June 20, 2011

The Big Rocks

We just got back from our annual trek to the Outer Banks. I am happy to report that there were no injuries or illnesses while there, a rarity in our family. It was one of the most relaxing and fun vacations I’ve had down there. We included a day trip to Ocracoke island, checked out the new and improved pier in Nags Head, and spent a lot of good quality time at the beach. I spent my week trying to stay cool and reading a lot of good books. One in particular really spoke to me.

This may come as a shock to those of you who view me as eternally 29, but when I turned 30, I did some major housekeeping, so to speak, with my life. I stopped putting time and energy into relationships that were one-sided and unhealthy for me; and it did a world of good for me. Suddenly I had tons of time to do the things I liked to do and to spend time with the people who really mattered. Over the last couple years however, I’ve made some decisions that clouded up my life and welcomed drama back in. I read this book called “Sam’s Letters to Jennifer” by James Patterson, while on vacation, and it really reinforced some of the decisions I had already made prior to leaving for vacation.

The book is about a woman’s relationship with her ailing grandmother, “Sam.” After losing my own Grammom in April of 2010, I wasn’t sure I could handle reading it. My Mom had finished it in a few days and told me I just had to read it. The relationship Jennifer had with her grandmother, and the things that the grandmother went through in this book, reminded me so much of me and my grandmother. There was one part in the book in particular that really hit home for me.

Jennifer spent summers with her grandmother at her lake house. At the end of the summer she was always sad to leave. Her grandmother told her to take a little of the lake home with her each year and would then help her load a Hellman’s mayo jar with rocks and pebbles, sand and water. Jennifer learned that you had to put the big rocks in first because the little pebbles and the sand would fill in around the big rocks, and sneak into the creaks and crevices that were made. The big rocks were the most important. Sam explained to her granddaughter that the big rocks represent the important things in life: family and friends that mean a lot to you. They should always be put first.

At one point, while reading the book, I actually burst into tears on the beach. Sam had died and Jennifer was speaking at her funeral. In some ways, I felt like James Patterson wrote that book just for me. I feel like my grandmother put it into the hands of my Mom because she knew she would put it in my hands and tell me I just had to read it. Even though she is gone, she continues to speak to me and guide me.

Before we left for vacation, I did some housekeeping. The girls and I spent a week organizing toys and throwing things out. I did the same thing with commitments that were taking up too much of my time and causing me too much stress. They are gone, and I am feeling a thousand times better already. I am focused on what truly matters, on the friends who have my back and know I have theirs, and on my growing family. I have 15 weeks before our new baby makes his appearance and I couldn’t have planned a better time to get rid of the stuff that was holding me down and back.


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