Christmas 2017 was the last time my husband Murray and I and
all five of our children were last together. This Monday, we were all seven
able to get together for lunch. A comedy of errors? Of course.
This week, Rebecca came to Ohio to be in a friend’s wedding.
The rest of the kids all live nearby here in Cleveland, so we made reservations
to meet Rebecca for lunch in Columbus at 11:30.
We had plans to leave early enough we could stop along the
way, maybe arrive early.
Murray first picked up Caleb and Sarah and dropped them off
at home so he could be to the car rental by 8:00.
A few minutes after 8:00, he called me. His driver’s license
was torn, and the people at the car rental agency said they were legally not
able to accept that for identification. If he went to DMV right then and
brought back a paper temporary license, that would be good enough.
No problem. He was close to DMV, not many people ahead of
him, everything went smoothly. He was back at the car rental place by 8:40.
There were six of us traveling, plus Caleb’s guide dog
Hammy, so we’d asked for a minivan. They’d had a minivan returned last night,
but unfortunately, the person who dropped it off forgot to leave the keys. They
were calling, trying to get the keys. Murray waited. Caleb and Sarah waited
with Ping-Hwei and me at home. I called Benjamin several times, to give him a
possible time to leave update.
No keys came in, so they finally gave Murray an SUV. When we
picked up Benjamin and started the drive, Ping-Hwei asked, “Why are we going to
We just needed to turn around, and we were finally on the
Did we bicker? Very little. From past years, I can remember
how loud our family always was. All the kids are adults now, and even Murray
and I have mellowed some.
I did give them one mother-lecture though, saying they
should be willing to stop listening to their music or books or whatever long
enough to have a conversation with us. This was a family trip after all.
I was excited about a road trip. We usually listen to books,
and I’d surprised Murray with an audio book of interviews and music with Paul
Simon, Miracle and Wonder.
Unfortunately, my book player doesn’t have Bluetooth, and
we’ve finally reached the time when the new car we rented didn’t have an
auxiliary plug to connect to my player.
We did have some fun music to listen to though—Bob Dylan,
John Denver, and a Christian singer we used to listen to when the kids were
The music wasn’t loud, and Sarah had her earphones
on—listening to “Phantom of the Opera,”—but suddenly she said, “Is that Carman?”
Besides gentle songs of worship, he also has many talking
pieces with drama, and we were listening to “Satan: Bite the Dust.” Sarah said
even with her music on, she heard “authorized, deputized,” and knew it was Carman.
Columbus is a large city. We knew that, but why didn’t we
think that there might be trouble finding parking? Both Rebecca and we were
finally able to park, several blocks apart, and we met in front of the
restaurant. Murray said when he first saw Rebecca, he almost didn’t recognize
We’d been traveling for several hours—we finally sat down to
eat at 1:00—so we needed a bathroom break. We walked downstairs to find the
bathrooms, but, of course, the women’s was locked.
This will probably be the last time we’ll just have seven
around the dinner table, since Rebecca is marrying Steve in April. Benjamin
asked her if they fought like many couples do while planning the wedding.
Rebecca said, “Yeah, I don’t even want to marry him anymore. I’m done with it.”
Then she said, “No, we hardly ever fight. I just tell him
how he’s wrong, and he apologizes.” I asked if Rebecca would take her
engagement ring off so I could look at it, and soon we were passing it around
the table for everyone to see. Her birthstone is a sapphire, so it has a large
sapphire surrounded by many small diamonds.
After lunch, we all walked to see Rebecca’s new car. Rebecca
stopped a man walking down the street and asked if he’d take our picture. She
said she trusted him, because he had a shirt on from OU, where she went to
Along the way we passed some scooters, which are popping up
a lot these days. People can rent them, then just leave them parked anywhere. I
asked to see one, because I didn’t know what they looked like.
Murray and Rebecca showed me one, and Rebecca suggested I
try to climb on. I did, and wondered how in the world people can get their feet
on such a small surface and trust that they’ll drive on it safely.
Rebecca got a 2020 car last year for a cheaper price,
because it was scarred by hale. It’s a cute car, pretty small. Rebecca told me,
“Her name is Haley, short for Hale Damage.”
On the drive home, Rebecca texted Sarah to say she should
tell whichever boy who’d asked how many diamonds were on her ring that there
We drove through a downpour part of the way back, and when
Murray stopped to get gas, Ping-Hwei asked, “Want me to show you how to use the
What all did we talk about at lunch?
Sarah told Rebecca about a music program Benjamin has
written for the computer. We discussed the stock market, IRAs, and Bitcoins.
The kids talked about their jobs. Caleb said he’d go through
more training this fall so he could do additional work. They talked about books
they were reading, and Benjamin told about the book he’s writing.
Rebecca brought Sarah a coffee table book and magazine about
her favorite music group, BTS.
We talked about fast cars and travel the kids have done—Airbnbs
in Denver, when Rebecca went to school in Spain, roller coaster rides. About
Benjamin’s adoption and his birth parents. About the smell of marijuana. About
what a good dog Hammy was being in the restaurant.
Then one of my children asked another one a question I’m not
going to repeat here today. But I can’t remember the last time I laughed as
hard as I did at that moment.
I still felt so at home with this precious family God has
gifted me with.
James 1: 17:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from
the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.