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The One About Being Recognized

Our Princess had a swim meet today.

Out.  Of.  Town.

It was kind of a big deal.

We’ve never done this before, after all, and anytime you do something for the first time…..well, it can be a little crazy.

I was helping her pack towels, robe, water bottle, goggles, swim cap…..

and doing her hair so said swim cap would fit.  No easy feat.

I did my usual OCD round of making sure doors were locked and things unplugged and fixed my own cup of water.

And we were off.  Like a herd of turtles, as the Fella often says.

Nearly two hours later we arrived.  Big city stuff,  y’all.  Big indoor pool, with more lanes than I could count, but I’m guessing around 25.  HUGE.

We immediately discovered that those of us attending as fans had overdressed a bit.  We were dressed for the cooler weather in our jeans and long-sleeved shirts.  We stood out among the locals who knew better and were in shorts and t-shirts.  It was h-a-w-t, hot in there.

It was a lot of fun though.  So much going on to see.  So many folks to people watch.  And then there was our Princess herself.  From our seats on the upper level, we had a birdseye view of her dancing around between her heats, always the ballerina at heart.  She found friends to sit and talk and play with, and she was her usual self, full of a joy for life that I often find myself envying.

During one lull, I needed to stretch my legs.  I went downstairs, where it was MUCH cooler, and visited the little girls’ room.  There was no one else in there.  When I opened the door to exit the stall, there was a big grinning face waiting on me.  Before I could completely register who it was, this girl, who is on the verge of being as tall as I am, grabbed me and gave me a full on bear hug.

My baby girl.

“Isn’t it funny running into you in here?” she laughed.

“How did you know it was me in there?” I asked her, still a little overwhelmed.

“Well, I came in here and I heard you jingling.  I thought, ‘I know that jingle,’ so I looked at your shoes just to be sure, and there you were!” She was tickled with herself.

My jingling.  That’s how she knew me.  My special, one of a kind jingle.   That’s precious right there.  We go through our days not realizing how what we wear or put on or spray on could be imprinting someone else with the essence of us.  But it does.  The smell of Jergen’s lotion still brings my Mama closer.

A year and a half ago my oldest bought me a Mother’s Day gift all on her own, with her own money–ordered it from the internet and everything.  It was a  necklace with a charm on it that said “mama,” surrounded by sweet things that Mama’s do.  Since that time I’ve added a charm with “family” and a heart and another circle that has the names of my three children on it.  I wear it everyday, and when I think about it, I realize it does jingle.  A lot.  But I hardly notice it anymore.

Until today.

Tonight I’m thankful for my sweet girl and her love of swimming.  Just as her older sister did, she is taking me on adventures to see new places and learn new things, all because of who she is and what she loves.  I’m thankful for the gift of my beautiful necklace that describes my greatest challenge and favorite role in life, all in one–being their Mama.  And I give thanks for being accosted by a big goofy smile on a beautiful face that knows me…..because she loves me enough to pay attention to what makes me me.

May we all have someone who recognizes our jingles, and whose jingle we could pick out of a crowd.  That’s the really good stuff, isn’t it?  That’s love.

 

Love to all.

 

 

To Monogram or Not To Monogram

I grew up wearing hand-me-downs.  I loved it when my cousins and others shared their clothes with me.  I couldn’t wait to go through the bags and see what I’d be wearing for the next few months.  It was like Christmas about twice a year–so much fun.

Maybe that’s why I love shopping at the GW Boutique so much.  Great clothes can be found, and it’s the next best thing to getting my cousin’s hand-me-downs.

I’ve had my mind pondering on something for a while, but yesterday all those thoughts came to a head, insisting on being written.

The littles and I were at the GW looking for an “Indiana Jones” style jacket for Cooter.  Yes, they’ve had their costumes for over a month.  Yes, we had a great time shopping for them and all was set.  And yes, he changed his mind.  As did his sister.  *sigh*  Remind me next year not to take them costume shopping until one week out–at the earliest.

I could have told him no, but he’s been so cute reading “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and asking me what big words mean.  I thought I’d give it one shot, and if we didn’t find a jacket, then it was back to Game Plan A.

I love the GW, have I mentioned that before?

There, in the little boys’ section, hanging in the middle of the rack was a little boy’s leather Gap jacket.  The size looked small but the jacket didn’t.  I tried it on him.  Perfect!  And for less than $5, my boy has a new winter jacket and a costume accessory to boot.  He doesn’t even mind that it has someone else’s name written inside.  It’s a cool name, and Cooter says it’s his secret agent undercover name.  Win, win, win.

I wandered around just a little bit, and I saw a monogrammed coat.  It was really cute–apple green with hot pink monogramming.  LOVE.  Our Princess looked at it for a few minutes and asked, “What are those letters, Mama?”

And you know what?

With the scrolling font, it took me a minute to figure it out myself.

And I got to wondering–how often do I actually read the letters of a monogram on someone’s jacket/purse/boots/glasses/necklace etc?  I don’t know that I consciously do sit and read the letters that often.

Which brings me to my next thought.

To monogram or not to monogram?

I mean, if my cousins had been into all that (or I suppose, if my aunt had), I would have been dressed very differently all those years growing up.  I am thankful they didn’t monogram things.

My oldest is into monogramming.  And I’m okay with that.  She’s the size she’s going to be, so she will likely keep these things until they wear out.  If and when she marries, she can even wear them then, whether she changes her last name or not.  Those three letters are hers forever.

I haven’t really had anything monogrammed for our Princess.  She’s very nearly ten, and she’s still very much growing.  All indications are that she will be tall like the Fella, so she outgrows things faster than GW can put new stuff out on the racks it seems.  It would feel very wasteful to me to put her initials on any clothing items at this point.  Then I’d be stuck with all of these things with three letters that only a very select few could appreciate.  (Can you imagine what planets would have to align for one’s taste, size, color preferences, and initials to be the same as my girl’s?)   I have, in recent years, had a couple of bags embroidered with her name or initials.  One bag we even had “Queen Elsa” embroidered on.  She uses it when we go off–she knows it’s hers, but no one around us knows her name.  It’s a safety thing.  I’m kind of obsessed.

I recently had a shirt monogrammed, as it was free with the shirt, and I thought, okay, why not?  I hope that I will either wear it to shreds or one of my girls will want it out of sentimentality.  Seriously, I struggled long and hard before I had those initials put on there.  I mean, no one else can really use it now, can they?

So that made me wonder how old is too old to be putting your initials on things?  I mean, can I really get the wear out of it before I leave it here for someone else to deal with?

We just can’t know that, I guess, can we?

So this apple green coat.  I did a crazy thing.

I bought it.

Here’s why.

First, it was cute, it was cheap, and the money goes to help folks.

Win, win, win.

But then there is the matter of those three letters.

NONE of which are mine.

So here’s what I hope to do.

I want to get up enough nerve to wear it.

Out.

In public.

And see if anyone notices, comments, or even glances sidewise at the monogram on the coat.

It’s my own little experiment to see if folks do, in fact, read monograms.  Or if they even care that the monogram is not my own.

The coat is washed and cleaned and dry and waiting for a cold enough day for me to don it and see what ensues.

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This could get entertaining, and goodness knows there isn’t enough of that in this world.  At least not quality entertainment.

And, if anyone notices, I can always take a cue from Cooter and say it’s my undercover secret agent name’s…..monogram.  (The monogram is S.H.P.  Suggestions for code names welcome.)

This is just too much fun.

But seriously, please take the surveys below and let me know your thoughts on monogramming.  I’m really curious to see where y’all stand.

Wishes for quality entertainment and love to all.

 

leaving pink behind

when she was old enough to know her colors

pink was all she loved

pink sheets, pink blanket, pink pajamas

pink everything

 

a year ago she began talking about purple,

how she pretty much thought it might be her favorite color–

it seemed more appropriate for someone one year shy

of being ten

she still loved pink

but purple came in and sat alongside

 

two days ago, I heard her say,

in what I can only describe as preteen adamance,

with regards to something her brother said,

“why did he tell me he’d get me that in–PINK?!?

doesn’t he know PURPLE is my favorite color?”

As.  If.

she has officially turned her back on pink

as though it never held a place of honor

much like other ones who have grown older and said

they never loved the purple dinosaur

though I can attest otherwise…..

but wisely don’t

 

I see her growing and leaving behind the things

of her childhood–

the miniature dolls she toted everywhere

now lie limply in the unzipped bag in the corner of her room

little Rosa, her black puppy that we could not leave home without,

I have not seen in months

hiding, I suppose, missing the little girl who named her that

because it means “pink” in Spanish

(she once loved Dora too, but we don’t talk about that anymore either)

 

she loved to dress up like princesses and could spend the day

learning and reading and playing in one of those dresses

only this year she wants to dress up like a wicked one, and I am left

pondering and remembering and intrigued–

that this sweet Princess is finding her darker side…..

 

so please, won’t you understand, that when she asked again,

just the other day,

for a lovely doll for the celebration of her first decade on earth

why my heart leapt and I am moving heaven and

earth

to find that doll and have one more day of make-believe and

tea parties

with my little girl

who isn’t quite so little anymore

before she leaves the purple behind too

 

 

 

Why My Pumpkin is Blue

I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you might have missed it–

We are a family with food allergies.

Because if one person has food allergies, you all are affected.

We don’t have anything in the house she cannot have.  We don’t choose things in restaurants that she could not have, and we don’t go places she can’t go.

It’s how we roll.  All for one…..

her sister in college even avoids having things in her dorm room, just in case her sister stops by for a visit.

That’s what love looks like.

Caring enough to give up something for the benefit of another.

At least that is what motivates us around here.  Goodness knows, I don’t read labels until I’m blurry-eyed (have you seen how small some of the print is) and avoid certain places for the fun of it.  I don’t pack her extra snacks for get-togethers or cringe when she’s around folks eating what she’s allergic to because I enjoy it.

I do it because her life depends on it.

Holidays and celebrations are tricky times.  Most of these days/gatherings/celebrations come together around one thing, right?

Food.

Which makes it hard, when one’s choices are extremely limited.  Nothing with the allergens, nothing processed with the allergens, and oh good gravy, please tell me you didn’t forget your epi-pen.  Yeah, we’ve had some days of mad scrambling when that was left behind.

Halloween is one such day.  There’s the fun of dressing up.  The excitement of going out at dusk, all around the neighborhood with friends and family, and knocking on doors, visiting with folks on the sidewalks, and sharing stories and comparing what you got.

Remember what Charlie Brown had to say after each “Trick or Treat”?

Rocks.  He got rocks.

Bless him.

But I tell you what, I’d rather my girl get rocks than some candy that has the potential to threaten her physical health.

So we have two choices–

1) We don’t go trick or treating.

2) We go, but she doesn’t get to eat most or any of it due to presence or possibility of allergens.

Yeah.  Good times.

She’s had her costume picked out for two months and has been doing a countdown for the past week, and we’re still nine days out.  (I know, she told me a little while ago.)  Would you want to be the one to tell her we aren’t going?

We go.

Before our sweet neighborfriends moved, my friend prepared separate treats for my littles of things she’d asked me about beforehand.  Bless her, I miss her for many reasons, and there’s one more.   Usually I buy a special sweet treat for my crew and we “let” the Fella take the rest of it into work with him.  And it’s done for another year.

The other day my girl was talking about the one house a block over that gave her a spider ring last year.  She was thrilled.  So much so that she’s still talking about it.

That sealed the deal for me about something I’d been thinking about doing.

So Aub and I painted a pumpkin teal blue.

I think the teal is a nice addition to our Halloween traditions.

I think the teal is a nice addition to our Halloween traditions.

And it’s sitting on our porch.

I think it looks lovely–she and I are into that color right now.  (It’s not the only thing we’ve painted that color…..) But it is even lovelier to me because of what it stands for.

Inclusion.

All are welcome.

I recently found out through a Food Allergy awareness page on social media about the Teal Pumpkin Project.  For more information about how it began, click here for the story.   A teal pumpkin on one’s porch or a sign with a teal pumpkin on a door or mailbox lets folks trick or treating know that non-food items are available at that house.

Inclusion.

It’s about more than children with food allergies.  This includes children with diabetes and other dietary restrictions.

Everyone.

I’ve read some of the comments.  I don’t know why it is that when something new is introduced, some folks are so threatened, they get real, real ugly.

Suggesting that I keep my child home on Halloween because she can’t eat the candy, or that I’m pampering her and others who have allergies like her by “catering” to her needs.

Oh me.  Just walk away, Tara, just walk away.

Look, if this isn’t your thing, that’s okay.  I won’t think less of you if you give out Reese’s cups and don’t have a teal pumpkin anywhere around your house.  Ten years ago, I had no idea about all of this either. (And with Reese’s you would have been my hero!)  I get it.  Just please understand why this is important to me.

This is about children.  Being children.  Dressing up and having a great, safe, and fun night.

If my offering treats like pencils or stickers or slinkies and other novelties ensures that, then I’m all for it.

My Mama told me more times than I can count when we were growing up, “You better not leave anybody out.”

Yes ma’am.

So my pumpkin is blue.

The idea of the teal pumpkin project is not that folks can’t give out candy too.  It’s just that non-food options are available.

And that is a nice thing to do.

Because spider rings can make someone smile.

Even a year later.

Teal blue pumpkin love to all.

 

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The One About Creating and Failing

Today the littles and I went on an adventure.  We went to our local art gallery to visit this lovely in person.  We had never been there before, so we had no idea what to expect.

This lovely painting by one of my favorite artists, Barbara Wilkinson

This lovely painting by one of my favorite artists, Barbara Wilkinson

 

This beautiful picture is painted by one of my favorite artists.  She speaks to my soul, as she paints my stories before I even tell them.  I saw a photo of this work of art the day I had just finished writing about my Daddy’s rows in his garden and how he laid them straight.  Perfectly in sync.  I love the story in this painting.

At the art gallery we were privileged to see all sorts of different works–some more abstract than others.  We saw animals and scenery and still life.  Several joined my wish list, as their stories became a part of mine.  We enjoyed an impromptu tour with another of our favorite artists, Miss Jackie.  What a gift she gave us today–her presence and her time.  She had me laughing with the stories about a couple of her paintings.  Cooter picked out one that she had yet to finish and said he wanted to hang it in his room.  I was surprised but pleasantly so.  If my children find their own love of art, I will be ecstatic.

I had both Cooter and Princess find one piece to make up a story about.  They entertained me with the stories on the way home.  Both had me laughing.  Such creativity!  These are the kind of days that make homeschooling especially joyful.

When we reflected on our visit, we talked about all the different kinds of painting we saw–all the different media used, the different sized paintings, the different subjects, right down to the way the artists signed their work.  As we talked, they began to understand.

“Is there any right way to create art?” I asked them.

I was thrilled to see the light dawning and a smile slowly growing on their faces.  “No, there’s not.”  I swanee I think I saw a look of relief on Cooter’s face.  He had been talking earlier about how he didn’t know how to paint like the artists whose work we had seen.

Exactly, buddy, do you.  Paint like you.  I can promise you I’ll love it for always.

On our way home, we stopped to pick up some frozen broccoli.  Yes, that was it.  Of course, I knew we would likely pick up a few other things, but I have turned into my Mama when it comes to shopping.  I get certain things from certain stores.  And from this store–frozen broccoli, rice, paper products, shampoo, and printer ink.  Those things especially but I can get others.  They are the only ones who carry the big five-pound bag of broccoli florets.  I was out, we eat a lot of it, it was time to make the stop.  And since it was on the way home and no one was in a wet swimsuit or dance leotard…..the timing was perfect.

Before we went in, I led our merry band of misfits in our shopping mantra, “Hey, we’re going in with nothing, and we’re coming out with…..”

“NOTHING!” they chimed in correctly.  This is my way of preparing them for no toy aisle expectations.  Eh.  Sometimes it actually works.

“Yes, well, except for frozen broccoli.  We don’t even need to walk by the toy aisle, y’all.  Let’s get in and let’s get out.  Okay?”

As they were unbuckling and moving to the door, Cooter said with a sincerity that was a bit troubling, “I will help you find the broccoli, okay Mama?”

Princess whipped her head back around to him.  “Oh, you are just trying to get on her good side so you can walk through the toy aisle, that’s all!”  She was livid.

Cooter had the good grace to look sheepish as a grin covered his face.  He caught me watching in the rearview mirror.  “Really, Mama, I want to help.”

Ha.  Whatever.  Busted, my friend.

As is par for the course, when we got inside the need for shampoo and detangler and lip balm was realized.  We finally made it over to the frozen vegetables.  I was thrilled to see some of my favorite veggies back in stock, frozen by a local company.  I loaded up on them.  We found the bananas we needed and a couple of other things, and we headed for the checkout.

The crew helped me unload the buggy, and we were on our way home.  We’d gotten about a half mile from the store when it hit me.  “Frozen broccoli!”  If I hadn’t been driving, I totally would have slapped my forehead.  I mean are you kidding me?  All that, and I forgot what. I. went. in. for.

Oh me.

I had to laugh.  I could almost hear Mama saying, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”  I looked back at Cooter and pretended to be mad.

“Dude, you said you’d help me find the broccoli.  And neither one of us remembered…..” I kept on teasing him, and then I dropped the “f” bomb.  Pretending to give him a hard time, I said, “Dude, epic Fail.”

They were both laughing.  Then I heard Princess say, “Yeah, Cooter, you’re a failure.”

Wait.  What?

Nooooooo.

I seriously almost pulled the car over.

A failure?  No.  I knew then and there I had to straighten that out.

“No!  Cooter is not a failure.  Y’all you can completely fail at something, but that doesn’t make you a failure.  Ever.  That means that you tried and it didn’t work out, so you need to rethink it and try again a different way.  Or let it go for a while.  But trying and failing DOES. NOT.  MAKE.  YOU.  A. FAILURE.  No way, no how.  Y’all got that?”

Yeah, I might have raised my voice.

I feel just that strongly about it.

Because fear of failure means they might not try.  And I want them to try.  Always.  Try their best, and see where it takes them.  Sometimes failures can take you to some pretty neat destinations.  I can attest to that firsthand.  But I never want them to label themselves OR ANYONE ELSE a failure.  That’s not okay.

I think they heard me today.  About being you, doing you, creating your art.  I think they understood a little of what I was trying to say about falling down not making a person a failure.  I do.

But if homeschooling and raising this zany bunch has taught me anything, it’s that usually none of us get it on the first go round.  We have to read it or try it again.  So we will be talking about these things again.  And often.  Because I think they are related–being you, creating your own mark in the world that isn’t a copy of anyone else’s, and not being afraid of doing so because you might fail…..yeah, I think they are.

Failing at something is a bump in the road.  It’s not a place to live.  You hit the bump and keep on going.  Creating.  Loving.  Living.

That’s a good lesson for today.  And everyday.

Love to all.

 

Three Things (or more) We Learned at the ER

Today started out soon in the morning.

4:40.

a.m. that is.

I awoke to the sound of the phone ringing in the other room.  Once fully awake, I moved with purpose to get to it, only to miss the call.  Hoping it was a weather alert or some such as that, I looked at the Caller ID.

Oh no.

My oldest.

Supposedly tucked in safely in her dorm room at the Oldest and Best.

But something wasn’t right or she would not be calling so early.

I was right.  Something was very wrong.  She’s had health issues similar to this before, but the pain has never been so bad, so terrifying–she felt paralyzed.

The calmness in my voice did not betray what was in my heart.  I was at least 45 minutes away and I was in my pajamas.  I suggested she call 911, but she said no, she could wait.

I have not gotten ready that fast since Mama called me and told me it was time to come tell my Daddy goodbye.   And this morning’s trip up the road to the campus was a long, long drive.  I played the radio on low as I drove as fast as I dared in the darkness.  Trying to distract myself, I flipped through a couple of different stations.  Finally I ignored it all and just thought.  About my sick baby.  About my Mama.  And for a few moments it was as though she were sitting in the passenger seat alongside me.  I felt peace, and a few minutes later my daughter texted that the pain had lessened somewhat.

That was news I could handle.  Definitely.

After five hours in the ER, where everyone was nice, the facility was clean and quiet (come to think of it, I never heard an intercom), and we were given a room almost immediately, we were heading out with news that nothing was seen that could be problematic.  It seems to be, unfortunately, something she will have to live with and deal with from time to time.  The good news is she can live with it.  So thankful.

In the middle of her visit, when they were pouring liquids down her to prepare her for the ultrasound, my girl did what most her age seem to be doing.  She took a selfie.

Oh me.

But instead of rolling my eyes, I laughed.  She must be feeling somewhat better if she felt like taking a selfie.  After we were able to share with her grandmother what was going on, my daughter shared her funny picture on Facebook, hospital gown and all, along with three things she learned today:

Things I learned today: 
1. Hospital gown blue is definitely my color 
2. Hospitals use Starbucks straws, and 
3. You’re never too old to call your Mama to hold your hand in the ER.

It made me smile.  Folks continued to check on her throughout the day and wish her well and ask her what on earth was going on.  I hope that girl knows how loved she is, and not just by her Mama.  But yeah, mostly her Mama.  I adore the ground she walks on, but I don’t hesitate a second to yank it out from under her when need be.

Today was not one of those days.  Today was a day of “poor baby’s”  and trying to make her laugh and asking the nurse to wait to take her blood pressure until this particular political commercial was over, because it really was making her crazy.  Today we memorized the weather in our town and all surrounding areas because we heard the weather report over and over on the morning news.  They really do design those shows for folks who are there for a few minutes and gone.  Seriously, same stuff.  Over.  And over.  And OVER.  We questioned Dr. Phil’s choices, and then questioned if he had run out of normal troubled folks, because it seems that he’s digging deep to find this sort of crazy.  For real.  Tomorrow’s show will be about two women–each one thinks the other is stalking her…..and they’d never met before the show.  Okay, that eye roll I skipped during the selfie?  Insert it {here} please.  I will not be watching.

When I narrowed it down to three things I learned, here’s what I came up with:

1.  This raising children is never over, it never gets easier, and no matter how old they are, when they’re hurting or in trouble, they’re your baby.  ALWAYS.

2.  You’re never too old to wish your Mama was there in the ER with you, no matter how old you are, no matter why you’re there–you never stop wanting her comforting presence.  I know, I sure wanted mine today.  

3.  Good news becomes more precious and appreciated the older I get.  When the doctor said, “all clear,” my whole body did the fist pump, “YES!”  

 

Tonight I’m thankful for that good news, for my baby girl who still wants me to hold her hand, and for the nurse who tied the back of her hospital gown because I had not done it.  (Epic Mama Fail there.)  I’m thankful for the Fella and Leroy who took care of the littles in style (I think they are working to have me replaced by their uncle–he is now their favorite! Adventures and lunch out will do that for a person).  I give thanks for all of those who love my girl and wanted to know she is okay.  I appreciate those who were there to calm my worries and anxieties so that I didn’t pass them along to my girl.  And I give thanks for the voice of one who loves her so and has ever since she became the other female in the family, whose voice quivered today when she thought about what could have happened to her little one–the one she will probably always see as 7 years old and in pigtails.

It’s always a good day to give someone good news and tell them how much they mean to us.  We really shouldn’t wait until they need us to hold their hands in the ER.  That’s a good message to hear anytime.

Love to all.

The Bricks and the Twine

I can still see, in my mind’s eye, my Daddy’s strong and weathered hands, tying the twine.  First through the hole on one clay brick, taking his time to tie it tight and knot it well.  Knowing how long he wanted it to be, he pulled his pocket knife out of his worn jeans pocket and cut it precisely.  He then went to work at tying and knotting it through the hole on the second brick.

The bricks were still warm from the rays of the sun.

He put his knife back in his pocket, and stood up to get on with the task at hand.

Daddy worked quietly and efficiently.  I enjoyed working alongside him, comforted by his presence and the songs of the birds near by.  He made his land a haven for many, birds included.  As he walked out to the plot of land he’d decided to garden that spring, his shadow grew long.  He was tall enough, but his shadows could stretch for yards that time of day.

Daddy handed me one brick and walked a ways before he set the other brick down at the edge of the plowed ground.  Telling me to keep a hold on my brick, he pulled it taut.

And so it began.  Daddy used the hoe to make a straight line for a straight row…..of corn, okra, squash, snap beans, peas…..whatever he decided he wanted to plant and whatever else Mama asked him to.  After he finished hoeing the straight rows, he handed me the bag of seed and told me how many and how far apart to plant them.

It just depended on what we were planting.

But the rows were always straight.  Daddy made sure of that.  As long as I followed what he’d mapped out, all was well.  I couldn’t go astray.

As it was for so much of my life.

Daddy guided, showed me the way, made suggestions on what and how much and the timing…..and then he let me grow.  I’m not saying I never went astray; there were times I did so with flying colors.  But with my Daddy there, I always knew where the right path was.  It depended on the situation, but he never failed to share his wisdom when I asked.  And he always had brick and twine to lay out the right course ahead of me.

The bricks out back are still warm from the rays of the sun.

But my Daddy’s hands are at rest, as is he.  The hands that were so strong–the same ones that held me when I was a baby, that toted the bucket of horse feed and me perched in on top of it, that lifted me up onto my horse, that guided my hands in brushing her and putting the bit in her mouth…..the hands that showed me how to do so many things, the hands that played cars with his grands and read books with them, and shelled peas that he’d just finished picking–those hands aged from the sun and hard work, the hands that wrote stories and love letters to his bride and poetry and letters to his children far away…..the hands that built and programmed computers and lifted knifes to slather peanut butter on just about anything it could go on…..those hands are no longer here to tie the twine and lay the bricks and hoe the straight rows to guide the garden…..or me.

Tonight I am thankful for the man who was the brick and twine in my life.  As time gets closer and the memories of those last days become more vivid…..again…..I listen to the birds and feel the warmth of the bricks and smell the fragrance of the tea olives he planted…..and I hug the children he loved so much.  I know that I have grown to be who I am because of the ground he plowed, the rows he laid, the seeds he planted and the weeds he pulled out of the garden of me.  As time continues to take me away from when he was here, I hope that I don’t grow too far away from the rows he planted, taking the time to lay them out.  With brick and twine.

The bricks that are still warm from the rays of the sun.

 

the strength of his hands

still carries me through hard times

and points the way home

~~~~~

the bricks are still warm

the same sun has watched him live

and knows he is gone

~~~~~

the garden, its rows

so straight and obedient

growing the good things

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