Category Archives: letting go

between winter and spring

 

I had so many messages about  my last post on the “empty nest” – just says how we, as mothers/parents, all feel so deeply and universally  about our children; we all feel the  heart tug of letting go. I did these funny angels to remember these times…

 

 

It’s the end of the day, the end of carnival season, and Valentine’s Day is soon. I lit a candle in the kitchen; one Elizabeth got for Christmas, and made some hot tea. I want to write a few words and cherish this February evening and the fragrance from the candle and the steeping of the tea make it a bit more special.

 
 I love this little pocket of holidays – beginning with Ground Hogs Day, then Mardi Gras (for all of us in South Louisiana) next to Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and culminating with Easter and Passover – so quaint and simple. And then, the first day of spring is in there somewhere. The weather is still unsettled and some days we must stay inside to rummage through our houses, sorting, finding, doing, and some days give us sunshine and we go in our yards to check the buds on fruit trees and move away the leaves to see what might be peeking beneath. I watch the small birds that are visiting in the side yard under my kitchen window, the ones that seem to make the ground move as they do. I wait for the robins to come from the woods and to see a lone honey bee in the sparse clover – it’s the cusp, a place between winter and spring, a place to watch how Nature moves so beautifully from one season into the other.
 

I look for the signs of spring while holding on to the quietness of winter, quiet here in south Louisiana anyway. I need more time in the winter. I want to write more and paint more, when spring arrives, I am outside putting together some sort of garden. I am so pathetic then, no discipline to stay inside.
It seems there is a conflict as to when spring will arrive according to the Almanac: “As you may have heard, Punxsutawney Phil, arguably the most famous prognosticating groundhog in the United States, did not see his shadow this weekend, which means spring is supposed to come a bit early this year. Of course, as we reported last month, we’re not expecting an early spring. So, now the race is on to find out who is right, the Almanac or the rodent.”

 

Don’t you love the lightheartedness of this? Amongst a world of virtual images and digital everything, there is still room for a groundhog and the farmer’s almanac trying to decide when spring will arrive! I feel happier just reading this – hope you do too.

 
 
 
I also feel happier looking at some still lifes in my friend, Tere’s early spring yard – so beautiful and so promising. Some people use paints to cover a blank canvas, she uses flowers…

 

 

 







and my favorite…

 
b u
p s

life marches on

It was a very early rise this Saturday morning in September – my daughter has ACT and she and her best friend were up and stirring before 6. That was a good thing, however (not ACT, yuk to that rigid one dimensional humbug) getting up early on a Saturday morning. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with those few minutes before sunrise – sit outside with coffee. It was so connecting; I felt part of the whole as I listened to daybreak and contributed my small sounds to it. Mostly, it was the birds that I heard – I suppose I never realized how many different sounds they make – how individual they all are – I don’t think nature intended us to all be alike either – this blending concept that is all so politically correct these days and these generic looking people in advertising (you know what I’m talking about – those people that could be of any ethnicity – a marketing tactic to reach as many “victims” as possible), for me is unnatural. Being equal and being the same are two entirely different concepts. I think society does a great job trying to make us all look the same but it falters dramatically on making us all equal – the cookie cutter looks are just ways to distract from the harsh reality of inequality. I love the differences we all have – I would never want to paint a picture with just a tube of blue.

 
 
 
Anyway, the morning was transcending. I suppose I will soon have much time to re acquaint myself with the sunrise and the sounds of the earth waking up – for like the birds, my nest will soon be empty too. That’s a bundle of mixed emotions there. As we always say, where did the time go? I am happy about the lives my sons are carving out for themselves – they are independent lives – they have gone away and found their way, their own way. Hopefully, my daughter will be able to do the same. It is what we want as parents, right? What an internal conflict we feel – we try to raise them to be independent of us  and when they finally are, we are happy but we also feel this …whatever “this” is.I suppose without really knowing, we begin from the very first day of their lives teaching them to be independent of us. Well, after about 20 or so years of that, they, hopefully, are – it’s what we wanted, it was our job.
 

 

 
 
It seems I am doing a bit of rambling here – sorry. I hope, as always, there is something within this post that finds a place in your situation. This motherhood/parenthood topic is something paramount for me and I have a feeling it is important to most of my readers also. Our children are our lives and they are our gauges that read the happiness or sadness in our hearts. There have been times, one recently, when one of their worlds was upside down and it consumed me, it paralyzed me until they were straight again. It’s what we do; it’s who we are. I told a friend recently that I feel as though mothers are like human size filters – everything flows through us as we try to make the lives of our children the best they can be and these heartfelt efforts take their toll and leave the impurities there with us so that our kids can move on.

 

 I refer to my mom many times and I think of her always. She is there in those early mornings when I sit quietly by myself and I can still draw from her wisdom. She once told me – I suppose it was when one of my children had reached a milestone ( like going to pre – k J ) that she was never sad about the “closing door”, instead she looked forward to the next thing we would do. I remind myself of that often and aspire to be so positive towards this natural and inevitable evolution of life.
 

 

 I end with a public expression of gratitude and humility for the experiences life has given me thus far and I do not take one moment, one gift, for granted as I look ahead with the anticipation of the next chapter and I wish this appreciation and courage for you also. Thanks mom.
 
 

 

 
 
Let go
p s

heart tugs

I perused over my FB page this morning and noticed the great amount of graduation snapshots and moments. It made me think of a newspaper column I did when my twins graduated in 2006. I am posting for you moms – I know how you feel – these moments are truly bittersweet.

May 2006 Daily Iberian

Already, the St. Josephs, and gardenias, and many of the magnolias have bloomed. This passage into spring has been hasty. All year I anticipate the bouquets of sweet smelling gardenia and the lemon, clean scent of our state flower and the promise of spring from the amaryllis. They seem to have come and gone, quickly. I suppose I am too busy, I should take more time to insure my memories of spring, for they must last a year.

All of this bounty and burst of beauty coincides with another passage that is brisk and momentary and brings with it much ambiguity of the heart, graduation. Like spring, you try to hold on and capture each moment and experience each event, but like blossoms, it burst and quickly fades. As festive of an occasion as graduation is, it explodes with sentiment and can make a parent’s heart heavy. While we are very proud of this milestone, letting go is difficult. Even as our graduates are donned in mortarboards and flowing gowns, we find ourselves remembering that sweet kiss on a fat cheek and a little hand that reaches for ours. And we can’t forget that hug around the neck that drew us so close to the smell of childhood. There they are with diploma in hand and full of happiness and fulfillment and here we are still trying to hear the little voice that, seemingly a hundred times a day, asked us “Why”. Listening to the baccalaureate speeches and witnessing the final moments of the class of 2006 physically being together, we search for the little one that we might gather up and rock until worries are gone and peaceful sleep lies on their face, we try to find the tiny laugh that comes from the core of their being and touches the heart of ours. Through soppy tears, we will congratulate you and will continue to be there, cheering you on and remembering.
b u
p s

Broken Glass

I am sitting here trying to put words on this page that come out positive but for some reason, I am in some kind of negative spot. It all started with a mirror, a mirror I broke yesterday. It was my mother’s. It had sat on her dresser for years, a dime store kind of round mirror that magnified on one side and looked normal on the other. Somehow, and I don’t know how, it ended up on Elizabeth’s vanity without my knowledge until this past week, it was the little mirror that showed up in my blog on March 11, my mother’s birthday. It seems Elizabeth had taken a picture of it sitting on her vanity and it was the perfect visual for the entry. Curiously, she had been using it, for quite some time. It was a bit broken from the years of use so I brought it to the “shop” – a place where all the little things go to be fixed by the shop keeper, my husband. So, here is this little mirror that is very old and I didn’t know until just last week that it was even in my house. Anyway, after all of this,   I am, sentimentally attached to it and cherish it. I put the mirror under a basket in my kitchen cabinet where I keep loose recipes so that it can wait in a safe place until my husband could repair it. This is where the negativity happens. The phone rings and it is Elizabeth wanting to know the ingredients to a recipe that is in the basket. “Oh, ok, hold on a minute” – yep, I pulled out the basket and there slid the mirror right onto the brick kitchen floor – shattered. It was awful. This little irreplaceable manifestation of a memory that I just last week discovered I even had and was a physical connection of Elizabeth and her grandmother was gone. Elizabeth was not yet 3 when my mothered died so these things of hers are things I cherish all the more.

 Now for the message; it is something my mother taught me many years ago, and she didn’t even know she was teaching. One day I went for a visit, knocked on the door and walked in. There she was sweeping up broken glass. I asked her what had broken. It was her mother’s glass vase that had been  a wedding gift, one of the very few things she had of her mother’s. This vase had moved with my mother probably 20 times, from Ville Platte to everywhere in south Louisiana. It was about 90 years old and had sat in its last spot for more than 30 years – undisturbed.  On that day, minutes before, she knocked it over while dusting and it shattered as she watched. I, in my naïve age of ignorance concerning these disappointing realities of the universe, was upset for her. She, however, chose not to be – “I just swept it up like it was only glass”. It took years and experience to be able to speak those words – years of learning that “it was only glass” and like all things it had reached its’ end. I have to understand that. At that moment in my life I could not accept the limitedness of things. I thought people and places and things were forever. I had not realized that, up ahead, many components of my life would “go away” and only the memory would endure. She knew that then, she had said good – bye many times by then and she learned how to let it go. Now, I know.  I have drawn from that those few words she spoke incidentally ; they were with me as I swept up the glass.

 b u
p s