Wednesday, March 18, 2009

red rover

Spring is here and what was cold and dull is breaking into life and green. Oh, it feels good. We spent a rainy Saturday in Atlanta (seemed like more fun than staying inside and cleaning our house). We popped in a few places and drove past our old apartment near Piedmont Park, went to Ikea and finished the day stocking up at Trader Joe's. Amidst the rain, the kids also kind of redecorated the house with a crafting and creating overload which I almost don't have the heart to take down. We enjoyed the rain armed with rain boots and umbrella's and plenty of art supplies. Yesterday the sun returned and I anxiously set out purging the garden of that which was dead and placing fresh soil and seeds in hopes that Foxgloves and Sweet Peas and Cypress vine will soon emerge. I watered and dug to the sound of my kids laughing and playing all around me, the glow of the last rays of sun on their dirty little faces. With the kids all scrubbed and tucked in I finally sat down in the quiet of my house and listened to this song.

Maybe my heart becomes less guarded when the sun goes down. I don't what it was but hearing this song sent me into such a sense of longing and nostalgia. I know I'm hopeless, I can't apologize for it, this is just how God made me. Thankfully my husband looks at me knowingly with love when I get teary. All of the sudden I remembered being little. The screech of the school bus pulling up to my New Jersey neighborhood. Coming home to my mom's warm smile, blond hair tucked under her bandanna, polyester shirt with windmills on it and her soft neck that smelled like tea rose perfume and lily of the valley. We'd play together on the warm grass until the lightening bugs came out, red rover, mother may I and hide and seek. All the while my dad puttering around the garden seeing what was growing, gently tending, and admiring, to the sound of our play. I couldn't help but long for just a moment for that time of innocence when the hours rolled by slowly and my family was intact and happy.

me,Scott and Amy

My dad was a strange blend of virtues. His hands spoke of strength, rough and tan with veins that bulged from work. He lived at a different time of less abundance, one that bred in him a desire to be resourceful to grow that which he could use. But he was also an artist that hungered to find beauty; an Englishman through and through. I miss him lately. As the earth breaks into new life, a time that he drank in with child-like wonder at the sight of each new snow bell... I remember. I remember how he told me right before he died in the Fall that we would all go back to England one last time in the Spring; I nodded hoping. That Spring, bulbs bloomed on his grave. It waxes and wanes, this thing called missing that never fully goes away. In this week of feeling the void more than usual, I stumbled onto a picture I thought I had lost. One of my favorites and gift from God to find it when I did. I looked at the paintings and wondered whose houses they hung in now and marveled at how looking at him was like looking at both of my brothers combined. Yet another gift, having brothers that with a glance or phrase or mannerism make me feel like he is right there.
I thought of my evening and realized how much I am like him. I am now the parent helping things grow, waiting for something beautiful to lift its head out of the dirt, while my children play all around me. I know that one day you wake up and the innocence and care-freeness that is there for a tiny window of your childhood is gone. For some this time is more brief than others and for some children, that break my heart, not there at all. Something happens that shakes your world and suddenly you are aware that the world is full of grief and heartache and loneliness. Once that line of personal pain is crossed,there is no going back to the un-knowing innocence. I look around at my children who have not left that safe place yet that is protected and happy and unknowing and I treasure it in all of its fragile preciousness. The way they paint without hesitation or inhibitions about what anyone will think, the way they openly proclaim their love, their laughter, their trueness... I drink it in and learn from it. I tuck it away in my heart, I take pictures, I string words together to try to remember. Nothing can capture it as much as living fully in the moment, but I still try. I will end with these pictures of Ella that come pretty close to capturing her spirit. My Ella is a giggler. When she gets going, the face turns red, the veins pop out and there is no stopping it. It is adorably contagious and I don't think it's possible to witness one of her laughing fits without ending up in one yourself. I thank God for childhood in all its unadulterated joy and loveliness and for my parents who made mine enchanting and for my three loves whom I can't get enough of.