Thursday, May 17, 2007

will rise up and call you blessed

As the semester ends and grades are completed and I try to find it in myself to relax, I’ve had many thoughts born of the elusive mental quiet. Truth is, there is no place where the responsibility actually ends. I’ve been wanting to take a bit of a trip on the windhorse. But even away, alone, I’ve still the responsibility to get back again.
pawpawContemplating Mother as Mother’s Day approached, and dealing with homesickness that tends to escalate at annual times such as these, new thoughts occurred to me. When I go “home” I experience a state of relaxation that I rarely feel. A few times stand out in my memory. I felt it at cousin Cheryl’s wedding reception - wonderful party in a field with hamburgers and hotdogs and mountain music, green grass, trees, and misty dusk. It is an evening I’ll never forget. I felt it on my Grandmother’s patio. Just the two of us sitting there catching up, remembering, telling stories – and then we just got quiet for a while and watched the sun play in the leaves and cast shadows on the grass. I felt it last summer for an hour on Jodi’s new patio. The night descending and stars appearing in the dark, country sky, the invisible trees waving their invisible limbs overhead exhumed memories years buried and allowed a relaxation that only a child can feel.
There is a commonality to all these scenarios. My parents. Of course, the ability to go home and just relax into their care is the obvious ingredient, but I’ve realized that there is something bigger.
I promise that I would never feel that my kids are stress inducers. Honest. (probably). But the responsibility that goes with them is definitely a source of stress. The sharing of those responsibilities with Allison is only partly helpful, because when either of us is stressed, so is the other. Also, stresses that can be shared and traded are only everyday busyness. There are more encompassing responsibilities that span the entire childhood. Raising children is an extremely important work. Who will this kid be, and what role will I have played, good or bad?
It occurs to me that when I go home with my kids, I very much entrust my parents with their care. This may annoy my parents, I don’t know, and I don’t think I’ve ever realized I do it. But who better to receive my weary emotions than them? They have always done it without a word of complaint, and I always know that only good can come from my parents’ interaction with my kids. My children adore my parents. They become giddy with joy at thought of being with them. I know better than anyone what my parents have to offer to children, and I go home begging for it as their child, and for my children as a parent.

So anyway, I’ll stop rambling, but not before I say thanks to Mom and Dad for being a source of ever-growing comfort for 43 years. I’m watching and feeling and studying you trying to learn how to do it myself.

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