Christmas to Mary Lou.
Ohhhhh, this was going to be GREAT!
Well, it was great. It was perfect. It wasn’t a snowy “White Christmas” after all (you have to actually turn the snow machine on before using the remote to really get the snow going, but that’s another story), but it was absolutely perfect. We sang several songs for Mary Lou and ended with Silent Night, complete with candles. The spirit of love, joy, peace and doing for others, was in the air. Just a little something for someone who always thinks of others first. This was her time…a sweet, precious moment in time, that I know we will all cherish forever.
There was lots of singing, laughing, snow……wait, that doesn’t sound right…..there was singing, laughing, tears. Quiet tears, coming from the back row, where I was standing, candle in hand, belting out Silent Night, making special memories for a very special lady.
And for those wondering, Greg and Jeff got that snow machine off the roof and, after some tinkering, we had a winter wonderland for the kids in the back yard later that night.
A white Christmas after all!