I was setting on the sofa, all comfy and settled in viewing last weeks airing Continuum that I’d missed while on holiday when my daughter walked in — Pause — and interrupted ‘my moment’ with what was a series of complaints about her sister. Awe, siblings. The need to vent about things that matter only to you because it is your sister you are talking about.
Now, if it had been about a friend, she would have simply ignored or shrugged it off as a stupid idea to be sorted out down the line. In which case she would have listened (tongue in cheek) politely (biting tongue) to the outcome of that crazy/stupid idea and laughed along with them and said “I know! I know!” and then discussed how life ebbs and flows with good and bad ideas. But this was her sister she was complaining about!
I sat quietly listening. Patient. Pondering. Thinking it was like the pot calling the kettle black — which was an epiphany — and then I understood that what my daughter was worried most about was that her sister was two inches away from repeating the same misguided mistake she’d made many years ago. And that what she feared the most was an identical outcome. Judgment? No. Regret? Yes. But I wasn’t in the mood to have that conversation — again — so I left it with “we’ll wait and see” and promised a telephone call to the younger sister.
I didn’t need to make the call. The telephone rang and I picked it up. A short time later all was settled or as close to being settled as it could be.
I have this innateness about me — never one to fear calling a spade a spade and saying so to the person and sometimes at my peril (not laughing) when doing so doesn’t turn out well. But, here’s the thought: be honest and up front with family and above all else be clear! Don’t leave unsaid what needs to be said. Be concerned about feelings and be loving in delivery but say the words that need to be spoken. And, for Pete’s Sake, don’t be self-righteous! (remember that when you point your finger look to see how many fingers are pointed right back at you)
On another day the skies bluer, I’m sure of it.
Yes, that is an earth worm being held in the hand of my granddaughter Hannah Grace, age 4 while her cousin Destiny, age 5 looks on. If you look closely each girl is relaxed and ”in the moment” as they discover how it feels to hold the earth worm. Destiny’s mother Rebecca is telling them all about the earth worms habitat and habits and how important they are to our garden soil and, well, that they must keep them safe and not destroy them.
As I looked on I was drawn back in time to more than sixty years ago —
The Summer of 1949 was extremely hot. The red clay soil was so dry it had turned to a fine powder. It felt like silk between my toes and after mid morning became too hot to walk on without shoes. I remember this because I remember that I walked with my grandmother Nannie to a nearby neighbor’s farm to swap her freshly made butter for jam and on the way back I wore my shoes. All I need do — all these years later — is close my eyes and drift back in time to feel the powdered clay pushing up between my toes and smell the aroma of the pastures on my grandparents farm. This is something that has never left me.
In a way it is the roots that have grounded me all my years. I know the peoples I belong to, what I am part of. The history. The family. My family.
Lately I have found myself revisiting a time very few of my friends can equate to because they did not live it. They did not live in rural America, did not know the feel of the hide, the stench of a wet barn nor the sweetness of that same barn after being freshly laid with clean straw. They did not swing from rafters and they certainly never tipped a cow.
I wish more than life itself my grandchildren could experience what I experienced as a child or at least when I tell them of my life they would completely understand it. But I fear the stories are too removed from what their lives consist of today for them to fully appreciate how wonderful it was all those years ago. At times they look at me in wonderment when I tell them of my grandparents farm. I’m completely convinced they think I’m making up stories for their entertainment.
When they are elder — sixty years hence — will their grandchildren understand how it felt for them to hold an earth worm? How then can I expect them to know how it felt for fine silken soil to filter through my toes. But I want to keep trying to explain all the things that were so wonderful when I was their age so at each and every opportunity I become an impromptu performer and charm them with my stories.
Okay….I agree, this is not funny and no one would actually do this. Right?
The other things no one would ever do on a sunny day are:
- tie the new puppy to a park bench and quickly skedaddle away — note pinned, “free to good home”!
- fill a box full of toads, wrap it up with pretty pink ribbon, then present it to your mother.
- put two helpless goldfish into the Culligan water cooler.
- plant Cannabis in the middle of the vegetable garden!
- use shingles as a Frisbee — sailing them from a roof top into the street below.
- have a peeing contest — outside of course — to see who can hit ‘the spot’ in the neighbor’s yard.
No one would do these things, right? No one, that is, except my twins, who on any given sunny day were full of surprises. The twins, whom I let live, turned 30 this past year.
Let me just say for clarity that when these things happened I was at work, earning the money for the clothes on their backs and the food on their tables. They should have been more thankful but kids will be kids, or is it boys will be boys . . . whatever, Martha! They were a mess growing up but they were also so lovely and dear sweet little ones too. I often wondered if I did the best job I could do with them. Then today came a note, a thank you note, from one of my twins for a present I gave him not too long ago.
“Mom, thank you so much for my socks and the thermos,
the thermos keeps my coffee hot until the end of the day,
but your love fills my soul a whole lot more than any gift!
Your love will always be in my heart Mom!!! Love you, Kevin”
And my heart melted — I may not have always done things perfectly — I may have spent too much time on case files and pleadings at a time when they needed my undivided attention — I may have spent too much time with my writing, as well — but in-spite of any motherly imperfections, my kid loves me!
The vtech Kidizoom Camera that is (apparently) the newest rage among four-five years old in my family.
Of all the things I love to do shopping is not one of them. I say this after enduring a tragic four hour shopping spree in search of a “Kidizoon” (vtech no less) camera which is for the ages 3-8 and costs 35.00 to 40.00 dollars depending on where you find one. It has built-in games, photo editing software, a 4x digital zoom!, and “fun photo effects” with 1.3 megapixel resolution! It shoots movies and will store over 1000 photos and claims to be of durable kid-friendly design. On my forth try, I found the camera and bought it. I paid an additional 4.00 to insure this little camera because it is going to a four year old and lets face facts, you can’t trust a four year old not to flush it or drop it in a mud-puddle! Or to loose it in amongst all the other lost toys at parks and the local pizza pallor or, in Hannah’s case, in a cubicle stuffed with 100 or so stuffed animals. I noticed that this camera, which does so much, has no strap of any kind. I think it should have a strap for Hannah to use, at least one for her wrist, although in order for the strap to work properly a dot of super glue may be needed to secure it to Hannah’s wrist, just to make sure it did not slip off, as it surely would do. The slipping off of the strap would be an intentional action of Hannah, of course.
When Hannah’s mother decided to sideline her love of freelance photography for a greater love (Hannah) she never thought that the greatest joy in her life would become a mini version of herself — the apple never falls far from the tree — and who knows what may come out of Hannah’s grandmother spending four hours in as many stores to find the toy Hannah talks about from sun up to sun down. Is it possible this small beginning will end in an assortment of mega-long-range-zoom lenses and trips to far away places? If so I do hope it is a mother-daughter team trekking through the underbrush.
I advocate Action Against Abuse and pray a silent prayer you do as well . . .
Around 1946 my Mum Marie stood tall against abuse — long story short, because she stood tall that year three years later she became my Mum when she married my Daddy bringing with her two new brothers — the elder of my new brothers had (in the beginning of his relationships) a struggle with being abusive (what he saw is what he repeated) but the younger (by six years), who was influenced more from his mother’s new marriage to my Dad, never suffered the same condition. Why is this true? I think because he repeated what he witnessed and what he witnessed was a loving and happy couple.
Why am I telling you this? Because I need to say it. And, because I want you to hear it.
I also remember doing things, just like my Mum, standing with my hand on my hip, just so, just like she did. This made my father laugh more than once when I was a kid. Kids mimic and are like a sponge soaking up everything parents do and the proof is in the words we, as adults, speak to our own children and sometimes, stop in our tracks and say, “Where did that come from” or “I sounded just like my Mom or Dad!” Yep, there you have it …. so speak love, compassion, empathy, kindness and charity and teach those principles.
I beseech you to take-care with the little ones. They are so precious.