apricity

she is comfort
the sound of rain on the faded tin roof
the hum of the needle making stitch after stitch
the first ice cream of summer, dripping down the cone
the smell of tea olive blossoming beneath the starlit sky

the sound of her voice
on the other end of the line
reassures me
reminds me
rejoices and refreshes
like a balm to my aching soul,
sore from too much too soon

she listens to my stories,
my worries, and my joys
she remembers what I never knew,
and tells of days past, people gone
mending the cracks in my foundation
that come from time and distance and loss

she is the voice of those who can no longer speak
she is the shoulder of those I can no longer lean on
she is the counselor, speaking for those whose wisdom is now a whisper in the wind
she is the love for those who loved us

she is
as she always has been

treasured
beloved
adored
cherished
mine

and as I watch her head bowed closely next to my child,
their voices joining together in lyrical conversation
with notes of laughter for the chorus
I am thankful
thankful for who she was then
before
and for who she is now
now that they are gone

she can never replace
she would not want to
nor would I ask it
but her stitches
of love, day in day out,
help ease the gaping wounds
her touch brings healing
and her heart brings light

and warmth
as the scent of vanilla and patchouli
waft from her back door, welcoming us
as we climb the steps of the porch

where she is

welcoming
embracing
love

 

Cold Sun Landscape

By Emmanuel Huybrechts from Laval, Canada (Cold Sun Landscape) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A Sucker for Love

Way back when, when my oldest was quite a small girl, we often found ourselves over at my dear Joyful friend’s house.  She and her girls were our lifeline, our fun, and our safe place to land.  They were my girl’s sisters for that time and for life, and I am always thankful for them.

So it isn’t surprising, I guess, that when it came time for us to leave their house, my girl would balk.  Balk might be understating it a bit for some occasions.  Flat out, she didn’t want to leave.  I remember my Joyful friend bringing Aub a Blow pop and telling her if she’d mind her manners and her Mama, she could have that sucker.

It worked.

Every single time.

Later, when the time came for us to venture out on our own, and we left the nest of Blackberry Flats, Mama liked to ease the transition of leaving each afternoon or evening with a Bob’s soft peppermint or caramel cream.  And then, eventually, a Dum Dum sucker.  I’m not sure if she changed her offering because she was out of the peppermints at one point or because of our food allergies or what, but the Dum Dums became the most desired treat.  We found an old style candy jar to put on Mama’s counter, and that’s what she would let little hands reach in to so as to find a favorite flavor.  And on rare occasions, when one had been quite good, he or she could–in the difficulty of deciding between two favorites–have both.  “One for now, and one for later,” Mama would say.  Now that I think about it, that wasn’t so occasional–it was more the rule.

I fondly remember Daddy pulling out my favorite flavor and handing it to me.  In that gesture, he was telling me he loved me.  I needed no words.  The lot of us had great conversations about the “Mystery” flavored ones and exactly how they came about.  The extra special ones, like the Savannah blueberry I think it was, brought about as much excitement as a Santa sighting in July.  Too much fun.

I miss those goodbyes.  Those sendoffs and waves and “see you soons.”  And all the hugs.

Today I dropped by Aunt’s to pick up a book and some special bookstore coupons she’d offered us (yes, because we do NOT have enough books–anyone that says different is off my “birfday list”).  She’d called and told me where I could find it as she wouldn’t be home.  We swung by in the midst of today’s adventures, and sure enough, the bag she’d tucked the things in was right where she’d said it would be.

I grabbed the bag and started off the porch, and then I was stopped still by what else was in the bag.

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Four Dum Dums.  For my two littles.

“One for now, and one for later.”

It took me a minute to start the car and get going again.  My eyes were flooded and my heart was full.

Tonight I’m thankful for stories that bind us together and for treasured memories.  I give thanks for traditions that get passed along and continue to warm hearts and bring immediate smiles to all of our faces.  I’m a sucker for tradition, and I’m an even bigger one for things that show us how loved we are.  I’m most thankful for my sisterfriend who knew that a spoonful of sugar is sometimes the “best encouragement,” for my Mama whose head I can still see bent conspiratorially over the candy jar with her grands, and for my Aunt.  Who never fails to remember and reminds me of that in so many precious ways.  The ones we love live on because of moments like this today.

Wishing you all a sweet to remind you that you are so very loved.

Love to all.

The One About the Parking Garage

The day my Aunt and I found ourselves in a parking garage was a day of rain and slick roads and hard things and laughter and stories and all the good things of being with someone you love and adore can be, despite what the Universe has going on around you.

Because, in case I haven’t mentioned it, I do love and adore her.

As we pulled into the garage, intent on parking and getting to our destination and reason for the nearly three hour trip, I began the descent (yes descent–interesting setup in that one) on the first deck.  I was remembering other times in parking garages maybe or maybe I was finally relaxing after driving through some heavy rain, not exactly sure of the route. Whatever the reason, I kind of zoned out. (Kind of nothing–I was in another world.)  I remember looking to my left and thinking it curious that I was still seeing an outside view even though we had circled down a couple of floors and should have been underground already. 

After making three complete circles of floors and not seeing a single parking space, my Aunt gently interrupted whatever was going on in my brain.

“You do know we are just circling around on the same level, don’t you?”

 

 

Ahem.

Well actually I didn’t.

All I could do was laugh.  She is the sweetest soul, and she was so gentle in her prodding me back to the present.  But y’all know as she rode shotgun and I didn’t do anything to go below to another deck that she had to have been thinking, “What the French toast is she doing?  No one is going to have pulled out of one of these spaces that quickly.”

With her help I finally figured out how to go down a level and then another.  It was on the third level below that we found the perfect spot.  One easily pulled into and out of, with plenty of space around it–excellent and desirable qualities in a parking garage parking space.

I’m pretty sure we laughed the whole way to the elevator that led back up to ground level. 

I’m thankful for my Aunt for so many reasons, but right now I’m thankful for her gentle prompting to keep me from continuing to go around in circles.

Because if she hadn’t y’all, I’d still be there right now.  Circling around.  Wondering how come no spots were opening up.

In this life we have those moments, don’t we? All of us.  When we get our wheels stuck.  Or we circle around and around, never really advancing or getting anywhere, unable to move forward.  Isn’t it nice when we have folks who love us enough to gently call us out on it, and then laugh with us when we wonder what on earth we had been thinking?

If you have one of those folks, give ’em a hug.  If you are one of those wonderful people who help the rest of us keep on keeping on, thank you.  Here’s a hug from me.  We need you in our lives, with your caring ways and gentle reminders of how to move forward.  Thank you.

Love to all.

Parking_Garage

By Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York (Metro-North’s North White Plains Parking Garage) [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

You Know You’re Loved When…..

Yesterday the littles and I were heading over to my Aunt’s for some cousin time and to circle the wagons.  As we traveled the familiar path, our Princess announced from the backseat, hairbrush in hand: “I just want my hair to look nice, and I’m worried that it doesn’t.”

Yes.  We are those people.  We keep a hairbrush in the car.  (Maybe even two) It has made me a better Mama to be honest.  Instead of losing it as we are trying to head out the door and realizing I need to send someone (HER usually) back to brush their hair and wait THAT MUCH LONGER to pull out of the driveway, we just get in the car and she (or you know, whoever) can deal with it there.

I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that she had actually already brushed it and pulled it into a side ponytail style of sorts.  It looked brushed, and really, that’s all I’m aiming for.

I was actually impressed.  This is the child whom my great Aunt W once looked at and commented, “She sure is pretty.  She’d be even prettier if you’d brush her hair.”

What could I say?  I was busted.  She was right.  Our girl has never been a fan of having her hair brushed.

So you can understand why I was VERY confused that my child was suddenly so concerned about the condition of her hair.

She was brushing it and looking quite serious.  “Do you want to know why I’m so worried about my hair?”

Well, ummm, YEAH.  “Sure.  I’d love to know.”

“Well I want Aunt to know how glad I am to see her.  See, I heard that if you show up just thrown together and everything, it will seem like you aren’t glad to be there and you don’t care about that person.  And I don’t want Aunt to think I don’t care.  So I want my hair to look nice.”

Well.

For the love.

I’m not sure where she acquired such information, and I do intend to ask her, only I keep forgetting in the busy-ness of our day to dailies, but I will.  I mean, it’s not a bad thing to do, putting yourself together because you care.  Still, I am curious as to where she might have come across information such as that…..the mind boggles.

Tonight I’m thankful for my Aunt, the one our Princess loves enough to brush her hair for. (And y’all know that’s some for real, no kidding love.) I’m thankful for Cousins and laughter and dancing in the rain.  For cups of coffee around a kitchen table and holding on to love and stories and the need to be together.  I wouldn’t trade anything for my time with my people, and that I can have that, I am eternally grateful.

May you all have someone so happy to be with you they’re willing to do just about anything to show it–even brushing their hair.

Love to all.

Brushes_(5351538413)

By Mr. Brian (Brushes) [CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The One About the Finger Injury, Birthing Goats, and Green Yarn

My Cousin is one of the most fascinating and beautiful folks I know.

Wait.  Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

So Saturday night, after a lovely afternoon of painting and then a massive trip to the grocery store, I came home to unload and start supper.  I wasn’t doing the best I could do, and I cut my finger.  No blame anywhere except myself.  I was tired, I wasn’t paying attention and slice–right through my left ring finger on the side up near the nail.

Bleeding. For days.

Okay.  I exaggerate.  Slightly.

It bled for an hour.  Which can seem like an eternity when it’s your blood.  I put ice and pressure on it and every single time I checked it, it started right back to flowing forth.

Anxiety Girl came and sat down on the couch with me where I sat trying to stop the bleeding and keep my finger elevated.  She shook her head at me, and then she whispered, “So you think this could finally be IT?  I mean, that’s a lot of blood coming out of there.  You might even need stitches.  You probably are feeling a bit woozy, light-headed, huh?”

And you know what?  She was RIGHT.  I was feeling dizzy.  Just how much blood had I lost? Could you lose too much blood through a finger cut?

I finally did what I’ve done for close to three years now.

Without my Mama to talk me down and tell me what to do, I called my Cousin, because she’s all about the healing.  She knows all the things.  When she didn’t answer, I called my Aunt.  Because she knows just how many “poor babies” I need in any given situation, and she has met Anxiety Girl, and she is all about the healing things too.

We assessed the situation and realized that while I didn’t have the perfect remedies here, I did have a *fingers crossed* suitable substitute.  At least until I could talk to my Cousin.  So I applied the cream I had here and covered it with a bandaid and thought all the positive thoughts.

Okay, mostly positive thoughts.  I was still worried.  A bit.

Okay, a lot.

But that Anxiety Girl–she’s a persistent one.  It’s hard to shake her.

It was then that my Cousin called back.

She said the cream could maybe help, but that applying cayenne pepper to the cut would stop the bleeding very quickly.  “It will sting,” she said. “But it will do the job.”

Well, doing the job was what I was worried about.  Stinging I figured I could handle.  I was raised with that one bottle of Mercurochrome at my Granny’s, so I know stinging.

Aub stood by with the bottle of cayenne pepper, a little too eager for my comfort level, but she insisted she was only trying to help.  I unwrapped the bandage and lo and behold–no blood!

Hallelujah.  That cayenne pepper is so good it worked metaphysically.

My Cousin and I celebrated over the phone, and I thanked her.  She is such a blessing to all of us, and I hope she knows that.  As we talked, she apologized for not getting the call when I first tried to call her.  She had been out checking her very pregnant Mama Goat.  She said it looked like it could be another little bit before Mama gives birth.  She just hopes the birth won’t happen on one of these nights with the lows in the 20’s.

My mouth dropped open.  “You are one of the most fascinating creatures God ever created,” I told her, and I meant every word.  She is.  And she’s funny and clever and kind too.

She and I are each working on a temperature blanket for 2016.  We will crochet a Granny stripe each day with the color based on the high temperature of the day.  We planned out our original colors, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like the true green with the other colors we chose.  I stayed up late into the night worrying over it a couple of nights ago.

My Cousin stays up late worrying over birthing goats.

Ahem.

I owe her this.

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An epilogue to the story:

Due to all the injuries, both real and imagined, that happen around here and with our neighborfriends, we were nearly out of bandaids here at the house. This sent me into mini-panic mode Saturday night, as I knew I needed a band-aid to hold my wound together–at least until it started healing on its own.

The next morning Aub and I went to the Getting Place, and I went straight to the bandage section.  I found all kinds of neat things to wrap around my wound–er, ahem, I mean–cut.  As Justin Case handed me several different packages including finger “covers,” Aub shook her head and said, “Mama!  You’re going to wind up spending $100 on band-aids and bandages.”  She sounded more than a little exasperated and very near to being fully incensed.

I held my finger up high for any and all around to see, and I announced a little louder than usual, “I have injured my finger.  Do not judge.”  And I added a pack of Star Wars band-aids to my cart for good measure.

Because Star Wars.  And if you have to wear them, why not wear ones that are cool and make you happy?

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I hurt my lil’ ol’ finger, y’all.  

Tonight I’m thankful for the ones who are here who take my calls.  Or call me back.  Either way.  The ones who put up with my silly woes and worries and help me heal.  Not just my finger, but my heart and soul–the little bits of me that miss the way my Mama would tell me in that way she had that “it will either get better or it will get worse–and then you’ll know.”  She usually followed up that statement with words that let me know she fully expected “it”–whatever it was–would get better.  Just give it time.

Wishing you all folks in your posse who love you and have all the best healing powers.  And I wish you matching yarn and plenty of band-aids–whatever your favorites are.  Because sometimes it’s the little things that ease your spirit.

Love to all.

***oh and I’m thankful I didn’t have to actually use the cayenne pepper this time around***  But NOW I know…..

 

 

 

 

A Legacy of Loving

Thursday evening as we pulled into the middle school parking lot, arriving for the littles’ gymnastic recital, Cooter piped up from the backseat, “I wish Maemae weren’t dead.”

Oh my heart.  Bless him.  Me too, baby boy.  Me too.

I’m not sure what prompted him to feel that, but maybe it’s because she was there for his very first gymnastics recital in 2012.  Maybe he was seeing her walking down that sidewalk with us after it was all over, her face beaming and telling him how wonderful he was–I know that memory kept playing over and over in my heart as we drove in and parked.

His sister agreed with him.  My Mama had a special gift of making the one she was talking to feel extra special.  Valued. Loved.  Wanted.  A treasure indeed.  And she never accepted you putting yourself or anyone else down.  Not ever.

She also told me when I needed to get off my pity pot.  But that’s a story for another night.

So this is for my children–the ones she loved, the ones she said made her life “grand”–

Maemae loved you.  She still loves you.  You never failed to put a smile on her face and a song in her heart.  She wanted you since the moment she found out you were on your way.  And she never stopped wanting you–as her grandchild, in her home, sitting next to her, in her heart.

She never stopped, and she sure shooting hasn’t stopped now.

There are going to be these moments in your life when the pain of her being gone is going to be a little harder than normal, like these past few days–special events, moments that make you think of her, or sometimes, for no reason at all.

And here’s what I want you to remember.

Maemae left you a legacy.  A legacy of love.  She loved you so strongly that when you sit and think about her and all you did together, I hope it puts a smile on your face.  Because you never failed to put one on hers.

But she also left you a legacy of loving.  She spent years and years building relationships with people who loved her back and who now love you.  Because you are hers and because you are pretty amazing people all on your own.  Look around at who is there when you have special events.  Look at who answers the phone when you have something to share.  Look at who blesses your heart when times are hard.  Look at who comes and moves you out of your dorm room or listens to you play piano over the phone or on a video.  Look at who listens to your stories and plays with you.  Look at who comments on your posts or sits and makes you laugh.  Look at Who. Shows. Up.

You were loved.  And you still are.

None of those who are here loving you now could replace her, and none of them want to.  But what they can do and WANT TO DO is love you and celebrate you and bring you comfort when you are sad.  And remind you that you are a treasure.

How lucky we are that Maemae was so good at loving people that she left us with all of these folks who love us too!

Our Princess’ dance teacher retired last year.  She returned this afternoon to watch “her girls” perform in their recital.  It was a loving gesture, and the girls were so excited to see her and for her to see what they have learned in a year’s time.

As she and I stood backstage watching them perform, it struck me how fortunate we are that Miss B did such a wonderful job of loving and teaching our girls.  These girls love her and were sad when she decided to retire, but because she passed the love of dancing along to them, they had what they needed to continue with dance when she wasn’t there.

See, if she had empowered them only to love her, none of them would have returned.  What a selfless gift she gave them when she made it bigger than her…..these girls’ love of dance is her legacy.

Maemae was like that with love.  She loved us fiercely and taught us to do the same, but instead of always wanting all that love for herself, she taught us to send it flowing outward to others and others and more others.  It didn’t stop with her, and because of how she loved, it never will.

That is her legacy.

Tonight I am thankful for women who teach and love in such a way that their absence doesn’t stop all the good things they have taught us.  I give thanks that my children remember and miss their Maemae, but even more I am thankful for those who continue to love them in the here and now.  I know she would be the last one wanting them sad on special days like these, and I love her so much for building relationships that feed our souls and warm our hearts and celebrate alongside us.  I don’t know what I would do without those smiling faces in the audience, those loving voices on the phone, the laughter and the willingness to step in and help.  I don’t know what I would do without those who show up.

And I’m thankful I don’t have to.

May we all love and teach the ones around us such that we don’t have to be around for the words and lessons to still matter and guide their hearts.

Love to all.

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Selfie with Superman

Tonight was our Princess’ Christmas dance recital.

Precious.

From the little ones dancing to a song about having chicken pox at Christmas to the precision of the older girls as they performed their jazz number, it was a wonderful way to celebrate the season.  I am thankful over and over for my children being able to attend this dance studio and gym.

Our Princess was thrilled that her aunt Mess Cat and cousin Shaker and Aunt and Cousin came to see her perform.  I was tickled pink too.  I got to hug and visit with some of my favorite folks in the world.

My Cousin and I were talking about Julie Andrews and “Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins” and his high standards in viewing live theater.  The conversation then shifted to talking about movies we’ve seen over the years and the fact that they still have their Video Disc Player.

Oh me, the memories of that VDP!  We had some awesome movie nights, all of us crashed out in their living room, watching “The Man from Snowy River” or the original Star Wars movies.  Or so many others.

Turns out they still have those Star Wars movies.

I think it was my Aunt who mentioned “Superman.”

And my eyes glazed over and I left the room for a minute. Or two.

I was at least thirty-five years younger, and there was Christopher Reeve on the screen.

And I was in love.

I spent YEARS in love with the man.  Superman, yes.  Oh, that movie.  The flying scene.  Most.  Romantic. Scene. Ever.

Okay, I’m telling a tale.  There’s also that dancing scene in Sound of Music and every single scene in “Somewhere in Time.”  (Also Christopher Reeve–in case you didn’t know. And Jane Seymour.  #perfection)

My crush was no secret.  Daddy often teased me about my undying affection for, as he called him, Christopher “No Lips” Reeve.  I don’t know, Daddy, who looks at his lips…..I mean, really?

It was so widely known about that even Santa was in on it.  There was the year that Santa put a small figure of Superman in my stocking.  If you pushed his legs together, he did something but I can’t remember what.  No noise, just moved his arms or something.

And he was awesome.

I wonder where he got off to.  Isn’t it odd how some things just drift off over the years?

But I digress.

When I came back to the present this evening, I looked at my Aunt, and I was so thankful she reminded me of my infatuation.

Y’all, I really hope we can take selfies in Heaven.  (You know, those pictures you can take with your phone of yourself and someone else.  Or are they “ussies” when you include another person?)  I mean, because I really want to take a picture with Superman for sure.  I cannot bear the thought that such a photo opportunity can never happen just because he’s left this world.

And I’d love to snap a photo with Michael Landon.  And Whitney Houston, bless her heart.  And Maureen O’Hara.

And of course–if he wouldn’t mind a really quick one–

Elvis.

All of these people who have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  How cool would it be to walk up, hug their necks, say thanks for all the joy over the years, snap a photo, and then get back to partying with my people there?

Ah.  Silliness, I guess, but in the words of someone I hold dear, “I think we’re all going to be surprised.”

So maybe I will be able to take a selfie or two.

Tonight I’m thankful for the really great movies of my growing up years.  The ones that bring back all the feelings and emotions and memories from way back when.  I give thanks for sugarplum fairies and littles ones dancing their hearts out and smiling so big as they do.  I’m thankful for family gathering together to make little ones feel special and for conversations that remind me of what I used to love and really, that I never stopped loving.

Ah, Christopher Reeve.  Tonight I’m especially thankful for a visit to my youth and a dream planted in my heart.

One day–a selfie with Superman.

(And the REAL one please, not all this “remake” junk–and yes I know CR wasn’t the first–just step away if you don’t think he was the best Superman ever–we simply canNOT be friends.)

It could happen, right?

Wishing you a joyful memory from the past to make you smile today.

Love to all.

Photo of my favorite fella growing up via http://justicebulletin.com/articles/suit-me-up-superman-pt-2/

Photo of my favorite fella growing up via http://justicebulletin.com/articles/suit-me-up-superman-pt-2/

 

A Visitor, the Chaos, and Love All Around

We had a visitor today.

And it was total chaos.

My crew, every single one of them, were loud and boisterous and jumping around or lying on the floor.  (Seriously y’all, Cooter was trying to do back flips in the middle of all this.)  Several conversations were going on at once–about dolls and Star Wars (or was it Star Trek?  You know that LaForge guy is on Reading Rainbow, right?) and work and coffee.  And then, bless her sweet soul, I had no more good sense and decorum than to pull out the pictures from the Mouse House and subject her to them.

Wow.

Bless her heart.

It was overwhelming to say the least.  All of us crowded up around her, barely giving her space to take a breath.  For sure no one was taking a pause to breathe as the often one-sided conversations continued.  She could barely get a word in edgewise it seemed.

And she sat in her sweet, quiet, genteel way and took it all in.

She’s a calming force, that one.  At least where my soul is concerned.

After she left, I found myself shaking my head, frustrated.  I even wondered aloud to my children as to what on earth had gotten into all of them.   As one of my favorite teachers at the child care center where I worked twenty years ago used to say, they were “off the chain.”

And in the midst of all of that emotional mess, it occurred to me that maybe I was most frustrated because I wanted to be the one all but curled up next to her, sharing my thoughts and dreams and woes and joys.

It was then that the words came to me, almost a whisper in my ear.  “Comfort.” And “special.”  And then I wanted to cry.  It’s been a while since my children have had someone dote on their every word like that, ask them questions and then wait patiently for the answer, no matter how long it took or how far around their elbow they went to get there.  But today, today, they had exactly that.  No wonder they were clamoring over each other, voices and bodies, to share their stories and excitement.  So yeah, good tears.

Am I rationalizing my children’s less than *ahem* perfect behavior?  Maybe.

Or maybe I’m just giving thanks for the one who sat there, so loving and patient, and listened and always does for that matter.  I’m thankful for the love she gave my children and for the message she sent later that was so grace-filled–well, if I didn’t already love her and think she’s the bee’s knees that would have sealed the deal.

Here’s to keeping it real and unrehearsed and filled with love, and all the messiness that entails.  Because I think messy, loud, bouncy love might just be the best kind of all.

 

May someone dote on you for a little bit today too.

Love to all.

 

Ebb and Flow and Food Allergies

 

Ahh, the ebb and flow of life.

Specifically, today, the life with a child with severe food allergies.

This morning when I took the littles to our first stop on the OutandAbouts for the day, where they have been learning good things all week, I saw the little girl who had enjoyed watching my yarn as I crocheted yesterday.  She and her twin brother, not quite two yet, were both snacking on crackers that I noticed right away.

Whether due to my hypervigilant state when folks are eating in public or because those things practically glow in the dark–likely it was both–I saw they were eating those peanut butter cheese crackers.

Trying to be subtle, I immediately redirected the path of my crew to avoid the eating area and little hands that might reach out and touch us or our things and moved them to where they needed to be in line.  Once they were settled in, Aub and I took our things and went over to another area to sit.

Where the Mama and her twins soon joined us.  *sigh*  I wish I could come up with a nice way to say, “Hey, we’re allergic, that stuff could kill one of us, could you please avoid touching us or hey, since Anxiety Girl decided to tag along today, just avoid our general area, okay?”

But I haven’t yet.

So I just sat uncomfortably avoiding eye contact with the sweet little girl, whose crumb encrusted hands were reaching to get around the stroller her mom had placed strategically to block her into a small area.  Yesterday we’d had such a nice interaction–she and I.  She pointed at my yarn, and I said, “Yarn.”  She pointed at her little jelly-like sandals and said, “Shoooo.”  It was great.  And sweet.

But today, because of those contaminated (yes strong word, just how it feels to me) hands, I couldn’t take a chance that she’d touch my pants or our bag or Princess’ things and then I wouldn’t know how to keep my girl safe.

Because that is what it all boils down to.  Doing WHATEVER and ALL that it takes to keep her safe.

We got through the morning with no mishaps or accidental exposure.  The only casualty was my heart and feelings and anxieties with being torn between not wanting to hurt someone else’s feelings and keeping my child protected from potential harm.

One day I’ll learn how to better handle things like this.

*sigh* And people wonder why I just want to stay home.

Then there was the positive for the day.  Total reversal of where the day was heading. One of the BEST THINGS EVER.  One of our own wrote me that she’d found a No-Nut Butter at the Big store.  It’s made by Sneaky Chef.  She had tasted it and thought it was pretty good.  So the next stop on our OutandAbouts was the Big store to see what I could find.  And sure enough, there it was.  (Well, after I called her to ask where it was.  Of course I found it before she could even get the words out to tell me.  Always the way.)  I was giddy with anticipation.  I know that makes for a silly picture–me checking out of the store, practically bouncing, unable to get home quickly enough to open up the jar and try some.  But there it was.  This is the life I lead.

Because we have NOTHING to replace peanut butter.  We’ve tried other butters, but eventually they were all ruled out as being okay for her.  The only thing that we’ve been okay with is Biscoff spread–fondly known as “cookie butter” around here–and let’s face it, not really a nutritious choice.

No-Nut Butter.  Two words.  Yay-licious!

No-Nut Butter. Two words. Yay-licious!

But No-Nut Butter?  Sneaky Chef, my hat’s off to you.  You ROCK.  This is safe for my child.  Not only that, we all LOVE it.  Aub even wants to make her favorite peanut butter dessert using this as a substitute.

We ARE THRILLED.

Joy, fear, anticipation, anxiety, hard times, good times.  It’s all in there together, isn’t it?  No matter what your family is dealing with–the ebb and flow of life.  It’s there.  Always.  The key, I guess. is to be patient when things seem way too dry or feel like they’re pulling us under.  Just hang in there.  Life is ever-changing, not static.

I was reminded of this in these words of Ann Lamott from “Help, Thanks, Wow:”

“Most of us figure out by a certain age—some of us later than others—that life unspools in cycles, some lovely, some painful, but in no pre­dictable order. So you could have lovely, painful, and painful again, which I think we all agree is not at all fair. You don’t have to like it, and you are always welcome to file a brief with the Com­plaints Department. But if you’ve been around for a while, you know that much of the time, if you are patient and are paying attention, you will see that God will restore what the locusts have taken away.”

I have had my days that I have doubted this, but this came full circle for me today.

And I am thankful for that.  Thankful for a new day, a fresh start, and clean hands again on another day, so maybe my little friend and I can visit again.  And maybe the opportunity will present itself and the words will come so I can explain my anxiety to her mother.  I give thanks for family who look after me and mine and love us enough to share their thoughts–my Aunt and my Cousin, I’m especially grateful for tonight.  When folks care enough to get in your chili, even about what you are eating (chili or not)…..that’s a precious gift.  And I don’t take it lightly.

May the ebb and flow of your life leave you feeling refreshed today.

Love to all.

 

 

 

Y’all just look at that purple!

Sunday afternoon found us at my Aunt’s house.  A place of sanctuary and peace for me.  Maybe partly because it’s a place to go that Mt. Washmore doesn’t threaten to take me down nor is the sink threatening to erupt from all the dirty dishes.  But mostly I think it feels that way for me because it’s a place where things settle and grow–flowers, vegetables, fruit, animals, children, and souls.  It’s a place to set a spell and just visit.  And I love that they let me do that.

It was a beautiful day.  The littles always head immediately to the swings.  My Princess had already been told by my Cousin to ask his Mama, my Aunt, if she could pick the flowers.  They have such beautiful daffodils around the trunks of many of the pecan trees out there.  I was sure she wouldn’t want them picked, but when Princess asked, my Aunt told her to pick all she wanted.

Gracious.

Princess smiled the biggest smile and headed off to pick some flowers.  She passed by every bunch of daffodils and headed straight for the purple “flowers” over near the garden.  She skipped as she went, the bounce in her step showing her joy.  She had no idea she was about to pick what many would call “weeds.”

My Aunt looked astonished and then we both began laughing.  That’s how it goes, isn’t it?  You put time and energy and effort into something and it’s the thing that you had very little or nothing to do with that knocks people’s socks off.

Been there.  Some nights I sit and ponder and edit and worry and obsess and really pour sweat and tears into what I write, and it sits there commentless and nothing happens.  And then I write something about an earthworm on the sidewalk outside or vent about things when I have a splitting headache and folks respond whole-heartedly.  I’m not complaining, mind you, and neither did my Aunt.  It’s just one of those things that makes you laugh about how the world works.

It’s been a while, maybe even two years ago, since my Pastorfriend shared this but it stays with me, especially this time of year.  She shared a line from “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker.

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about.  But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back. –Alice Walker, “The Color Purple”

I think she’s right.  About it all.  And ever since my friend shared this with us, I have made it my job to notice purple fields.  Weeds or no, they are beautiful.   When I see them, I call out, “Purple!” and inevitably one of us will say, “Good job, God!”  I love the fields of purple.  Beauty coming from an unexpected place.  I embrace that and give thanks for it.

Just like today.

Our Princess' bouquet she picked for me today.  I don't have a picture of the beautiful purple bouquet from Sunday.

Our Princess’ bouquet she picked for me today. I’m sad I don’t have a picture of the beautiful purple bouquet from Sunday.

We stopped by my Aunt’s again this afternoon, and I hope it becomes a habit.  (Hope they mean it when they say y’all come back now.)  We were pulling carrots and talking about nothing and everything and swinging and picking more flowers.  Princess thinks she might become a florist, and I think she has an eye for it.  As my bag was nearing full, my Aunt asked if we’d like any onions.

Onions?

That makes me tear up.  And not because they’re, well, you know, onions.

I love onions.

I love their bottoms and their tops.  I love the way they taste and everything about them.  When I was in college two of my classmates were cooking in the dorm kitchen on second floor.  It smelled heavenly.  When I walked by and said so, one said, “Oh, it’s just onions so far, but we’re adding meat and making spaghetti.”  The other said, “My Mama always said, if you need folks to think you’re cooking something delicious but you haven’t got it together yet, throw an onion in the skillet and you’ll buy yourself some time.”  (Usually for me it’s time to figure out what exactly I’m going to fix for this crew, but yes, someone always says, “Supper smells good.”  Thanky, thanky very much.)

When we pulled up the first one, Cooter came over and said, “Can I pull one too?”  These were a little more stubborn than the carrots had been.  My Aunt pointed out that maybe she should have brought the trowel to make it easier, which made so much more sense than what I first thought I heard her say–a towel.  (Well, maybe it would have helped us grip a little better and not pull the greens off?  I’m just sayin.)  I helped him get one out of the ground, or maybe he helped me.  Anyway, I stood up and offered it to him.

“Smell it,” I told him.  “That’s what springtime in Georgia smells like.”

And it does.

The beautiful onions we pulled today.  The smell of spring.

The beautiful onions we pulled today. The smell of spring.

The flowers are lovely and beautiful and their smell is pretty.  But I’ll leave that nectar to the hummingbirds and bees and yellowjackets and Billy bees that will be buzzing around all too soon.  As far back as I can remember, I have loved the smell of wild onions growing in a field behind Blackberry Flats.  Or out at my Granny’s.  Or when I’d catch a whiff of them, going down a highway, with them growing in the median or on the shoulder of the road.

It’s almost as a good as a tea olive–it’s a balm for the soul.

Today, a day that started off with rain and worries over numbers and things that set my head to spinning and my heart to craving simpler times, by afternoon was filled with the things of soul tanning.  Sunshine, gorgeous cerulean sky straight from a Maxfield Parrish painting (oh y’all), green is starting to show more and more, folks helping other folks, laughter (thank you Lord), and the smell of fresh picked onions.

"Ecstasy" by Maxfield Parrish from maxfieldparrish.info  I once had a sweatshirt with this painting on the front.  This work of art has always touched my heart.

“Ecstasy” by Maxfield Parrish from maxfieldparrish.info I once had a sweatshirt with this painting on the front. This work of art has always touched my heart.

Oh me.  What a day.

On the way home the purples were more vivid, and the sun was more golden, and it occurred to me that this time next week, we will have more sunlight to enjoy.  Well, maybe not, but still…..as much as I love me a gray, rainy day, I do love me some beautiful barefeet weather.  And not to have to rush to have time to get supper done and walk Miss Sophie because we have more time in the evening? Well, I say bring it.

Wishing you all a purple field and the heart and soul to appreciate it.

Love to all.