"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Visiting Royalty

I have recently been so blessed to have the most special visitors
come to my house.

Royalty, almost.

My daughter Kathleen and my grandbaby Abigail, 14 months, arrived for the annual February visit. A chance to actually get outdoors without layers of woolens, hats, gloves, boots, etc.
Feel the sun warming their pale skin and cold bones.
Since they live so very far away, a visit is a momentous occasion.
We treasured every minute of every day for the short weeks.

Maybe it's because she is a super active little girl or
maybe because I'm an aging grandmother, but I was astounded
at Abigail's endless busyness.
She says only a few words and we worked constantly to understand her language
as she tried to make her needs known.

She stays on the lookout for things within her reach and played with anything
AND everything she could get her hands on.
This very old cream can (in the picture below) hides behind the front door but she spied it and
then proceeded to drag it all over the house by the little handle.
The metal clanking at least let us know where she was toddling.

I learned to be vigilant about COMPLETELY closing the pantry door
and my bathroom and closet drawers.
She could snatch an item from a drawer I was standing near faster than I could see her come and go with it.
You can almost hear her brain growing and sorting information.

A comical and unique behavior is her wanting to climb inside things.
Her toybox was filled with toys but she would daily toss out some and then climb inside, playing with the remainder of the stuff inside with her.

And she likes to wear things around her neck--stuffed toys, clothing,
and particularly this medal from Relay for Life.
It dangled down so far that she often stepped on it while climbing and then couldn't raise her head, pinned as it was by her foot on the medal.
Oh, how we laughed at her--or should I say with her.
She joined in the laughter.
Then took a bow.
Our little starring gymnast!

Her vast desire to learn, touch and taste was fascinating-
and a bit exhausting! (I must admit.)
One big adventure was watching her walking on GRASS for the very first time.
The unevenness and texture of it intrigued her but she mastered it in one afternoon.

Kathleen and I enjoyed hours of walks with great times for talking and sharing our thoughts and feelings on life. Abigail happily (mostly!) rode along in the stroller.
When her wiggling grew too much, we let her out to run around and explore.

She totally filled our days with joy and energy.
Most of the days' hours were spent keeping her safe, trying to decipher what she wanted,
playing with her, feeding her or trying to get her to sleep.
That pretty much accounted for our time.

But, somehow Kathleen managed to squeeze out enough time to help me with some projects I have been longing to get done for over a year.
The biggest one was to mount a pulley system and hang our big canoe up along the ceiling on the garage. I have wanted it off the floor for 7+ years.
This Wonder Woman used her housebuilding experience to handle a drill like a pro and,
with 2 little pages of instructions, got that big boat out of our way.
I am STILL impressed!
She may be a full time mama, but she is still a sweet and thoughtful
daughter to me, as well.
And every time I walk into our garage, I am reminded of her love expressed
in the task of hanging a 75-lb, 14- foot canoe for me.
That is love spoken in MY language!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lingering on Memory Lane

Hello, dear readers.
I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything, but it's not
because I've been doing nothing, but rather because the days have been full.
My daughter traveled a long way with my wee granddaughter for a visit
and we cherished every minute together.
Kathleen searches for acts of kindness to show her love for me--
she is very precious that way.

One project I've wanted to do is to transfer years' worth of videos onto DVD's.
Daunting, to say the least.
Well, she got me started and I've kept up the momentum.

The only way to do this transfer is by playing the video in real time,
meaning 6 hours per cassette.
I get drawn in to watching our family history as the hours roll on:
birthdays with balloons, cakes and candles,
holidays with the trimmings,
Christmas trees and stockings,
first days of school,
assorted pets,
leaving home for college,
musicals and concerts,
friends and neighbors
and sports events:
Track, swimming, baseball, cross-country, triathlons...

Here's the thing:
As I watch the events roll by on the TV,
I am transported back to the actual time and find myself
smiling, laughing, and even crying as I relive the moments.
The year could be 1996 or 1998--it doesn't matter.
I am once again a mother with 3 real characters for children, being goofy
in the garden, at the table, raking the lawn--making me laugh then and now.
What a blessing!!!
To demonstrate just how absorbed I get in these old family "movies",
I have watched HOURS of races-- in the pool, on the track,
or woodsy cross-country trails.
I hear myself screeching "Go! Go! Go!"
(Heavens, was I a "soccer mom" before the term was coined?)
Strange as it may seem to you (and it does to ME),
my heart beats faster and my hands grip the chair
as I watch my children compete.
My brain may know that this particular event happened over 15 years ago,
but still I hold my breath as Hillary flies over the hurdles on the track,
Kathleen dives into the pool off the blocks and Jonathan pitches strikes.
My mother's heart skips beats wanting each child to be successful
but also (and mostly) safe.
Those two facts are not mutually inclusive.

I ponder the direction these children's lives have gone.
The critical importance of running hard, swimming fast, pitching straight--
the medals and awards won...do these matter today at all?

I believe they do. That same effort
(and what amazing effort and work, as I view them now--whew!)
is still a part of them today. Perhaps not in the sports arena, but in the everyday
of who they are--in business, healthcare administration, and homemaking.
On the screen tonight, I viewed the faces of acute disappointment when the best of efforts did not result in the outcome they wanted, chests heaving from the physical demands.
I watched their disappointment turn into determination to push even yet harder the next time.
And I sit, alone in my living room, on the edge of my chair,
cheering and hoping that THIS time she will win!
I am astounded at the physical demands these children of mine put on their young bodies--pushing to the limits. Beyond reserves.
And I recognize the same determination and perseverance in each of them in 2012.
I am as proud of them today as when I sat in the bleachers or theater seats years ago.
Not for successes, but for efforts.
And I am thankful for these videos-
though the quality is often poor and the pictures blurry,
the images evoke strong memories that bring me great joy.
I love to laugh and these dear children of mine are giving me that gift-again!

If there are still DVD players around when I go into the nursing home,
you'll hear me laughing even then.