mom, & the pond
July 8, 2013
I didn’t cry this year: this time I laughed my way through the Fourth of July fireworks. I had a little one perched on my shoulders, directing me. “That way!” . . . “Closer!” Where those people are sitting? “Yes!” Ok. “Back to the truck!” Should I walk backwards so you can still see the fireworks? “No!”
She lost interest in the show surprisingly quickly, deciding she was much more interested in her own game of throwing her glow-bracelet as far as she could into the air. I, however, was surprisingly interested in the show. This year I enjoyed it. In fact, I enjoyed two shows. One in Mississippi during the work/training and one last night, after landing here in New Hampshire.
I find myself struggling with a bit of culture shock suddenly. It hadn’t really hit until now, as the past several weeks have been filled with so much travel, work, and planning that I really haven’t had time to think about the cultural shift. The amount of activity has not really changed, but now I am back in some old home territory that has brought up a great deal of memories and emotions in a very short period of time. I am also with family again—this time my mother—and am realizing that as old as a relationship may be, you can never just sit back on your relational laurels: relationships require attention and energy, no matter what age and season of life you find yourself in. At this particular one in my own life, I find I am musing on what it means to be intentional about enjoying the familial relationship. For various reasons, my default mentality for too many years was one of obligation. I did what I felt I was supposed to do with regards to my family members. I tried to please, and tried to do—to be—what was expected. It didn’t occur to me to do anything differently. And I ended up feeling like a very different person when with my family than when in work or social settings. Here again, it did not occur to me that there was anything odd about this.
Now, though, I’m questioning that. Some of my family relationships have felt dramatically different over the past few years, in a very good way. I have been able to broaden my mindset and actually enjoy the relationship, in ways that I had previously assumed could only happen outside of the family. Maybe this is a sign of my delayed maturity. But whatever it means, I want the pattern to continue.
This afternoon I was feeling overwhelmed. Socially spent and out of my comfort zone of routings, I was wanting to escape but not even knowing how to do that. I had in mind a few things that sounded appealing for the chunk of time in between church and our afternoon dinner plans: one involved visiting my workplace/home of 3 years ago and the other involved finding a place to swim. The visit to the Inn was a bit disappointing, as it has changed hands since then and I found little of comfort or familiarity about it. The search for a swimming spot was unsuccessful and I soon petered out in motivation to keep trying on my own. Coming back home, I vented a bit to Mom about the afternoon. I felt a bit silly for my complaints, in that it seemed like mere self-centered goals to have, that sort of deserved to be thwarted. But she seemed un-phased—seemed to sympathize, in fact. “You know,” she said after a moment, “you could just go next door and jump in the neighbor’s pond.” Their pond? I queried. Can you actually swim in it? Mom shrugged. “I do it. I’ll just give her a call and tell her you might be there.” She returned her attention to her husband and I smiled at the happy inspiration.
Yes, that was precisely what I would do. Thinking I should maybe try to not get too dirty, I took my swim cap with my. But once there, I decided that keeping my hair dry would defeat the purpose of cooling off, so I just allowed the pleasure of a full plunge. It was glorious. I actually swam a few laps, wearing my swim goggles and enjoying the view of the pond innards as I did so. When I got out of the water and started the walk back, I saw the neighbor in the pen with the horse. “You didn’t know you had a lap pool, did you?” I joked. As we talked the horse actually escaped from the fence so we spent a few minutes trying to corral “Miss Mary.” I got a nice horse nuzzle then headed back, rejuvenated for the rest of the day’s events . . . and ever so grateful for my Mama ☺
*I didn’t take my camera when I went swimming. But I did have a photo from the parade before the fireworks. I ran after the float to take this picture, thinking that it was just too perfect: my kind of float, I guess :-)