Monday, May 13, 2019

Feel the ouch in your heart

Circumstance would have it - we had the daughter and grand kids for dinner on a Monday night.  It's rare to have them fresh from their school day and at 7 and almost 5 years old - their interpretation of some of the days' lessons were priceless.

The most significant happening in first grade was a lesson on worms, complete with the experience of touching the worms, only if you were brave enough. 
Were they cold?   No, they're earth worms so they were warm.
Were they rubbery?  N-o-o-o-o-o
Were they smooth?  Yes, they were smooth, unless they were bumpy.
Were they wiggly?  Not our worms ( I bet)

Also in first grade - a story about peanut butter and jelly was shared with a friend.  One passage referenced "pea nuts and butt er."  This delivery was accompanied by the requisite giggles.  It seems the first grade girls decided this was all about body parts.  We tried to say we thought she was over-analyzing, but - we were wrong.  More giggles on the way out the door.

The five year old is soon leaving a Christian pre-school to go to kindergarten.  He's ready but tonight he was clearly carrying a heavy load.  The question posed at dinner "If Jesus is in our hearts, how can he be in Emma's heart, Mommy's heart, my heart?  He's just a little baby."  As he asked the question, his arms were motioning and he was clearly feeling both passion and frustration.  The daughter and I caught eyes and as we struggled to answer at a 5 yr. old level; he went on.  He made a little fist pressed up against his chest and said "He's just a little baby and he's in all of our hearts.  Why can't we hear him saying 'ouch'?  It has to hurt him."

With that, I heard my heart say ouch. 

8 years already?


It was a bright, sunny, warm Saturday morning in late April.  Very unusual for Rochester NY.  It was a great morning for poking around and getting caught up on all of the little tasks ignored during the week.  Music playing, a little energy, and responsible only for the small tasks presenting in my little world.

Then, I received this text - "Eight years already?" 

The text was from the almost thirty year old son.  He was speaking of the death of my mother.  It is always remarkable to have his memories of her so easily recalled.  This time, the text and his thoughts were even more remarkable as he was texting from a field of campers at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.  His first Nascar experience with a whole group of his friends.  The text string goes on saying the whole experience was just "meh."  Not a response I expected from the party-hearty, but it turns out that the race part of it was fine.  He did not like the caliber of people he encountered in the field in Alabama.  He missed his family (meaning his wife and dog) and was remembering the anniversary of his grandmother's death.  I'm sure he easily moved on with the activities of the day but it seems as if the memory is ever-present.

It was in 2002 when we brought my mom into our home to live with my husband, our large dog, our 15 yr old daughter and our 12 yr old son.  It was a gamble.  It was especially a risk because some of the biggest disagreements with my mom had been about that very 12 yr. old who lived life a lot left of center - full speed - full volume - all the time.  It probably was not a good mix with the woman who always lived a most controlled life of no risk.  It was the right thing to do - open our home to her.  And then we held our breath.

The "experiment" lasted for 9 years and through this undertaking, the craziest thing happened.  Day by day, the grandmother and grandson she did not understand, grew closer.  She appreciated his craziness and he would go to her sitting room and talk for long periods of time.  We saw it happening and just sort of shook our heads and accepted it for what it was.  I didn't understand it then and really still don't to this day.  I just know the decision in 2002, changed all of our lives for the better forever. There is no denying we all learned from each other and obviously the lessons are still with us today.

There is comfort in knowing that instead of interacting with those in field who made him feel uncomfortable, he was missing his family and conjuring thoughts of his grandmother.  As I sat enjoying the moment and the memories, both a male and a female cardinal visited the bird feeder that she loved to watch.

Eight years already.  Still loved and still remembered.