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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Best Hat

I studied my daughter as we sat on the back seat of the van together on the way home from college graduation. What I saw was a combination of who she is, who she was, and who she may become. All of these images superimposed one on top of the other, changing constantly under the black mortarboard she wore on her head. She had taken off the black gown and red stole, but left the hat with its two tassels on her head.
In reverie as my husband navigated through the heavy traffic I remembered all the different hats my daughter had worn during the different stages of her young life. The first one that came to mind was the knitted pastel hat my mother made for my firstborn before we knew if she would be a boy or a girl, followed by the white cotton baby hat suitable for keeping the sun off a newborn’s face in the summer. As babies do, she kept trying to pull the hat off. These memories were followed by a myriad of Easter bonnets and straw hats, some of which matched dresses and were accompanied by lace gloves and white shoes. A pink baseball cap floated through my semi conscious ponderings. Toddler to preschool years were the years of the pink cap that helped her relate to her daddy. Knitted winter hats and hoods in many colors passed through my daydream in various sizes and shapes. The Girl Scout years saw the proliferation of visors when any hat was worn at all. Once high school came around, the primary hat was the band hat. Not terribly fashionable, worn reluctantly but with pride.
So it was that as we progressed toward our celebratory lunch that I commented on her head covering, saying, “I’ve never seen you wear a hat for such a long time before. I thought you didn’t like hats.” She didn’t look at me when she answered, but I loved the words when she softly said, “I love this hat.” I thought for a moment as I studied the glowing face beneath the black square with its black and gold tassels, the gold one denoting cum laude status. I smiled and said, “Well, it’s a good hat to love.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spots on My Specs

There are spots on my eyeglasses and they tell the story of my day. The smudge on the left lens is where my daughter's elbow got me this morning when I was wrestling her out of bed and into her wheelchair. There's a smaller smudge on the right lens near the top edge from the butter I put on my toast for breakfast. The little spots pretty much all over both lenses are from work, where first the macaroni water splashed when I was draining it to make the gallons of macaroni salad for the salad bar, and the dishwater that got me when I dropped a bowl into the sink during clean up. A bit of lint seems to be clinging in tiny particles all over from the dryer when I took the sheets out this afternoon, and some soy sauce from dinner seems to have found its way onto them as well. The final smudge is from my husband's nose when he kissed me before leaving for band rehearsal. I should have cleaned them before I sat down at the computer, but really, how would I have remembered everything about my day if I had done that? I'll clean them before I go to bed, and start a new history tomorrow.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

About Mothers

About mothers. We all have them, most of us are them. We are all influenced by them. Some of us have had more than one mother figure in our lives. Their words come back to us, sometimes at the right moment to help us, sometimes at the wrong moment to temper our joy with words of caution. Most mothers mean well, and they do the best they can with what they have and who they are. Sometimes we just don’t know what the right thing to do or say is, but we don’t want to let on! Aren’t we supposed to have all the answers and know everything? Protection of our babies (no matter how old they are!) and their happiness is a driving force for us. Sometimes we want so badly for them to be happy that we lose sight of the fact that we all need to be unhappy sometimes. How else will we appreciate happiness if we are occasionally not? Even though we hate to see our children unhappy, we must allow them to have their struggles, make mistakes, fall and get up on their own. Among the most difficult things for a mother to do is standing by and watch things go as they will without interference. We all had to figure life out as we went along, and of course we have the desire to spare our children the pain of failure, but if our mothers had stepped in all the time we would not have learned all we needed to know to survive all that life throws at us. The best gift my mother gave me was the ability to be independent, to think, assess and act to resolve problems in my own way. Without being able to practice those skills as I grew into adulthood, I can’t imagine how I would have made it this far in life. Thanks Mom!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Joy List

Just a list of simple things that bring me joy:

A deep green hillside dotted with bright yellow dandelions.

The way the air smells in spring when the sun comes out after a rainy day.

Window curtains fluttering in the breeze in the evening.

The morning sun reflecting off the newly cleaned kitchen floor.

The sound of the birds chirping through the open window on a Saturday morning as I'm lying in bed.

The way the setting sun lights the underside of the branches of the tall, tall trees across the street.

The morning or evening sky colored like cotton candy swirls.

Puffy white clouds against a robin's egg blue sky.

Watching little birds eating seeds left on the plants from last year.

Perennials when they begin breaking through the ground in Spring.

My corner of the couch.

The crocheted afghan that I made for my mother-in-law and got back after she passed away.

Pictures of my girls and husband.

Chopping vegetables for dinner.

A cup of tea.