This quote puts so many things in my life in perspective.
Dream big, my friends, and WRITE ON!
(Originally posted on positiveoutlooksblog.com)
One morning, many years ago, a little red-haired girl stood at the top of a flight of stairs, rubbing her eyes and yawning the remnants of sleep away. Her stuffed turtle was clutched in her little fist as she descended the stairs toward the scent of freshly fried bacon and homemade pancakes. That little girl was me, of course, and this morning I was transported back to those days thanks to the kindness of strangers.
Growing up, I spent a good deal of time at my grandparents’ farm. The century old structure somehow soaked up all those memories, holding them tight within her walls through the years, and today they came spilling out. Ten years ago, Doug and I sold our home in Columbus after agreeing to purchase “the farm” (as we lovingly called it) from my aunt. Unfortunately, the best laid plans do not always work out, and such was the case with the farm. Instead, we were left to quickly find a replacement home and ended up where we live today. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if the transaction had worked out. Those walls that saw so many Christmas gatherings, the floors that withstood the frolicking of rambunctious cousins, and the yard that provided endless hours of sun-drenched entertainment would stay in the family. I often regret that we couldn’t make that happen.
This morning I drove down a familiar long gravel driveway. Under the guise of a garage sale, I was prying into the lives of the couple who now lived within those memory-filled walls. The closer I got to the house, the more solid the lump in my throat became. What would I find? Would this couple have any interest in sharing a walk down memory lane for people they’d never met? Thankfully, they did.
These amazing people have lovingly returned my grandparents’ old farmhouse back into a well-loved home. As I ventured inside, I was struck by the care they’d taken. Flowers bloomed across the yard and along the walk. The kitchen, where I’d eaten more silver-dollar pancakes than a child ever should, was in its glory. An apron front sink spoke of an era gone by, and each furnishing seemed specially chosen to accent the age of the home. I was enthralled, and frankly, leaving was hard.
But as I drove away, I realized something. These wonderful people are perfect caretakers for the farm. I’d been afraid the new residents would somehow strip those memories away, but instead, they’ve managed to magnify them. I can still see that little red-haired girl at the top of the stairs, with turtle in hand, waiting to join her Grandmother and Grandaddy around a worn kitchen table.
Deep down I will always bear a seed of regret, and perhaps, when the time is right, I’ll have the opportunity to make it right. But in the meantime, I can rest easy, knowing that through the kindness of strangers, I got one more walk down memory lane.
On Monday, we came home from school to find kittens tucked away in the feed room of our barn.
Those of you who live on a farm know that unexpected baby animals don’t always make it. Over spring break, Jillian’s rabbits had a litter of four kits, all of whom perished on that frigidly cold night after three days of 70 degree weather. Mother Nature at it’s best, some might say. However, I know a little eleven year old who was mighty bummed about it.
So, when she came to the house after feeding on Monday, with a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon, I knew something was up. In her hands she carried a cute little ball of kitten fluff. Of course, nothing can completely erase the disappointment felt at the bunnies’ demise, but if anything can ease the pain it’s a nose full of kitten fur!
Here’s to warm spring days and bright eyed new kittens!
Yes, that’s right. I do have the best daughter in the world. (Argue all you want, to me she’ll always be number one.) 🙂
I often find myself bemoaning the fact that Jillian struggles with so many aspects of life. Be it academia or the world of sports, it constantly seems to be a struggle. But, as I realized today (and not for the first time), WHO CARES?!? She is, without a doubt, one of the most caring, agreeable 10-year-olds you’ll ever meet.
Today I listened as she had a phone conversation with one of her friends. (Who shall remain nameless in the interest of protecting the innocent… or, not so innocent. Whichever the case may be.) Jillian has a generally rather annoying habit of having full phone conversations on speakerphone. I’m not sure if the other party realizes this, but regardless, today it worked in my favor.
I listened as this “friend” griped on and on about how unfair it was that she couldn’t come to swim with Jillian. On and on went the friend, accusing us of denying her the privilege simply because we didn’t want them around, instead of acknowledging the actual fact that the large un-heated, in-ground pool was, quite frankly, too cold to make for an enjoyable day at the pool. We had, after all, just emerged from a snap of Fall-like weather.
As I listened I became more and more aware of the fact that Jillian was saying nothing. She didn’t agree with her friend. We had talked about the temperature of the water, and Jillian was well aware of the chilliness that comes with too cool pool water. Blue lips and shivers are fun for no one, unless maybe you’re a member of your local polar bear club. We, however, are not.
I digress… I couldn’t take it anymore. I walked over to the phone and said simply that the pool was too cold. Jillian’s friend retorted petulantly, “But my pool isn’t too cold. You just don’t want us there!”
This is where I must note, that this friend’s pool is the above ground 4-foot deep variety, which tends to warm very quickly in the late summer sunshine, unlike the large 8 foot deep pool in question. I did my best to explain this, but again was met with nothing short of nastiness and disrespect. I then was promptly hung up on by Jillian’s 10-year-old friend.
It was after this exchange that I realized how truly lucky I am to be blessed with such a special little girl. Instead of being angry with me (which I must admit, probably would have been my choice at that age) she said she understood and that it wasn’t very nice of her to act that way at all.
Wow… that was a moment.
I think our children often teach us more than we ever teach them. This was one of those moments. My daughter showed me that she’s more mature than I give her credit for most of the time. Even though this friend may not be the best influence, I can trust that Jillian will hold her own and not get dragged down into the spiral of disrespect.
I always suspected, but now I know, she’s truly the best daughter ever!
I felt myself becoming one of those moms today. You know the ones, the moms who nag at their children at sporting events as the child puts forth as much effort as she can muster. Yeah. That was me today at Jillian’s swim lesson. And I’m far from proud of my behavior.
Okay, so what does this have to do with today’s prompt? You see, my biggest want is for Jillian to be able to experience success… at something… anything. Jillian has struggled and been behind her peers in virtually every area of life. School is difficult for her, although she’s made huge strides in the past couple years, we still have a long way to go. She was never quite coordinated enough for cheerleading or gymnastics or dance. Horseback riding lessons went well, but there’s a fear factor there that I’m not sure we’ll be able to conquer. Last year she was going to show a rabbit in 4H. We practiced and practiced the information she had to memorize for the interview portion of her grade, needless to say, she ended up not showing the rabbit.
Right now, Jillian loves to swim. This is the same girl who screamed bloody murder when I took her to her first Mommy and me swim lesson when she was about two years old. I never thought I’d be sitting the sidelines at swim lessons, gearing up for her second season of swim team.
Which brings me to today’s breech of etiquette. Jillian was definitely off her game today. Her strokes were short and choppy, her rotational breathing was non-existent, and she was having serious trouble following simple directions from her instructor. Now, Jillian always struggles with directions. They have to be repeated several times and even then she sometimes gets them wrong, but today was different. Today I watched the other kids in her lesson group show her up time and time again on skill after skill.
Swim is her thing!
I just couldn’t take it.
So, is it too much to ask that my child be successful at something? I want her to be able to feel the pride that accompanies a job well done. The excitement at earning a ribbon or hearing praise from others for something you’ve done is a precious gift that I want her to experience. But beyond that, I want her to know she’s perfect, no matter what challenges await her. I want her to believe in herself.
Is that too much to ask?