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(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

Keep me as the apple of your eye . . . Psalm 17:5a (NIV)

The minister at our church years ago loved that verse. However, when he would preach on the verse, he talked about how his father was so encouraging that he never made him feel as if he disappointed him. As a parent who did not do such a good job expressing my lack of disappointment toward my own apples of my eye, I felt sad when he said that, even if I knew that maybe his father was the excessively (and over-the-top) good parent on the good cop/bad cop spectrum in his family or that maybe he was a better kid than most of us are. I mean, I disappointed my parents, too. But, still, my kids really are the apples of my eye—even when I disappoint them as a parent and even if they sometimes disappoint me. That people we love disappoint us is normal, but it should be just as normal that we see those whom we love as the apples of our eyes, even if they/we are not engineered to perfection.

This verse takes on more meaning when not taken in the context of these modern times when most of us can get apples during any season, no matter where we live. As a child, I didn’t understand my mother’s obsession with what I considered the sour fruits of her youth: chokecherries, plums, and apricots. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the whys behind stories of how an orange was one of the greatest treats a prairie kid could receive in a Christmas stocking. I thought I knew fruit—until I ate a locally grown apple in Spain. Now that was an apple I will never forget—and most likely the type of apple King David would have referenced in the Bible. A rare, sweet, crunchy treat in a mostly desert region during a time when plants only grew in season—if that year’s conditions supported growth—was a delight.

Every child deserves to have parents who delight in him or her, at least some of the time. And maybe it’s when we are most unlovable and yet our parents keep showing love to us—through their actions—that we most understand just how sweet we are to them. When we wake them in the night with our nightmares or all the messy signs of a sudden illness. When we do not do our chores or homework as asked. When we sass them as only adolescents seeking independence can. When our own adult decisions come to roost.

Parental love is only a shallow emotion if it doesn’t involve the hard work of being there with consistent presence and actions—whether or not we children are bright and shiny apples in the moment or seemingly rotten to the core. This day-in/day-out commitment is what teaches us that we are the apples in our parents’ eyes.

Our minister wasn’t trying to tell me I was a bad parent for seeing the soft spots in the apples—he wanted me to know just how much God loved me, even when I wasn’t being a particularly good apple. God doesn’t walk away from his apples—and neither should we.

But when parents do walk away from their own apples, thank God (yes, really!) that there are others who walk in to tend the orchard—especially when older parents have to remain disappointed in their own apple that has fallen far from their trees, yet still move in to do God’s work to make certain their grandchildren feel like the apples of someone’s eyes.

Bless those little ones who have not always been treated as the apples of their natural parents’ eyes and keep them in the presence of those who know just how precious they are. Every child deserves to be the apple of someone’s eye.


(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

Busy, Busy, Busy—that’s how it’s been around here. That’s also why last night we waited until we started hearing booms before running out—accompanied only by our dogs—to watch whatever fireworks we could glimpse in between houses and trees.

First stage of busyness happened when we had to prepare our home for company since we were expecting eight guests to our modest-sized 1940s home. Did I mention that half of those guests are boys ages six and under? Those kinds of guests require detailed cleaning and de-cluttering to protect them even when you know you’ll have to clean up after they leave!

Long story, but my brother and his wife currently have guardianship of their grandchildren by her son. Life for them since last year has been one big roller coaster of love and chaos as they settle into parenting little ones again. But despite the challenges, they are organized enough to take long road trips to visit us and provide themselves with a little change of scenery—and a few more adults to help—for a few days from time to time. This visit their son (not the children’s parent) and his fiancée were able to come along, too, and provide a few more helping hands.

Can you say full house? Even when we weren’t all busy looking for kids’ shoes and cups and the grandparents busy changing diapers and rocking little ones to sleep, we still had to figure out how to schedule all our showers and get something to eat that would work for everyone.

In the midst of baseball games, mountain train and car trips, and visits to the park, I had a birthday, too. We managed to celebrate my day, as well as my kids’ (earlier) birthdays with one big family get-together in Sherman’s parents’ much bigger back yard. Thanks to Sherman’s brothers and their rental company, Allwell Rents, we even had enough tables, chairs, dishes, glasses, silverware, and linens—as well as a Sno Cone machine, which was a big hit with all the little boys.

After all our guests left our home the next morning, I surveyed the damage but didn’t find much. Other than disinfecting tables and chairs and washing towels and sheets, we didn’t have much extra work to do. As crazy as their visits are, it is well worth it to see my family and to get to know these little boys who are the apples of their grandparents’ eyes despite all the extra work. No, my sister-in-law doesn’t drive the sports car she once envisioned and my brother doesn’t get to keep his shirts as clean as he’d like, but they do get a lot of (sticky) hugs and kisses every day. What they do matters very much—to these boys and to the people who will encounter those boys as they grow into young men.

Though our home officially houses four adults in the summers, it is mostly quiet because our kids are busy working, going to school, socializing, and taking their own road trips. We don’t do this kind of busy very often.

Which, combined with our recent family fun, might explain why I felt a little overwhelmed by the thousands of people at Wednesday’s Independence Eve Celebration in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The next day, in pursuit of a more solitary activity, Sherman and I headed into Staunton Ranch Colorado State Park for a holiday hike—as did everyone and his/her dog it seemed. The brand new beautiful park was quite popular!

If we wanted solitary, we were going to have to find it at home—which we did. Other than the oohs and ahs we heard from other backyards, we felt alone in the dark while sitting on the still sun-warmed sidewalk where we watched to the east. One show over, we stood and became transfixed by another show lighting up the skies to the south. Being by ourselves felt good for the night.

But in the end, I’m glad we’re not really alone—especially in our times of need. Quiet, still, and apart or loud, crazy busy, and together, we are family—as were so many of those other people we encountered listening to the symphony and enjoying the concert’s light show and fireworks on Wednesday or out hiking Thursday afternoon or responding in unison at each new burst of color and light Fourth of July night. Despite the messiness, our connections make us human.

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