Posts Tagged With: parents

 
 

The Things You Learn Whether You Know You’re Learning Them or Not

It’s Gratituesday! I’ve thought this one over for a while. I’m grateful to my parents for teaching me some cool stuff.

For instance, Mom taught me to sew as a little bitty thing. I remember sewing little drawstring bags and carrying my treasures in them. Not sure what had more value, the bag or the things in the bag. I’ve since sewn a few thousand things. I’ve made  quilts, baby blankets, skirts, dresses, shirts from scraps, pillowcases and a zillion other projects. I’ve hemmed countless pants and dresses, and altered clothing beyond imagining. I even made a living for a while using my sewing skills. How about that?

By Dongui (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By Dongui (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mom also taught me the basics of playing the piano. Then Dad and Mom both put up with listening to me crank out bad versions of pop songs and classical music. And Dad, he paid for lessons from Mrs. Kump, since they  thought I’d learn better from a different teacher for a while. I’ve played for a zillion different things and have even segued into playing the organ occasionally, which rocks, in case you’ve ever wondered. Of course, this lead naturally to a love of all these musical.

Mom sang in a music group and I learned to sing alto by listening to her practice as well as by sitting next to her while we sang hymns in church.

Dad instilled a love of all things gardening and growing. I still recall his engineering quality maps of our yard with every single plant mapped out in amazing detail. I loved getting my hands in the dirt, watching the veggies grown, picking fresh raspberries, mowing the lawn. I still prefer doing yard work to house work, even in Arizona.

They also taught me, indirectly, the satisfaction that comes from serving others. I learned, without words, that you stay and help clean up after an event. By example they let me see and feel the joy of helping others whether by bringing in a meal, helping shovel a neighbor’s driveway or listening to someone’s worries with genuine concern. Some of my happiest memories link to volunteer work, freely giving of my time and being available to share my talents just like I saw them do so often in my childhood.

Photo By Joe Tordiff [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By Joe Tordiff [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Both Dad and Mom gave me experiences that brought me to love the outdoors. As a family we went on hikes, motorbike rides, sledding, camping, horseback rides, trips to Yellowstone and Grand Canyon and countless other state and national parks. We got out on snowmobiles and hung out in a canoe fishing. We build snowmen like no one else could. We had an epic treehouse that Dad designed and built complete with a sandbox, both of which fueled out imaginations. We spent tons of time in the mountains, which feel like a second home to me.

Mom taught me the basics of canning and preserving food. We used to make the yummiest apricot fruit leather this side of anywhere! I still get kind of puckery in my cheeks remembering that sweet/sour taste. Her pickled beets are the bomb. And no one, and I mean nobody anywhere, makes raspberry freezer jam like my mom does. I’ve tried and mine’s only a close second.

I learned to laugh from both Mom and Dad. Raising all of us kids wasn’t easy, to put it mildly, so to hear them laugh out loud was a treat. Their laughter dispelled some of the tension that inevitably snuck into family life and always reminded me that recreation and relaxation and daily laughter help balance out the tough times.

Photo By dave_7 from Lethbridge, Canada (VW Van) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By dave_7 from Lethbridge, Canada (VW Van) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons (Not the one I actually drove.)

I know how to drive a stick shift! How many people do you know can drive a vehicle with a manual transmission nowadays? I learned to drive on hills in a dual wheel converted flatbed truck as well as in a VW van. Because of that, driving the largest rental moving van across the country wasn’t all that intimidating a few years later.

I love to read and learn new things. I got that from both of them. That right there is probably key to all the rest of the stuff they taught me. And even now, they’re still learning new tricks, as Dad likes to call it. I hope I’m still soaking in the knowledge when i reach my grownup years like them.

These few things I learned from Dad and Mom have bounced around my head lately. I’m sure grateful to have learned so much. I think I turned out okay, so far at least. They must have done a good job.

P.S.

I’d still like to learn how to whistle like Dad does. Maybe this summer he can teach me.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Life’s Agenda and Mine Don’t Sync

Monday at Grand Canyon.

Monday at Grand Canyon.

Three days ago MSH and I took a day trip to the Grand Canyon with my Dad and Mom.

After taking a few days to allow the experience some time to settle in and process a bit, I thought that’s what I’d post about today. I figured it’d be a good way to work through my goodbye blues after Dad and Mom left this morning to drive back home.

But, LIFE has its own agenda sometimes. 

Nine hours after pulling out of my driveway this morning, Dad called with news that he’d taken Mom to the hospital in a tiny town just outside of the middle of nowhere. From there they flew her to a bigger hospital in a bigger town.

The doctor’s are saying Ischemic Stroke. That’s what they said in April and it turned out to be seizures in the area around her first stroke. Dad says she’s already doing better than she was this afternoon, so that’s something to hang on to.

Dad sounds optimistic and calm.

I’m just a puddled mess of tears and fears. Praying lots. Staying in touch with the siblings and relatives. Trying to feel some peace. At a complete loss for words now.

The next twenty-four hours will tell us more.

Any prayers you want to add to the mix surely garner my appreciation.

~~~

“We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.” ~Helen Keller

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Priceless Moment Captured

While walking this afternoon with Mom and Dad at the Riparian Preserve I snapped this photo of them.

Sweet moment.

Sweet moment.

At the time I didn’t think much of it. Just clicked the shutter and pocketed my phone. It wasn’t until hours later that I looked at it. Honestly it caught my breath. With dusk approaching and trees overhead the light framed this scene with a patina I find so appropriate.

Mom’s head inclined just so toward Dad says more than pages of words could ever achieve.

If you look really close you’ll see a bunny that allowed the two of them to get within mere feet to take its photo. Kind of magical, if you ask me.

I’m loving every moment I get to hang out with them. So glad they made the long drive to visit. I’m feeling loved, reassured and enveloped in a sort of peaceful bubble. I’m pretty sure it’s due to the presence of angels they surely have attending them. They definitely deserve that extra attention and care.

I love these two people beyond words.

That’s all.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

A Cat Tuner Changes his Tune

I didn’t plan this, but a year ago today I wrote this post about my Dad, the cat tuner extraordinaire. Strange, sometimes, how life circles back around.

Dad brought their cat inside the house (it’s definitely an outdoor cat) shortly after I arrived here and told me a story.

A week or two ago Dad says their cat went missing. When Lulu finally showed up her back right leg was dragging behind her and she acted out of sorts. Dad looked for obvious injuries and found none. No bleeding, no cuts, no scrapes, no missing fur. After a bit of thinking it over and talking with Mom, he decided to take the cat to the a local vet. The estimated wait time seemed too long, so Dad headed to another vet in the next town or two over who could see the cat right away.

After an exam and some tests and X-rays the vet determined the cat’s ligaments and tendons in that back leg had torn somehow. He could repair it with some surgery. After talking it over with Mom, (who is not a cat person, nor a pet person of any kind) Dad agreed to the surgery.

What?

Who are you and what did you do with my real Dad? 

So for the past week he’s been giving doses of antibiotic to Lulu and babying her like I’ve never seen before. Even Mom has let the cat sit on her lap and rubs its soft gray head until the purring vibrates some inner chord of contentment. That purr soothes Mom in return. And voila, a calmer Mom makes for a calmer Dad.

The stitches came out yesterday. The vet’s assistant commented that she’d never worked with a calmer, more well-behaved cat. No hissing, no scratching, no meowing, just Dad and Mom holding the trembling mass of fur while the stitches got snipped.

Not enjoying the car ride.

Not happy about the car ride.

The three of them make an interesting group.

  • Long haired Lulu with her back leg shaved, limps along like every movement hurts beyond contemplation, and yet she can carefully jump up on a chair or climb the stairs.
  • Mom who’s got the usual aches and pains of her age along with the effects of her stroke and seizures, sitting on the porch swing with Dad.
  • And Dad who last year didn’t like the porch swing swinging, but now doesn’t seem to mind it, who used to hobble about like an old man just for laughs, now hobbling about like an old man, but taking on some of Mom’s tasks, and keeping up with his own.

It’s almost as if the cat’s injury endeared them to it and made them all feel more connected. They’ve had to slow down and become content to stay put a bit more.

I asked Dad if his cat-tuning ways had changed tune. He denied it. He said something akin to, I’ve still got plenty of other cats to tune, or something like that. He’s just a mischievous twelve-year old at heart. But he’s also become more tender-hearted this past year, more attentive to Mom, more in tune with her and what she needs. It’s as if her injuries, and consequently her dependence on him, have endeared her to him more.

And Dad’s ministrations and attention to Mom have made her more affectionate and appreciative toward him.

Interesting turn of events, wouldn’t you say?

I think so.

None of them are the same as they were a year ago. In big, drastic ways. Mostly for the better in spite of, or maybe because of, the tough road. Who would have thought?

Sounds like a harmonious song to me.

 

 (For Twitch, who went to kitty heaven yesterday.)

10441291_10152078227880124_6547082206772806686_n

Categories: Family, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Giving In and Saying It Anyway

The earth somehow keeps spinning.

The earth somehow keeps spinning.

I’ve resisted as long as I can.

The voices have occupied my head for a day or more now. Ignoring them makes them grow louder. Sometimes what you want and what you need oppose each other like two big scary dogs, teeth bared, back hunched, a low growl, narrowed eyes, hackles up.

Fine. I give in. Here it is. The thoughts that have raced through my head the past twenty-four hours.

I’m not a Mother’s Day fan.

There. I said it.

What?

You want an explanation? Do I really need to give one?

Seriously, this year I decided to let go of that whiney, complaining, high expectations, nonsense that surrounds a holiday to celebrate motherhood. I had determined to embrace the joy, the beauty, the gift of life attitude of this greeting card holiday.

I nearly lost my Mom this past year. Twice. Heart stopping in its possibility, that thought has haunted me the past day. Haunted me since last July the first time it happened.

I’m sorry, but I can’t let my mother die. That can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t ever never ever never happen. My life would come to an end if that happened. You see, there’s this spiritual umbilical cord-like thing that attaches her life to mine and mine to hers. Her blood beats in my body. I’m part of her and she is part of me, in more ways than the merely physical.

We might go a week or two or even a month without talking on the phone and six months or more without seeing one another, but the connection of daughter to mother is strong and undeniable and filled with comfort and power and this undefinable somethingness I can’t find a word for.

How does anyone survive the death of their own mother? And then, how much more pain is there on Mother’s Day when your mother isn’t there to call on the phone, or have over for dinner, or send a card to?

I don’t ever want to find out.

When my best friend died five months ago part of me broke loose and has rattled around inside me trying to find a landing-place. So far it just keeps banging around, running into things, pinching, jabbing, stabbing, clanging about.

She left behind four children who today celebrate, mourn, cry, thrash, scream, yowl, sob, pretend, remember, deny, cherish, ache. My heart hurts for them, for their unspeakable pain and loss.

Then I think about all the mother’s that might have passed away this year, last year, all the years and such sorrow washes over me. How does the world keep spinning in the face of such things?

I have no idea.

I do know that Mothers possess a singular sort of magic.

Maybe it’s sort of like this. Some thing in the power of motherhood pushes life forward, keeps this impossible ball spinning on its axis, gives us strength and will to put one foot ahead of the other, and whispers in our ears, “Live!”

 

 

Categories: Death, parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Friday Letters to my Children

Dear J, J, L and L,

I’m not using your full names to protect you from my nonsense. I’ve been inspired by these four Dads whose blog is simply letters to their little kids. After reading their blog for a month or so, I suddenly thought, “I should do that!“ Except, you kids are all grown and flown. And you know me, the epic procrastinator of the century, I’d probably get around to an individual letter to each of you sometime around my ninetieth year, which is half a century-ish away.

So instead of my usual procrastination I’m going to have a weekly post of a letter to my children. One week it may speak to only one of you. Other weeks the letters may seem so off-kilter you’ll wonder why I even started it with the words, “Dear Kids.”

photo by Heinrich Böll Stiftung

photo by Heinrich Böll Stiftung

I just know that if I really want to get something done, then attaching it somehow to my blog and my writing will ensure that it happens. I hope you don’t mind the public nature of this undertaking. It seems a little weird, but also for me somehow, it feels safe. I don’t have that many readers anyway. And the few I do have seem sincere and kind and know me pretty well, or they’re related to me.

Another reason I want to do this came about after spending a week with Baby N and her Mom and Dad. I fluctuated between incredible pride at what a phenomenal Mom she already is and remembering what an epic failure I felt like as a new mom the first five years of motherhood. Rather than wallowing in my self-pity and semi-inaccurate view of my past life, I thought writing about it in specifics might help me paint a clearer picture of my life as a Mother. Maybe through this writing process I can forgive myself for those failures of naiveté, youth and inexperience. That’d be a bonus for me.

It’s been an evolutionary process to raise the four of you. I’ve learned things no university could ever hope to instill. I’ve felt some of the most exalted and some of the most heart-wrenching emotions as a mother. Most of it has been somewhere between the two extremes.

The other part of this Friday Letters to My Kids thing would be to paint a clearer picture for you of who your mother is. Or who I was back then. It’s not like I’m ever going to stop being your Mom. Hardly. It’s a lifetime buy-in that I’m ever so glad I stumbled on.

No names, but you gotta admit these are some cute kids!!

No names, but you gotta admit these are some cute kids!!

With that long preamble said, for today all I want to say is “Thank you!” I am a blessed woman to have the four of you in my life. I’m proud of each one of you for being true to who you are, for being kind, loving, fun, caring, responsible people. You’ve turned out better than my wildest dreams.

You’ve also made me who I am: a little nuts, a lot of worrier and a deep thinker, and someone who needs a ton of laughter for balance and sanity.

I promise I won’t ask you here to pack or move any boxes. I really won’t expect you to do any inventory, or yard work, or dishes, or organizing. A family campout might be in order someday. Can you imagine all of us, with the babies out camping? In the rain?

Oh, and most important of all, I promise, no naked baby pictures!

I look forward to our Fridays. I’m a little scared as well, but I think it’ll be a great ride. It can’t be any worse than being raised by me and your Dad, right? How embarrassing was that? Oh. Right. “Speedos,” thongs, who-hair, family singing and sewing projects. I’ll try to avoid anything that horrifying.

I love you,

Mom

P.S. (I know, I know, it isn’t actually Friday, but it will be in a few days. This is just the introduction anyway. It’s not really an official letter.)

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Long and Winding Road to Here

My parents invested in an encyclopedia set not long after they married. As a bonus to that purchase they also received “The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls,” a set of nine red volumes of stories, folk and fairy tales, poems, nursery rhymes, songs, history, crafts, and science.

Mom read to us often from those books. I recall sitting on her lap or beside her as the words that accompanied simple line drawings came to life. Occasionally an illustration filled an entire page with bright colors and the words faded into the background as I imagined myself into the story.

photo 1-2Even on days when my mother didn’t have time to read, I still looked through the books, drinking in the drawings, remembering stories and poems, planning which ones I wanted her to read next. We wore those books ragged, until the bindings broke down and pages tore and went missing. To this day I love Aesop’s tales and the simple rhymes of early childhood.

A decade ago, while perusing shelves at a small local used bookstore, I ran across a complete and unsullied set of these books. You can only imagine my stunned and delighted response. If they had cost ten times as much as I paid I would have still bought them. As it was, they were a steal. I consider those volumes some of my dearest friends and most cherished possessions. They serve as a link to my tender childhood years and a witness to my love of all things written.

A love of reading and anything to do with words settled securely as the foundation of who I would become because of the time my mother spent reading to me. Her willingness to let me rifle through those pages without worry over how gentle I was or how pristine they might look on the shelf, also planted a seed of familiarity and comfort with the written word.

photo by  Richard Benson

photo by Richard Benson

Occasionally as a young’un I’d see a child’s printing set for sale somewhere and my coveting genes kicked in. I craved the opportunity to hand print a book, letter by letter, word by word with a black stamp pad and alphabet stamps. Obviously I had no concept of what such an ominous task would require. Coming up with the money for this desired prize never happened, so a self-stamped, self-published book stayed a distant, unreachable dream.

I adored attending school, learning new things, from early kindergarten, “we walk on the right side of the hallway,” and onward from there. I also adored my teachers as they held the keys to knowledge whose doors I so very much wanted to pass through.

In first grade our teacher gave an assignment that I ran with. “Write about other things you can do with a pencil beside writing.” I filled my page rapidly with idea after idea of uses for a simple pencil. I felt as if I’d invented some clever, never before conjured ideas. The next day our teacher read my little essay to the class. Such pride never before filled a child’s heart as mine did that day. Then the teacher told me I had “a very creative mind” and that she “expected great things” from me.

In response I threw my all into writing assignments and anything requiring even a modicum of creativity. This lasted well beyond first grade.

Writing became so ingrained in me that when I hit those confusing years between twelve and eighteen I turned to the written word to make sense of it all. I filled notebook after notebook with whatever was cruising through my head. And at that age, one’s head spins at incredible speeds. My journals became my best friend, my confidant, my therapist, and my outlet for stress of all kinds. I’m not sure how other kids survive their teen years, but I got through mine using a number two pencil and reams and reams of paper.

I spend what seems like too much time right here.

I spend what seems like too much time right here.

Then in college one professor in particular praised my writing with abandon and kindness. This professor encouraged me to put a few more years behind me and then write like mad. I’m afraid I put a few too many decades behind me before I let myself go crazy with my writing. Those decades can fill volumes though, if I’m only brave enough and creative enough to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.

Five years ago I sat next to a young woman at a volunteer day. She struck up a conversation with me that led us to learn that we both loved writing. She suggested we form a writer’s group. I thought it sounded like a glorious plan. She had the chutzpah to follow through and find a couple of other women to join us. We four started writing five years ago last month, and haven’t stopped.

All these experiences have taught me something about myself that I hardly dare think out loud and yet I’m about to say it here, in public.

I am a writer.

I owe thanks to a mother who read to me, a set of wonder filled books, a teacher’s praise, a strange but effective coping mechanism, a professor’s encouragement and my writer’s group. Thanks to such a convergence I proudly refer to myself as a writer.

I write so that I know what I’m really thinking. I write so that others can see things through a slightly different lens. I write so that someone can say, “ah, that is exactly how I have felt.”

Mostly, I write because I simply can’t help myself.

**********

 

“Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.” ~Erica Jong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Relationships, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Laughing at the Lemons

I’m a proponent of the lemons => lemonade way of thinking. I must have learned it from my Mother. Since her stroke she’s been incredibly optimistic and downright hilarious at times. Now that I’m not hanging out with her on a daily basis, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I know I’m missing out on some great laughs and I-can-do-this kind of thinking. As role models go she’s been the best, but now she’s added new dimensions to what I admire and strive for.

mother quoteOne of the best lemons turned sweet is her sense of humor. Here’s a few humorous things Mom’s said since her stroke:

While still in the hospital, two of my sisters who shall remain nameless, and my Mom in her wheelchair, got into the elevator. The door closed. They waited. And they waited. Finally, Mom, the one who had suffered the stroke a few weeks earlier, and at the time was still struggling with basics like walking and talking and eating, piped up and said, “Shouldn’t we push the button?”

Mom lauded that one for all it was worth. My sisters swore each other to secrecy about the incident. I think Mom was the one who told me about it. For the record, my sister who teaches second grade was NOT involved in that incident.

Always looking out for and concerned about the other person, Mom was talking about how many hours Dad had spent at the hospital, which is an hour and half drive from their home.

“Your poor Dad! While I’ve been in the hospital he’s had to sleep at your Aunt and Uncle’s house, and your brother’s house and at your sister’s house. He’s just been sleeping around.”

Then, a pause, followed by her giggling at how funny her last sentence was.

Sunset

Sunset (Photo credit: armisteadbooker)

Shortly after she got back home we liked to sit out on the front porch at sunset. One evening while sitting on the porch swing, Dad joined us. Not long after sitting down on the swing he started getting a bit irritated at Mom for making the swing rock back and forth. He likes to sit still. Finally he gave up when she couldn’t keep herself from moving the swing. As he got up to walk away Mom thought a minute and then hollered after him, “I guess I’m just a swinger!”

Her giggle turned into a laugh this time. Dad just shook his head and grinned as he stepped inside the house.

Lest you think my Mom has all the wit and wisdom in that duo, here’s an interesting bit about my Dad.

I had plugged my iPhone into Mom’s charger since her iPhone and mine are nearly identical and my charger was upstairs. When I went to unplug it I couldn’t get the plug out. I pulled and tugged and tweaked and got aggravated. Then I gave up for a while. When Dad came in the room I told him my dilemma. He said, “Here, let me see it.” He’s not much into technology, so I thought, fine, he’ll get out some tool and pry it out of there and then we’ll have to buy something to replace what’s broken. He took the phone from me and said, “Have you tried this?” He squeezed the outside edges of the plug and gently pulled the charger out of my phone.

Apparently, Mom’s charger has a couple of release buttons on the side, which mine does not. Outsmarted by the older not-so-tech-savvy-guy again! Dang it. He always had the answers when I was growing up, too.

You can see I’m a lucky girl, raised by such smart, witty, optimistic and persevering parents.

I hope they know how wonderful they are!

Categories: Family, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hot Pink Satin Heels

My mother wore hot pink satin heels. I kid you not.

That image has been in my mind the past few days and won’t go away. So I’ll give it my full attention and then set it free.

Why would Mom wear hot pink satin heels? Because the shoes matched the hot pink satin dress she wore. And that matched Dad’s hot pink tie and cummerbund.

Hot Pink Heels

The two of them danced in a performance group when I was young.

The hot pink outfit was my favorite. The waist of that dress cinched in tight to Mom’s tiny tummy and then flared out in a wide swoop of flowing fabric when she twirled. There was some crinoline or tulle underneath to keep it fluffed and full when she wasn’t spinning.

Oh how I loved it when they got dressed up and ready to go out dancing. Seems like Dad wore cuff links and smelled like Old Spice. He tried not to smile, but it crept onto his face anyway. Mom clipped on round hot pink earrings as the perfect touch to her bouffant flip. The soft silky smoothness of the pink satin felt decadent and mysterious, luscious and exciting. They both glowed with something besides the reflection of the nearly fluorescent color. Joy? Fun? Anticipation? Relief at getting away from us kids? A night out alone?

Adelaide ballroom dancing

Hearing the swish of her skirt and seeing the light in their eyes brought a sense of wonder and contentment with it. Why? I had no idea then. Now I know that those shared times, getting dressed up and going out together, were part of what got them through the tough days and often long nights of parenting and responsibility. Those brief moments of fun built a bridge over the difficulties of life.

Some days, when Mom was busy elsewhere in the house, I snuck into the closet and just let my hand run along the fabric as if I were petting a rare animal. I don’t remember ever trying on the shoes, although I can’t believe I didn’t. Wouldn’t you?

Somewhere, surely, there’s a photo or some 8mm film of the two of them dressed up and dancing. I’m making a mental note, and a written note, to see if I can find such sweet evidence of their younger dancing years together.

I learned early on to idolize, fantasize and dream of dancing as the most romantic of adventures. Little wonder that years later dancing swept me off my feet and into a whirling, silly, illogical relationship that became MSH.

Dad and Mom later joined a square dancing group. I’m sure they had every bit as much fun do-si-doeing and as they did waltzing.  But for me, nothing else carried the mystique of their hot pink satin nights.

Categories: Family, Memory Lane, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Childhood Revisited: Swinging In From a Star

Today’s post  is a response to this WordPress Daily Post writing prompt.: “What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.”

 

Pressing my face into the mesh of memory, I’ve searched and searched for details from my earliest childhood.  My attempts to peel back the layers, clarify the view and remove the dust and cobwebs find little substance. 

The few memories that surface are vague at best.  I couldn’t tell you how old I was, only where I was, but not when.  It’s as if I’m waiting for movie clips about myself from the outside like an independent observer.  But in reality the only point of view is from the inside looking out.  There aren’t any movie trailers.

Well, there are those 8mm films my parents took.  But that’s a memory of a memory.

There is this one clear, unchanging mental image, my first memory, my first awareness of being. My first experience with me-ness. 

I am walking between my dad and my mom, going up the street towards our little white clapboard house.  Each of them has taken hold of one of my hands. Whether I could walk on my own, I have no idea.  Maybe I was young enough that they were encouraging walking, or I could have been older and needing to be kept in check by the two of them. The world is vague and blotchy, all color and wash. The features of most things have no distinct form or shape. Our house is the only clear landmark.

The sensation of a hand in each of theirs is vivid; warmth and energy pulse into me.  And then, suddenly, I am soaring up and out, secured between them like a swing.  Then I am walking on the ground again.  I hear, “One, two, three!” and I sail out into the air again, safely tethered to them both.

Multiple times they count and launch me heavenward.  Each “three” creates the sensation of my body feeling free and ephemeral, accompanied by gravity’s pull back between them. Whether I spoke the words or merely thought them, my mind says, “again,” after each swing out and back. 

night sky

night sky (Photo credit: dcysurfer / Dave Young)

I remember laughter, mine or theirs.  Both, I’m sure.

I could easily believe a tale of my birth as a launching from heaven, lofted into the cosmos, riding a wave of star dust and gently landing between my father and mother. Caught between the two of them, I scatter dust from my journey as I swing back and forth, back and forth.  It’s a fairy tale worth holding on to. 

My earliest memory of childhood makes it feel as if I came swinging into this world suspended between them, held fast by love and joy.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Love, Memory Lane, parenting, Wondering | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: