as it was

May 19, 2008

It was the first time I have seen my mother dance. She clung tightly to my stepfather, her tear-stained face resting on his shoulder. Next to me, my brother wept at the sight, covering his face with his hands. I hesitantly rested my hand on his hunched shoulder, longing to reach out in a big sisterly love but restrained by my own discomfort at seeing his tears. He cried out of a pure, loving joy at the closeness of our family that day. And he cried because he saw the touching beauty of our paralyzed mother being supported by her husband as the emotions of such an intensely significant day overcame her.
My own reaction, however, was decidedly more conflicted. I wanted to see it as beautifully moving; I even wished that I could also be moved to tears, as I had been earlier, as the bride and groom said their vows, and when I spoke in tribute. But I could not. Instead, my eyes were glued to Mom’s feet. My practicality overruled emotion, and I held an internal debate as to whether or not I needed to walk over and straighten Mom’s feet for her. You see, her right ankle had done what it habitually does, weakening so that her foot leaned precariously to one side. What I knew was that this means she had been on her feet for too long, lessening her mobility and her flexibility. Sometimes she cannot feel the foot when it does this. But other times it is painful for her.
So as I watched, all I could do was worry about that foot and wonder if I should disturb the dance floor in order to walk over and readjust her feet.
Sometimes, I guess, the grit of life interferes with what would have been just a pretty picture. Because the harsh reality is that I cannot simply let go of my identity as a duty-driven eldest child. So as much as I longed to just treasure the moment for its beauty, I was powerless to manufacture those emotions. I envied my brother’s youthfully intense emotions, but it would be senseless now for me to waste energy regretting that which I no longer have the innocence to possess.
At the age of nine I grew old. And now, at the age of 28, I still find myself struggling, at times, with the daily realities of a life that is what it is, and not necessarily as it should be.
But you know, I don’t mind that so much. When it comes down to it, who really wants it all to be a bed of roses anyhow? It is only through weathering the storms that we can really savour the joys.
And so yesterday I decided against “fixing” my mother’s foot. I stayed right where I was, feeling what I felt—and marveling at what my brother felt. The moment was what it was . . . and that is exactly what it should have been.

Stopping to chat with my garden-growing, rose-donating elderly friend this afternoon, I noticed how lovely she was and asked if I could take her photo. She protested, claiming that she looked horrid. I told her she was beautiful. She dismissed me with a wave and a “pshaw,” yet obliged as I took out my camera. She is beautiful, is she not? :-)

Old Mother Hubbard, she lived in a cupboard . . .
Eating her curds and whey?
Maybe I don’t know so much about Old Mother Hubbard,
But I’ve still got something to say.

Cause I’ve got a mother–a young mother, maybe,
But a mother who’s better by far,
Than any cupboard-abiding Old Mother I see,
And here’s why Mom raises the bar:

For starters she’s gallant–so daring and bold,
She braves any challenge she sees.
For instance she zips down the slopes, in the cold,
Past all, on her handicap skis.

Another trait of my mother that puts her beyond
The realm of your average Plain Jane,
Is a wit that’s too sharp to ever be conned,
And sense of humor that keeps us all sane.

One time, for example, Mom came in the door,
Calling her rambunctious crew all around,
To say she had just bought a treat for us four:
A “six-pack” at the store, she had found!

The truth is that while she was there at the grocer,
She’d seen what had given her pause:
A “beer” touted as non-alcoholic inspired her
To play a prank on her dearest young ones!

Fact is I could prattle for ages on end
About all the ways mom’s a marvel.
But by the time I was done I’d have to extend
This poem to the length of a novel.

So here I will close with a simple word more,
To say that it’s high time, I gather,
That this woman who’s truly a “mom” to the core,
Is soon going to be a Grandmother!

the unnamed painter

May 9, 2008

Something about this pertly pink painter struck me as picture-perfect when I passed. So I was happy to see him still at it on the way back home; this time I stopped behind the bush to pull out my camera and snap the shot. It was a rather cumbersome process, digging the camera out of a full sack, putting down the flowers I was carrying in my other hand, and lowering my sunglasses in order to see properly for photographic purposes. By the time I was poised and ready, the realization that I should have asked him permission to take his photo finally occurred to me; but I fear I must confess that I was too hot at the time, and preoccupied with getting home to prepare for Youth Meeting, to do as I should . . .
But this anonymous gentleman has, I hope, in his unknowing heart, kindly allowed me to post him here :-)

the sweetest fruit?

May 7, 2008

Remember the “thieving grass” post? Well today I met that “grass”:
Passing by the field, I saw 3 brown heads quickly dart down to avoid being spotted. In my best stern teacher voice, I ordered them out and told them they should know better than to trespass: “Boys, get out of there this minute–you know you’re supposed to go straight home after school!” I stifled a laugh as they dashed to heed my order, awkwardly squeezing back through the narrow wooden slats of the gate. And then I snapped this shot of their smug faces, sticky with mango juice . . . I’ve heard it said that stolen fruit is the sweetest kind :-)

that angel for you

May 4, 2008

Ok, here’s your sand angel, Kel :-) It was, I think, my first–and I consequently discovered just how difficult it is to get trillions of grains of sand off my sticky [but tanned!] skin, and out of my hair . . .