They were walking together holding hands, this lady and the child with the long, blonde pony tail. They were heading toward a row of seats in the front. I often sit in the back and watch as people filter in. Something about this pair caught my attention and held it. The small one, probably about seven or eight years old, was looking up at the older woman who presumably was her mother.
They were talking and the little one kept smiling and was so focused on her mom’s face, so expectant of something good. Neither of them were unusually attractive but together they were magnetic and beautiful. I couldn’t stop watching. They found two chairs in the fourth row and the girl laid her books down on the chair next to her, still turning to dialogue with mom, her face open, trusting, excited, hopeful.
Is it because I have daughters of my own that this simple familial scene made me suddenly feel like I might cry? I don’t even know what I was thinking – but it was kind of like nostalgia, maybe a bit of envy, a lot of sadness, mother angst.
My daughters are grown and it’s been while since I’ve walked hand in hand with either one of them. I don’t know if we would have had that same dynamic when they were seven and accompanying me to an event. It’s hard to remember what we were like, but I want that. I want that memory.
That mom, I wish I had taken a picture to give to her, I’m just hoping she is marveling at what she has, hoping her memory will be better than mine.
Yesterday, just by chance (or maybe by design, I don’t know) a lot of children happened into my day. It’s always a blessing and I end up realizing how important it is to have people from a different age group in my life. It’s refreshing and gets me to thinking.
Three young men and their slightly older sister came to visit, along with their mom. I’m always amazed at how this young girl exists calmly and patiently between the world of her rambunctious brothers and the adults that she is beginning to identify with. And oh, how she reminds me of my own childhood with four younger brothers. Girl, I hope your mom reads this to you so you will know that I am praying for you. You will survive.
While we adults talked, the children played in the backyard (crawled through the cat door! Or rather tried to crawl through the cat door…), played with legos and generally entertained themselves quite well. I remarked on this to their mom and she talked about her method of training. When they come to her with complaints of boredom, she suggests they help her clean. Voila! Suddenly they are able to entertain themselves with something else. They often come to her for little snippets of attention which she meters out judiciously but there is none of this hanging on, whimpering, dissatisfied “when are we leaving?” stuff that could keep us ladies from talking. We had a good visit.
And earlier in the day I had an appointment with eight year old GPLL to choose some sewing patterns for herself and her American Girl doll. In the car I usually have the radio playing on a Moody talk station. Sometimes we talk when we are driving around but a lot of the time we are silent. I’m never sure if she is listening to the programming or looking at the “Where’s Waldo?” book I keep in the back seat for her. Yesterday there were some pretty gruesome news stories about the killing of school children in Pakistan, and also a description of the Christmas event as the coming of a “baby born to die”. This last remark caught her by surprise and we had to talk about it.
But my respect for the listening ears and the depth of her understanding came later. We had heard most of one of the half hour long programs and it was closing out as we turned into the parking lot and I shut off the car. I had been concentrating on driving more than listening but evidently that was not the case with my young friend. “That was a good message.” she remarked. Oh really? I should have paid more attention… Again, I’m just sayin’.
There was something white on the trees, and on the ground in Atlanta this week – and it wasn’t snow, it was petals from the flowering dogwoods and other gorgeous trees. Atlanta was wet, cloudy and lit with a subdued daylight that made the grass and trees fairly glow with green-ness. Rain makes Atlanta smell fresh and woodsy in spite of the thousands of cars emitting fumes on it’s frighteningly busy throughways. The parents and I were there this week for the graduation of a special niece who now holds a doctorate of chiropractic degree from Life University. Kudos for sticking it out girl, and creating another do-able family event for those of us within driving distance.
We journeyed there by car on Thursday and met at the motel that evening. Family breakfast on Friday morning sustained us through the graduation ceremony in the afternoon. The after celebration at Darwin’s Burgers and Blues introduced me to the Memphis Burger. Who knew that putting bbq sauce and coleslaw on a burger would make it that good? Watching my brother and his family celebrate their eldest daughter’s accomplishment was a heartwarming family experience. Someone who not too long ago was a crazy kid is now an adult with a plan and a purpose.
Okay, and here is what really proved that to me. Being in the “older” group of celebrants, I and the parents didn’t stay up for the 2 am (and later) partying but went back to our motel to prep for our early morning departure. Elissa asked us what time we were getting up and when we were having breakfast before leaving town. She wanted “family breakfast” again and said she would be there at 7:30 to have it with us. Mind you, I was not sure this could be accomplished… the girl is not typically a morning person and I wouldn’t really have blamed her for crashing in the wee hours. Was she there? WAS SHE THERE!
Yes, yes she was!. Family breakfast was eaten and a good time was had by all, even the sleepy ones. Thank you Smiths for a meaningful, family memory of celebrating in Atlanta, beautiful Atlanta.