Archive for March, 2014
I listen for the sound of my grandson’s school bus, walking around his yard as I wait. It is late March, with the crazy hot-then cold mountain weather. I’m looking for springs first flowers, not to magical ephemeral Clinton’s Lilies or Blood Root that grew on the mountainsides on my childhood, now ruined by the mansions of the rich, nor the spring beauties that clustered near the old bath tub where cattle once drank.- Just simple wild flowers that give me the hope of spring.
I spy a few spikes of tiny white flowers, remembering how they shoot out their seeds when their life cycle finishes early in the summer. Daffodils grow in odd places where farms flourished early in thee century, tiny bluet sprinkle the places that grass will soon overtake.
How wonderful the dandelions look in March, when we will be fussing at them by June. The last of the crocuses are dying, Muscari, the tiny cousins of hyacinths pop up among the tufts of green. I smile, with hope, as I hear the bus coming. Spring WILL be here soon and there will be a lot of work to do!
She wiped the tears upon her dress.
“I’ll take no more.” She did confess.
As he stood staring at the sky. He whispered to her, “Darling, why?”
“You leave when autumn’s just begun with furs, and grains and many guns. You stay until the melting snow drives you back home, more crops to grow.”
“I must.” he told her, gun in hand. “to sell our furs and crops again.”
“It does not take four months of cold to travel there and back, I’m told.”She glared at him with angry eyes as clouds approached in autumn’s skies.
“But weather makes the trip back home to dangerous to make alone.” She listened not to his protest, and brushed the dust from her worn dress.
“The children need you, so do I. I cannot bear to watch one die, the way I did this season past, with no one here to help the rest.”
“I know.” He bowed his ruddy head. “I’ll find some other way instead.”
“John Griffith takes the trail nearby.” She told him through her misty eyes.
“Then I will ask if he will go, with me, through ice and cold and snow.” He walked to her, the children came. They gathered there, out of the rain.
“Tomorrow, I will go to town and look until I hunt him down.” He smiled and drew her near his chest.
She felt the heat of his warm breath, and knew this winter, they would stay, but not alone, sick and afraid.
We skipped down the sidewalk towards the waterfront. A long green lizard skittered across in front of us. Expecting to see only the beach, and hoping only for sea shells, my son noticed a red pyramid in the distance.
We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and sped up. up a bit. Soon, we heard music, it must be a carnival or festival!
“Gosh,” gasped my son, this sidewalk didn’t look THAT long!”
“Everything seems to take longer when we are excited, “ I said, rushing to keep up with him.
“Race ya, Mom!” He smiled.
In my 58 years, I have had six kids. Raising them, loving them, being their mom was the greatest joy of my life. Sadly, I lost a son at age 15 from a sudden heart event during a baseball game. But this is not about him, it is about all children.
I look at my grandchildren now, and see their innocence, their joy at pleasing me, their “Beebee”. I walk in parks with them and their moms, along with my youngest son. It brings back such wonderful memories. We laugh, I take pictures of them climbing fallen trees, seeing fish or turtles or a red-headed ducks out on the lake. A bug skitters by and elicits a squeal from one of them. A snail, slowly making his way across the boardwalk delighting a grandson.
Besides the horror of loosing a child, one of the most difficult things a parent has to do is teach them to be adults, to allow them to grow up. When your child can fix his own lunch or lay our her own clothes(and they match!) is one of our first lessons in letting go. Of course, even before that, going to the potty alone or cleaning up a mess is a step in that direction. Believe me, it gets more difficult.
When your life has been centered on being the best mom that you could be, it is a tearful adventure to hear your youngest child talking about his plans for his future. For 38 years, I have had our own form of home-school on Saturdays, in summer, or even on school vacations. We have walked the paths of Gettysburg and splashed in the waves of beaches from Santa Barbara to cape Hatteras. It gos by so fast.We have been on educational trips, anywhere from the mountains at our doorstep to the Grand Canyon or Washington D.C..
Suddenly, the oldest will not come along and a new one will ride in a stroller. Perhaps some of the older “kids’ will meet you at your vacation spot with a car full of their friends. For a while, it is simply a milestone, and then your little group becomes smaller and smaller. They choose what they want to do on the trip, even where they want to go. You realize that the best days, the most precious days are rushing by, and a tear often trails a mothers cheek.
I have been through a lot, I will not try to put these ordeals, good or bad in numerical order. I will simply say this to those of you who still cuddle sleeping babies, go to “Kindergarten Parents Night”.
gently stroke feverish heads with a cool damp cloth-to breathe in every second, every sleepless night, every leap of joy when the school bus comes home, because, soon, they will be gone.
I picked up my teen at school today with a stomach virus, all ready to comfort him, bring him cool drinks, obsessively check on him, all those “mom” things that we learn to do, and realize that the ride home was all he really needed. He will get his license soon and independence is on the horizon.
Oh, he appreciated the kind words, the stokes of my hand through his hair, the cold drinks or peeps into his room, but I could tell that his smile of appreciation was more for my benefit than for his.
One feeling that I know I will keep with me forever is the joy of being needed, loved, appreciated by a child. There is nothing like it. I will still talk my teen into taking the grandchildren that I keep after school to the store and let him hold their hands and escort them to the toy section while I shop. I will ask him to go with us to the park and go to the grocery store with me. But I know, that it is my son, now, who is going for my pleasure, rather than me going for his. It is his joy at seeing me smile that that makes the day so fine. It is his reaching for the keys as we get in the car that makes me smile back.
I look at him with pure pleasure, 6 foot 3 inches tall, (taller than his father),shaving on occasion, his low-pitched voice asking me which store to go to, and know that I was one hell of a mom, and am now one hell of a grand-mom, and if I succeed in the hardest part of all-letting him grow up and be the man that I have worked so hard for him to be, that I will have done the hardest, most wonderful, rewarding, frustrating job in the world-be a parent, and one day walk with him as he skips through the park with his child.
I visualize the landscape-lonely and forbidding. I wonder where I am this time, within my dream-world. Surely a not pleasant place though it holds a certain mystery. I think of myself, how alone, different, isolated I have always been. Suddenly, I recognize my attraction to the picture. The salt mound or is it sandstone-worn but still surviving, like me. Present, but not seeming to belong there.
Drawing one’s eye, inviting one to explore it, see what it is made of. One would think as their hand ran gently down the surface. Never quite fitting the world it is part of.