A Plate, a Parade, and a Song
Four years ago these words introduced an “ode” to my grandkids. Now, the children (all teenagers, one a pre-teen) may feel embarrassed about posing with a plate of cupcakes and being praised for grade school accomplishments, like picking up trash on the playground, ranking high in fifth grade, or writing a story about a traveling pencil. “Not cool!” they would say.
The reverse of this plate: “He will take great delight in you. He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
The blog post began . . .
First of all, there was no parade and no song. But there was a plate, a plate of cupcakes. (You can read more of the post here.)
* * *
Mennonite families when I grew up were not big into throwing compliments or marking events with pomp and circumstance. Along the way, however, I have learned the value of making a big deal about celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, and taking incremental steps in publishing my memoir, Mennonite Daughter.
A Path of Remembrance
This past weekend, my sister Jean attended the Path of Remembrance ceremony at the Hospice Center, Mt. Joy, dedicating one of the bricks on the pathway to our brother Mark. Of course, it’s a fundraising initiative for the service, but it is also a way to mark the lives of loved ones who were comforted in their care.
Last year, we accompanied Mark, as far as we could go, on his path from this life to the next. At that time, in May, the hospice center was alive with azaleas. Now, in June, roses are probably blooming.
We remember Mark because he was a kind soul.
We are happy that he feels no more pain.
We have assurance he is still alive, but now in his heavenly home.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? But thanks be to God, [who] giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ I Cor. 15: 55, 57
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou are with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” ~ Psalm 23: 4-5
What accomplishments in your life do you wish had been acknowledged?
What event (large or small) right now can you pause and celebrate?
Enjoy the Fourth of July or whatever you celebrate in your part of the world this month!
We’ll connect here again on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.
Good morning, Marian! Your grandchildren are lovely, and it’s wonderful that they have each other. I’m sure even if embarrassed now, they will have fond memories later of all these special celebrations.
Thinking of you as you remember your brother, and sending you a hug.
This is VERY weird: weeks later I find you, my first commenter, in my WP spam folder. How very odd for it to land there. Thanks for posting this on June 26, Merril!
WP seems to have gremlins that do random weird things. Thanks for rescuing me from the spam! 🙂
You didn’t deserve it, never will, Merril!
Ha Ha Ha! (my coping mechanism these days.) 🙂
What a lovely way to honor your brother, Marian. I love the photo of your grandchildren. The expression on the little one to the far right is priceless!
The little one to the right was less self-conscious than the others, emerging teens.
When Mark was in hospice care, we were asked if we wanted to buy a brick in Mark’s memory, so we did. I like to think that these embossed bricks ensure the remembrance of all who found comfort, surrounded by those they loved before they died.
P.S. Have a wonderful and safe holiday.
Thanks, Jill. I hope you have a long weekend, free from work. You definitely deserve it!
What a beautiful message on that plate! Everyone should get one at some point in their lives: “you’re a gift, a happy treat, let’s celebrate”. I think that would go a long way to ease insecurities and self-doubt.
I never thought I’d learn to drive, as used to be rather clumsy and accident prone and, therefore, was totally terrified of putting myself behind a wheel. I passed my test in April 1990 and never celebrated it much. Considering how much it meant to me and how it changed my life, I should have made more of a song and dance bout it.
I agree: celebrating little milestones is just as important as big ones, like graduating from University, for example.
Ha, Fatima! One of my very first blog posts in 2014 was about my flunking my driver’s test, twice. I passed on the third try, a good thing because my mother didn’t drive at the time: https://marianbeaman.com/2014/02/19/moments-of-extreme-emotion-flunking/
I’m including the link because I don’t think we were friends that long ago – ha!
We certainly agree about one thing: little events are just as important as big ones. Sometimes just a slice of cake and a cool drink is all it takes. Thanks, Fatima!
I’ve just read that post. I think you passed because, like me, you learned from your mistakes. I passed 2nd time after a year taking lessons. I was so nervous, I couldn’t control my foot clattering on the clutch. When I apologised to the examiner, he said: “Don’t worry, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last”. I shall never forget those kind and encouraging words. Happy driving. 😉
Beautiful post, Marian. Love the photos. The path of remembrance is a great way to honor your brother. And how nice to see your grandchildren!
I still have my certificate of baptism from my old home church. And I have a stuffed tiger that I bought when I was 11 at a Girls Scout camp. 😊
That stuffed tiger would fit right in with the other crocheted memes I see on your amazing blog. I’m glad you enjoyed the photo of the grands, taken four years ago. Great, L. Marie!
For some reason my first message disappeared. So here it is again. Beautiful post, Marian! The path to remembrance is a great way to honor your brother. And I loved seeing your grandchildren.
As for tokens of remembrance, I still have my certificate of baptism from my old home church. And I have a stuffed tiger that I bought when I was 11 at a Girls Scout camp.
Both replies are still here, L. Marie. Sometimes postings don’t display until I moderate (approve) them. Not sure what happened here, quirks of the cybersphere maybe. Anyway, sorry you had trouble, but thanks for persisting! 🙂
Marian, the message that the comment is being moderated has disappeared. That may be what caused L. Marie to suppose it was lost after she hit reply?
Thanks for the note. I have moved from an http to an https website for additional security and updated some plugins, which may have made the difference. I’ll have to alert my web guy. :-/
What a special way to honour your dear brother. We are big on celebrating in our family which I am grateful for. I think every morning one wakes up is worth celebrating! What a difference between tweens and teenagers. Love the 4 year old picture of the grandchildren and would love to see an updated one. xo
My mother said in her eighties and nineties, “I thank God every morning my feet touch my bedside rug.” She had a simple, happy life.
You celebrate the generation well, Darlene. I would love to post a current photo of the children now, but they are so scattered.
The oldest is a junior camp counselor; his “buddy” is assisting in workshops at the Museum of Contemporary Art in our city. Jenna just got back from a student trip to London and Paris, and Ian . . . . I’ve made a note to schedule a family photo before the end of the year. Meanwhile, you can see Jenna at the airport on Instagram, and also see Ian at the stove without a chef’s hat. Thanks for your interest in our family life, Darlene. I feel the same about yours. 🙂
A beautiful post, Marian and a lovely way to remember your brother..You have such beautiful looking grand children 🙂 x
Thanks for reading and commenting here, Carol. I wish Ian could be your apprentice, maybe as a budding sous chef. He LOVES to cook. Last week he made strawberry compote and pancaskes with chocolate sprinkles. You are in to nutrition, not so much – ha!
How lovely …from little acorns as they say…Nutrition comes with time and some of the greatest pastry chefs only ever have a very small slice of their creations…He would be welcome, anytime, Aston is now teaching me to cook well steak/ meat that is…I don’t like cooking pieces of steak but he is teaching me…I still won’t eat it…I have a phobia about a piece of meat if it is sliced I am ok, I just couldn’t eat a steak…They laugh at me here…in a nice way…Tell Ian I would love to taste his pancakes just without the sprinkles….
I love how the younger generation can teach us, as Aston is obviously doing for you. It’s a unique way of bonding, isn’t it.
Ian has found a Russian chef on YouTube he follows, Boris the Chef. Boris probably models good cooking techniques but he downs shots of vodka every minute or two, a practice I’m not encouraging with Ian. 😀
I think so and memories for him just like I remember cooking with grandma.
Haha! I should think not, but Boris sounds like a fun way to leqrn. I think I will look him up… 😀
Let me know what you think. Boris gets slap-dash sometimes! 🙂
I will I will check him out tomorrow…:)
Beautiful post, Marian. While I cannot think of many tokens of remembrance of my childhood, I do remember achieving my professional CPCU designation when I worked (1984). Coming from a family of eight and what one might consider the poorer part of town, and being the only one in my family to achieve what could be considered the equivalent to a college degree, it is something I cherish to this day. Thanks for sharing.
I’m glad you are flourishing in your Third Act as a writer now. I have much admiration for those like you who are certified in risk management and insurance. It takes a lot of know-how and determination to earn such credentials.
It’s good to see you here again, Irwin. I paid you a visit and think you may have invested in a “wowza” new banner for your blog. VERY cool!
Thanks. Now if I can just set up and follow a writing schedule.
Following a schedule is a good thing, but only if you want to do it. At this age, we can safely let go of “shoulds,” at least most of the time – ha!
I know you are right – I need to start thinking that way. Do what makes me happy today and tackle tomorrow when it gets here. 👍🌞
You got it! I need to practice that mindset too.
Beautiful Post! Such a lovely tribute to honor your loved brother. And celebrate the future in the kids. You have a lovely family. The event that I thank God for everyday is how He held my marriage together and caused it to thrive in His care. ❤
Donna, good marriages are very rare these days and show determination on the part of both spouses. Thanks for visiting today, Donna. I’m glad we can keep in touch this way. 🙂
A fine way to honour the memory of your dear Mark. Pairing that with the celebration of “grand” accomplishments reminds me of the enduring love and grace that is this path we walk on the way toward eternity.
I like the way you describe our earth walk: “. . . this path we walk on the way toward eternity.” Life is SO short, and I love the way you savor it daily on your blog. How you keep up with posting every day boggles my mind. You show the power of persistence and the imprint of a good habit. Thanks, Linda.
This is such s loving, tangible tribute to Mark, Marian. And your grandchildren are beautiful. What a gift you have given them with the memories you are making. They will not forget that plate and the message it conveys.
Thank you, Kathy. We do what we can to imprint positive messages on young lives. As teens, these kids may think my gesture was a little silly, but they will remember my intent, no doubt.
Your grands even now can “read” clear examples of courage and resilience in their Nana’s life. Blessings on your life and writing, dear friend! 🙂
Marian — A lovely and loving tribute to Mark. And that celebration plate is definitely a keeper!
I almost gasped when I saw Luna standing up by the sink on Facebook (Instagram?) this week. She will be walking soon. You and Len are definitely leaving an imprint on this little girl’s life. I wonder if there is a plate of remembrance in her future . . .or something else. I know you love to celebrate milestones, both large and small.
May the roses bloom bountifully this season Marian – lovely post. Just last evening, our family was gathered together and we each acknowledged how special it is to be together, enjoying a fine meal prepared by my daughter-in-law. Memories are re-memberances –
You have such a thriving family. And you don’t let distance deter you one bit. Like you, the younger generation has taken over the hosting at our gatherings too.
Yes, indeed, memories are re-rememerances. Thanks for coining this expression, Susan!
Lovely post and memory of your brother. It made me think of mine who passed away in 2010. i miss him still.
Joan, I remember reading about your brother in Scattering Ashes. Losing a sibling is much different from losing a parent. The death of brothers (or sisters) brings loss to our own generation. And it’s unique because we have shared a common history.
Thanks for chiming in today, friend!
We too had minimal celebration in my family of origin, Marian. But the message of kindness was transmuted either because of or despite that fact. It’s hard to know if there is any relationship between the celebration of the individual or the celebration of community. Maybe if we knew we were celebrating community, we could have combined the best of both worlds. I can see you trying to do that. As am I.
Yes, Shirley, we are blessed to have models of kindness in our childhood. The Mennonite way.
As you approach a golden anniversary, I can see you working hard to make it a family affair – totally! – with multiple celebrations all around. May you have safe travels and good weather. 🙂
Remembering is so important. Recently we planted a tree in memory of my brother John, who passed away in April. It helped us all to feel connected. This morning Hardy and I were at an awards ceremony at the local Mennonite Brethren High School. We were asked to present a science and math award to a student in Hardy’s brother’s name. Sieg was a much beloved teacher there and passed away of leukemia in his early forties.
“Bittersweet” certainly can describe your observations here. A tree is a living thing with roots, a lovely way to remember. Besides, trees are a great source of life-sustainging oxygen. When Grandma Longenecker died, we planted an oak in her memory. I blogged about it long ago: https://marianbeaman.com/2015/08/19/kids-oaks-and-quotes-purple-passages-for-august-2015/
An award in Sieg’s name is one way to ensure his memory lives on, and a consolation to you. I’m sure you and Hardy were happy to bestow the award. Thanks for such great examples, Elfrieda!
The word “brick” in your title speaks loudly to me, as I have a brick beside from the country Mennonite church that was part of my childhood and whose ‘memoir’ I am writing. Yes, I’m attempting to write the memoir of a small but entire country community that persisted from 1860 to 1984. And, I want it to be a history as well as a memoir, so this is creating lots of problems in actually writing it. And, the red brick beside my bed doesn’t let me forget even when I go for days without writing anything.
Maybe the red brick can stand as a metaphor for your Mennonite history, solid, stable, perhaps rigid too, although I’m not sure about how strict your conference was then. Yes, I agree, trying to writing the history that parallels one’s personal story is no easy task.
When I began sharing drafts of my memoir, one reader asked, “What is your story about?” Apparently, I didn’t have a clear theme, which is made my writing sound confused when I began.
All the best, as you persist, Dolores. Yours is a story worth telling! 😀
Thank you Marian; I think you are right about the brick as metaphor.
Lovely photo of the grandies Marian. And what a beautiful way to pay tribute to your brother. 🙂 How’s the book coming along?
I’m glad you enjoyed the photos ofrom two stages of life, opposites, in fact — beginnings and endings.
Files have been uploaded to IngramSpark, so that’s progress. Thanks for asking, Debby!
Ooooh, how exciting. Well, I’m sure you will keep us abreast of progress! 🙂
Yes, my readers are due an update soon. Everything seems to go at a turtle’s pace, which I assume is not unique to me. What a learning curve!
Thanks for being curious and caring!
I feel like I’ve been on your journey 🙂
Your grandkids are happy confident beings – I can tell from the photo. And yes, they grow up too fast and what they used to love to do with us (snuggle as we read books, play Legos forever, make cookies, play hide and seek) is changing rapidly. Hard for me to keep up, so if you have any suggestions, I’m open.
I love the tribute to your brother. And the thoughts on celebrations. I’m not sure why it’s so hard for me to celebrate special dates like birthdays and anniversaries (my guy and I have a big one coming up in a few days). He grew up “Yankee” where celebrations were rather frowned on, and he’s uncomfortable with them. So we usually go low and quiet, just enjoying each other’s company. For my own children/grandchildren, I make as much noise and joy as I can, always including a cake, of course. 🙂 Happy 4th, Marian.
I just posted Ian’s day with us on Instagram. The three older ones are busy, busy. None of them have drivers’ licenses yet, but they are doing grownup-ish stuff. Patrick is a junior camp counselor, Curtis is a volunteer at an art workshop at MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art downtown, and Jenna is in camp, not sure what. If you want suggestions, just look for who needs volunteers. At 14 and 15 1/2 they can learn to take/give directions – ha!
About your thoughts on celebrations: You can’t go wrong if you do what makes you happy. 🙂 And I share you thoughts on the grands: Whoop it up with joyful noise! Happy 4th to you too, Pam!
Yes, my oldest JUST turned 11, so she has begun to do a bit of volunteering as a mom-mate (helper). They are all in camp this summer (11,9 and 6 here in NE). The CA grandboys are 6, 9, 10 and are still skiing! I send them books every month because ….. well, because if Grammy Pammy sends them, maybe they will read them. 🙂
Camp and volunteering seem to be the keywords. How amazing that your grand-boys are still skiing – must be a high elevation. Grammy Pammy (love that!) is good to send books. The ones I pick out don’t seem to grab mine. I know they are all readers, but the school gives them reading lists for the summer, some they like some they don’t. I remember Patrick groaning all the way through Pride and Prejudice. No wonder!
As the saying goes, if we knew grand-parenting was such fun, we’d have had our grandchildren first – 🙂
HaHa. Fun saying. My daughter gave me an idea: I’ve been giving her kids – particularly the now 11-year-old granddaughter and 10-year-old grandson – books that I find recommended on blogger’s list for children (like Patricia Tilton’s). Daughter suggests I ask each grandchild for a review of each book I give them, with maybe a Starbucks coupon as a gift after the review (yes, I admit, they love Starbucks). Might be something worth exploring this summer.
Thanks for the tip, Pam!
I’ll let you know if it works – I’ve just made up a ‘book review’ form for some of the grandkids. 🙂
You are amazing!
Want to share it with me? your readers?
Last week, I was honored to give the “sermon” at our Hospice yearly community memorial called “Illuminations.” (Yes, it has a fundraising component because we need funds to give end-of-life support to those who don’t have health insurance). I spoke about the power of conscious remembering of the dead which means letting go of our fear that grief will make us emotional or hurt too much or make people think we’re weak or clinging to the past. Of course, my eyes were wet. Lots of people wept.
After I spoke, the Dorothy Cotton Singers hummed in harmonies while 100 people, one at a time, called out the names of those they miss. An exquisite ritual followed by a beautiful arrangement of “Oh Precious Lord.” I was so proud to help create and take part in this event.
Today, I celebrate the return of the Monarchs. If I had grandkids, I’d be singing their praises–with their permission. Congratulations on your beautiful family and your coming book. I can’t wait.
Your words, both written and spoken are very powerful. I remember your TedX talk and of course your writings. I’m not surprised that your words at the hospice memorial elicited tears, happy, sad tears. Like you, I don’t hide grief. If my computer screen had eyes, it could blink in approval.
I did not attend the dedication of the bricks memorial, but my sister Jean shared the photos you see. And I do think the names of those honored and remembered were called out. She also sent me separately a snippet from the music, played by a trio of flute, oboe, and cello. Listening to it, I had to think of the heavenly music Mark (and others) must be enjoying.
I know your heart thrills at the return of the monarchs. Today someone at a birthday party I attended gave the honoree a butterfly plant. It has a proper, botanical name, but “butterfly plant” is how I identify it.
Thanks for catching me up with your “doing” and “being,” Elaine. 🙂
Lovely post, Marian, and I guarantee you these children will remember the gift of love shared with them. They may act embarrassed now, but at a point in time they’ll think back and recognize in their hearts your special love. My grandmother never remembered my birthday nor my brothers. Not even if she was staying with us at the time our birthday came along. One year this happened. She was with us on my birthday–nothing, no card, no gift. During the same visit, she asked my mother if she would take her shopping for my cousin’s birthday (my mother’s sister’s daughter) and wrap the gift and see that it got mailed. I never forgot that. I felt so diminished in her eyes and heart. You are doing just the opposite–remembering and lifting up the high moments for these young ones! God bless you, Marian!
I am sorry for this example of childhood abuse, what an indignity! Your grandmother was obviously a tortured person, bitter against the world, and you seem to have been her scapegoat.
You have a story to tell, Sherrey, if and when you want to tell it. In the meantime, I wish you peace and joy today!
Awww – that shot of the grandkids is adorable! And a lovely memory of Mark.
Thank you, Lady Fi!