Those Hands; My World

 

 

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The hands flashed in front of me. Aged with spots, their blue veins pushed up through the papery thin skin. And there I sat,  the room around me muted, hyper focused on those two hands before me. Warmth and a touch of panic rose within my chest. I tried to glance away, to flight rather than stay and fight the feeling. But, alas, I just could no longer bear to look away. Could not tear my eyes away. So I let myself go. I embraced the sight before me, let the warm feeling spread as my eyes explored the hands further.

Yes, somehow those were familiar hands. Those hands were hands that were always nicely groomed with fingernails just the right length, not too long and not too short. Those hands were always busy. In motion constantly while she talked, when she cleaned, when she played with  the babies. Those hands were often covered with the soil that she loved. Those petite hands I remember holding as a child, as a teen, as a young woman. Those hands, oh my, those hands.

My eyes wandered over those hands, drinking them in, halting on the wedding/engagement ensemble adorning those fingers. That sweet warm feeling reached clear down to my toes. The panic slipped away.  Those rings exchanged before I was even a thought, always gave me peace and wonder as a child. Those rings established that she was my mother, mother of my siblings, wife of my father. She was ours forever. Peace and security were mine when those golden rings did flash.

Those hands, that finger, those rings, my world, my security.

The noises came back full force and the lights seemed to brighten and there I was still in that room with people all around me. Those hands, those hands did not belong to my mother after all. Those hands of my friend and co-worker. Yet, for a few moments on this busy day, those hands caught me off guard.  Those hands brought me simple sweet little memories and feelings I had forgotten, had really never even realized I had. I will always remember her hands.

Lilah Deep Braveheart

She’s in the tub now and all is well with my soul as I hear her chattering away and making splashes.  My crazy writer’s mind writes millions of words and phrases dangle as a little writer’s voice in my head narrates the moments as they happened in real time.

She runs down a brambly path in front of me….her long hair bumping from side to side as each foot lands in her funny flowered galoshes. This child, who is my adventure, called to me as soon as she arrived today. “Grandma Sara! Let’s go! Come on the enchanted forest awaits us!”

I’m ashamed to say, I told her to go get her homework finished. She obliged quickly and jumped up with a “Now, come one Grandma Sara, let’s go!”

Again, I muttered, “But you don’t have a jacket!” Her reply, “I don’t need one! I’m tough!”

And again, ” You can’t go in flip flops!” and again “Grandma Sara, don’t you remember, I left my boots here so we can go on adventures!”

Okay. She had me. This tired old woman was all out of excuses! I told myself one quick walk, after all this was her Grandma Wednesday. Our special evening to spend together and bond. This inquisitive little city girl, daughter of my son’s love, and our special day so that we learn about each other and make up for the years we missed together before she came into my life.  I changed into jeans and slipped on my Muck shoes and scooted out the door.

And  as soon as we came to edge of our enchanted forest, I was hooked again. I was her audience, her companion her conspirator. She ran ahead, calling out the whole entire way. Her: “I’m the leader, cause I’m brave!” Me: “That you are!” Her: “My middle name is Deep! Me: “I’ll call you Lilah Deep!” [Because she did not fear the deep (well knee deep) water in the creek!] Her: “I’m an explorer and a pioneer girl. Don’t fear Grandma Sara I’ll keep you safe cause I’m young and tough!” Me: “I know you are and I trust you completely!”

This funny little girl who isn’t my blood but who is fast becoming my souls adventure mate, led me deeper and deeper into our enchanted forest with words tumbling from her mouth that would make any feminist dance on the rooftop and burn her bra! I huffed and puffed and groaned as I bent and squat walked beneath logs across our path. She has never known me as a young woman when I could have done this all without missing a breath. So my labors go unnoticed because Grandma Sara always huffs and puffs and sweats when we go on walks, it’s just how it is!

She chases down nature up every hill, around every bend and all across the woods. And I, I am her follower. I follow her and thrill in her new adventures and teach her things that come to me along the way. She leads me back to my youth and I chase her further then I ever expect to go. Because how can I stop this child of so much energy and imagination.

What right does my tired old bones have to complain and beg her to stop. Later at home as I sit beside her and type my blog while she sleeps on my couch, then my bones can rest and weep. Cause right now her childhood plays out before me and it is a most magnificent event.

I am humbled and grateful that fate has bound us together. Here’s to you Lilah Deep Braveheart!  I love you.

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Sweet Viola Jane

1460246_10153466057230037_41362425_nViola Jane. Two sweet names that play on my lips. Their syllables ring bells and its melody releases a cool smooth mist to my brain. Some undisturbed ancestral bond begins to awaken. I love her deeply for she is flesh of my flesh. I see the old repeating in her. I see eyes of my aunties and toes of my uncles. I hear ancient wisdom whispered in her voice. I see the new too. Her daddy’s nose and her mama’s cowlick. The first time I felt the weight of  her warm little body wrapped up so tight  some primal call stirred deep in my soul. She fills my arms like the firm, quick click of a jagged missing piece to this crazy puzzle called life . Her eyes are bright blue like a new morning sky, the shape of fresh raindrops falling soft on their sides. She peers innocently from their delicious depths. Her tiny dimpled hands reach for my face and the feel of her kisses mangles my heart. That desolate empty room I kept locked up so tight,  bursts right open and reaches full occupancy now this cheeky little chamber maid 539058_10153401686690037_1965378635_nfills it so well. Her  plump little nose, upturned so perfectly, perches uniquely above her fresh white, gap tooth, smile.  A face full of secrets, a face of innocence,  her future wide open, her future not told. I ruffle the baby hair that tickles my nose and I nuzzle her neck and I kiss that lone lock of hair that adorns her forehead. This wonder filled child smells of mysterious wisdom of some other  life I dare not peek. She brings me her humor jingling from her rose perfect lips. Her simple  giggles and quick teases radiate from those eyes, those bright blue eyes. She works her perfect sweet magic and pulls me into her little girl world. She commandeers this adoring audience, as she observes the world in her quick quiet way.   With a blink of her eye and a bat of her lashes, she chirps out words on musical notes. Her pure sweet beauty squeezes my old lady chest and it’s  all I can do to breath in her love. Then she gives me a hug and she blows me a kiss. I rock my love and her sleepy small voice calls out,  a melancholy reverb bouncing through my bones and my mind and my soul.   “Mee Maw, Mee Maw!” She calls to her granny. My arms are content, my heart is complete. I hear a distant ancestral sigh as she closes her eyes. Then sweet baby girl, sweet grand daughter of mine, whispers so quietly, “I wuv you Mee Maw!   1536637_10153669797970037_1329461930_n   1174716_10153297237495037_225709610_n1381533_10153324165365037_1585145596_n934079_10152821677955037_73441664_n

Oh Daughter of My Daughter

Oh daughter of my daughter

Oh granddaughter of mine

Beautiful of most beautiful that God can create

Your tiny soul peered up at me

Our age-old destiny set

As our eyes met

Your heart took mine

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You smiled at me

Like old soul mates  do.

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Her Forgotten Days

My fingers glide effortlessly on this keyboard with a will of their own. I begin to type and  a love song banters and begs to be freed. Sweetly my words flow as sounds and memories mesh and  nostalgic joy begins to sing of her forgotten days.

I want to tell you about a woman. My words can never recreate the person she really was. Words will never show that special twinkle in her eye as she swept up an unsuspecting visitor with her inquisitive conversation.

She loved to engage people in  banter.She had a way to pull them in and warm their hearts.  She was always interested in where they were from and who they knew, places they had traveled.

I often wondered how she knew so much about so many things. She had always just been there at home with us twelve children and dad. How did she lead friends and visitors along and have the knowledge to take them with her across the ocean or up a mountain and down to the devil, back up to God.

As I would quietly climb onto her lap and lay my head on her shoulder, she would rock me back and forth; talking on and on for what seemed like hours.

Yes, my mother loved people, truly, genuinely loved to interact with them. Cared about what they had to say, enjoyed hearing of their adventures, hurt when they hurt, rejoiced in their happiness’s, triumphed in their successes.

She was my idol as I would sit on her lap at the kitchen table and she rubbed my back while discussing what flowers to plant and and how to put up garden vegetables with the neighbor lady. She was my idol even when I would take my little hand to turn her face to me, vying for her attention.

I loved her voice and her absent hands on me as she gave herself to her visitors. I loved her laughter and the way her words wove and bound those around her and held them close and made them feel important.

I love the legacies she has left my family. I love the movements she started in the seventies. I love the stories of all the strangers she brought into our home, giving  them food and drink and support, listening  to their sorrows and bolstering  them up. I love the person she was and the person she wanted to be. I love that she was my mother and I was her daughter. I love that she gave herself whenever she could.sara's family

I love the memories I hold in my heart of her.

Jeeps Are For Girls

Been looking through old pics of us from THAT summer.         

Swimming at the river

Jeeping HatsThat summer we played on borrowed time.

 Slipping away at the drop of a hat.

So far past caring what the other’s thought.

Texting each other, “What you doing?”

Was just our code for,”Come on, lets go!”

That summer we swam half naked in the river,

Dipping low as the canoers paddled on by.

Running on the beach slow motion, Bo Derrick style.

That summer we let the wind take our troubles

On the tail of the words we sang right out loud.

Laughing and crying and baring our souls

That summer my white jeep was our steed

We rode it slow and easy away from our cares.

 

That summer of 2011

That summer of freedom

I sure miss that summer

I miss us.

I call Girls Day (and Night)  

Jeepin girls

Jeeps are for girls

In my old jeep

                                                                                                                                                                                                      

When it’s Good and warm!

Pinky Swear???

Silly Boys Jeeps are for Girls


A Lovely State of Somewhere In Between

 

Thirteen was a lovely state of somewhere in between. Lean and brown and nimble, on the edge of something unknown, precariously teetering between my childhood and my womanhood. I had nowhere to feel comfortable. No place seemed to totally claim me, not my past and certainly not my future. That familiar little, knocked kneed girl with the dirty face and tangled hair,too quickly, it seemed, was slipping from me. That summer I had noticed my cutoffs were beginning to hug in a new way. My tan legs showed curious new curves, forgetting the gangliness that ten and twelve had brought. Long dark hair had taken on a thick healthy glow and flowed as soft as silk whenever I tossed my head.

The neighbor boys had begun to snicker and elbow one another, speaking when they thought I couldn’t here. “Ha, you see our little tomboy lately? I think she’s wearing a bra!” They had started to call now in a different way, requesting long walks or slow bike rides on warm spring nights. Gone were evenings of ramping bikes or running races. Each one showed at my door, shyly and awkwardly, at different times to sit on my porch and chat.

Bewildered and incensed, I wanted to shout at them, to grab their necks and shake them awake.  Please, see me! I’m here, still just the girl next door, the same one who grew up beside you, who knows every little annoying thing about you. Don’t try to tease me or grab me or hold my hand. Leave me alone. I don’t want to grow up. But that certain power that turned my face to red also crept within my body, spreading its warmth.

Body emerging with softened angles and mysterious allure, I pedaled my bike on that old paper route and contemplated this certain power I dared not use. Men, grown and with hair all over their bodies were straining necks, whistling out their car windows and honking horns. In my girlishness, my face burned as I pedaled faster. I didn’t know this attention and yet it gave me a secret warm glow.

I broke a window that year, on my birthday. A mixture of feelings, I always seemed to be fighting lately, swirled through my mind and body. I was sad and lonely and I didn’t know why.  I wanted to run and play with my brother and his friends but I wanted too, to be grown up and experience a first real boyfriend. I didn’t want men to look and honk but it did feel nice. I threw that last newspaper a little too hard and slam! It broke the glass on that door. I burst into tears, how could this happen to me on my birthday? Mortified, I rubbed away those tears and stomped up to the door to apologize and offer to pay.

In my dark mood, I jumped from my bike and ran into my house. There in that bright warm kitchen, my favorite meal of spaghetti and chocolate cake and colorful, papered presents awaited. There too, my big sis, Amy and her little babe, Laura, who I often babysat. I opened my presents and found things a thirteen year old would appreciate; perfume, cool colored undies with the days of the week printed on them, a pair of jeans with a sweet design on the pocket. My family had gathered around the table and my sister had come home just for me. My mood shifted. I felt okay again, comfortable again, there with my  family’s love showering around me.

I hung there, in that lovely state of somewhere in between, for at least another year. I learned things, secret things that you just come to know. Things that I now know happen naturally and sweetly. The real power of a woman, the true heart of men, all of those things were far ahead. But that year, that year I got a little glimpse of what was to be. And so it was, as easy as a baby’s sigh, with my family’s love there to steady me, I set aside my little girl ways. I began to move gently and gratefully into my own womanhood.

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