If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
It’s been a lazy Sunday. I would love to say I did something profound, wrote something amazing or at least read something interesting, but I didn’t do any of those things. Instead I spent the day unpacking some, cleaning some, sorting things out, resting some, and just generally moving slow.
It’s hard sorting through so much. I have things we’ve moved from the other house that were mine and the kids and lots of stuff from my parents house ranging from furniture, both new and old, photos, books, and a great assortment of all kinds of different items from my childhood. It’s an emotional ordeal to unpack and sort through it all, and it’s taking much longer than I thought it would. I will be doing fine, making a lot of progress then run into a bag containing all my baby shoes and just sit and stare at them in wonder. Still I push through and keep going on to find baby clothes my mom made, table cloths she crocheted, and some of the needle point she created.
I have cried today. I cried when I looked at the fields and noticed that the blue bonnets are gone for this year. They come, bloom and look so beautiful, people take pictures in them and we get to enjoy them for a very short while, then all at once they are gone, fading into the grass and due to be mowed and forgotten until next year.
As I was sitting and thinking about the blue bonnets a few minutes ago it occurred to me that they are a good example that nature offers us of how things flow. After all, we all have a time to grow, bloom, shine and be our best, then we have a time where we become part of the crowd, taking our place to seed (mentor) the next generation before we are gone and they grow up to take our place and their time to bloom, bigger and brighter than those before them.
Every part of life has a cycle and though at times there is sadness, it is just a small part of the big picture. I miss my parents, the future scares me at times and that fear is new to me making me uncomfortable. In the end it’s all just a part of the journey.
Cherry Coley (c)
This is a story about my lovely, youngest daughter Lindsey.
My sister-in-law – Jamie once said (of Lindsey) – “That kid just oozes personality.” I don’t think I will ever hear of a better description of Lindsey. She did then and she still does “ooze personality.” She is, like her sister, a completely different individual, who has from a very young age marched along happily to the beat of her own drum.
This event took place in December 2000 – When Lindsey was two years old at First Baptist Learning Center in Downtown Dallas.
It was a cold day in early December and I was taking the kids to school. Casey went to kindergarten and Lindsey was in the two-year old class. As we were walking through the foyer we saw a large red and gold chair wrapped with green garland and lights, white floor covering and small trees placed around by the chair along with a few wrapped gifts. Today the daycare had announced they were bringing in Santa for pictures for the kids. As we walked by Lindsey pointed to the display and said, “what’s that?”
I said, “I think you are going to have a visitor.”
We walked on through and dropped Lindsey off at her class. All the kids were dressed in their best Christmas outfits. Lindsey and Casey had on red matching dresses, white tights and black shoes. Lindsey immediately ran and got on a Big Wheel and started paddling around the classroom.
I walked on and took Casey through to the next building to her class. The kids were making snowmen with cotton balls and black felt. Casey was excited. She loved kindergarten.
I waved to Mrs. Penny (the principal) and went downstairs and across the street where I worked in Lincoln Center.
It was about 10:30am that something occurred to me and suddenly I had a sinking feeling. The day before the daycare had another visitor. The Crime Dog, McGruff. He had come by to talk to the kids about “stranger danger.” He was very thorough and even included a part about staying together at the mall. The kids had spent the night before coloring the books he had handed out. “I’m sure it will be okay,” I told myself.
By the end of the day I had not received a call from Penny so I thought things must have went well. After I got off work I walked back to the Learning Center to pick up the kids.
I was met at the door by Mrs. Penny. She looked at me, shook her head and motioned me into her office. Uh oh.
“I need to tell you what Lindsey did,” she said.
I sat down.
“First of all, Lindsey acted really well this morning. She was well-behaved and kept her dress nice and clean. She behaved so well that Ms. Eva made her the leader for the class when they brought the kids down to take pictures with Santa.” She smiled.
I breathed a sigh of relief. (Lindsey had a habit of stripping if she got too hot.)
“Lindsey led the class in a straight line down the hall and the stairs. She even helped the teachers tell the other kids to be quiet when they went by the baby rooms.” She went on. I was feeling better. This was a good thing!
“Then the teachers opened the glass doors…Lindsey marched through and slammed on her brakes..pointed her finger at Santa and yelled…’STRANGER!’” she tried to look stern, but her lips were quivering in a hidden smile. “She then screeched at all the kids behind her yelling ‘STRANGER STRANGER!!’ Until she had all of them yelling with her. They turned and ran back up the hallway, up the stairs and back to the room, where Lindsey turned the latch and locked out both of her teachers.”
“I am…..soooooo sorry,” I whispered.
“So not only did the entire class NOT get their pictures taken with Santa, but we had to make a trip upstairs with the key to open the door, which wasn’t easy since the kids were all leaning against it because Lindsey was telling them to keep the stranger out,” she went on.
“Oh gee,” I said.
“Your daughter is quiet a leader,” she said.
“Um, yes,” I replied, “she seems to be that.”
“Don’t ever let that go away,” she smiled.
“But….aren’t you mad? I mean, none of the kids got their pictures taken with Santa and she locked the teachers out,” I replied.
“I will have to explain to the parents that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea for us to have invited Crime Dog McGruff over to do the stranger talk the day before the Santa pictures.” She agreed, “Then I will tell them that the class really paid attention, and that they should not be frustrated, but pleased that the children learned a lesson, even though it caused them an inconvenience.”
“Thank you,” I said.
On the way out the door I asked Casey if she got her picture taken.
“I did!” Casey replied and produced a couple of candy canes. “I even got one for Lindsey cause she ran away.”
Lindsey stopped and looked at her, “You took CANDY from a STRANGER!!”
Casey – “Lindsey, it was Santa! He comes and brings toys in the house on Christmas Eve!”
Lindsey – “OH MY GOSH!! I’m gonna stay up and watch for him!”
“Well, you can leave him cookies,” I said.
“WHAT?! YOU CAN’T LET HIM IN MOM!! HE’S A STRANGER!! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!” Lindsey continued to yell as we went down the hallway. “HE’S NOT COMING IN OUR HOUSE!”
“Mom, is Lindsey going to get coal?” Casey whispered.
Cherry Coley (c)
Slightly different – but a good memory…..sort of.
I just love Christmas. It is my favorite time of year. Actually, I guess I love the fall season, but Christmas is right up there for favorite holiday. I try to be sure to fit in little reminders of what Christmas is about into the mix. It just so happened that after a hectic Saturday of running kids to choir practice and squeezing in some shopping which is always an adventure, we came across a live nativity scene at St. Phillips Catholic Church on the way home. My kids – two girls, Casey age 13 and Lindsey age 8 years old – spotted it and started bouncing up and down in the car for me to pull over and go through it. I made a turn and got in line. There was a choir that sang and a bell choir in the Nativity Scene, so you had to ride with the windows down to get the full affect. I had a van and it was pretty cold outside. So instead of opening the side door the kids squeezed into the front seat and rolled down the window. This was fine too because I didn’t want to chance my youngest jumping or falling out of a moving van. It seemed to work well. We were able to go through the whole scene and enjoy it.
The church had done a wonderful job putting together scenery and costumes. They had the verses painted on backdrops to tell the story and live animals. The bell choir played a little while we were there and there were some really cute little angels that smiled and waved before pretending to pray. There was also a Shepherd that was feeding a sheep that was (apparently) hungry. The sheep nibbled a little too hard on his fingers and the shepherd said something under his breath that I don’t think was part of the story. There were also a couple of wise men beside a donkey that were discussing football quietly. I breathed a sigh or relief and thought to myself, “this is really nice.”
We neared the end of the driveway and they were handing out candy canes and bibles. They smiled and we all said Merry Christmas. Then I drove to the end of the curb and waited for a chance to turn. It was at this point that the kids decided they were crowded and started pushing each other. The window was still down and I told Lindsey to get back in the back seat and buckle up. Now WHY exactly my 8-year old suddenly thought she could fit through a 4 inch space between the window and the seat I don’t know, but instead of going back the way she went through the first time she decided to crawl through by the door….and her jeans got stuck on the seat, she lost her hand hold and got wedged. She slid down between the door and front seat to get really stuck then and …of course….started screaming. Word of warning, Lindsey is really LOUD.
My oldest daughter tried to roll up the window because people were looking and Lindsey screamed more, her butt and legs were facing the window and she started kicking. I’m trying to be calm and yell over Lindsey’s screaming – “DON’T MOVE” and decide to LEAVE the driveway and pull across the street to a parking lot to pull her out. We didn’t get that far. Lindsey wouldn’t be still and in the meantime my oldest daughter decides to try moving her seat back and Lindsey slides down more and is now yelling “YOU’RE KILLING ME!!” at the top of her lungs. So Casey moves the seat back up. Lindsey could’ve made the scream record at that point you would’ve thought we were doing some kind of medieval torture on the kid. Her legs were kicking wildly out the window and there were now quiet a few people wondering what the heck we were doing. The wise men and shepherds came running, the donkey took off across the field, the choir dismantled and the angels were running to catch the sheep and Mary (I understand) took the opportunity to go to the restroom.
After much wiggling and pulling we finally got Lindsey free. Casey stood off to the side in horror watching the mass chaos. Lindsey sat and rubbed her stomach; tears still running down her face.
“Lindsey, baby, are you okay?” I asked.
“I gotta go to the bathroom and now I’m hungry,” she smiles. She then points to a candy cane held by one of the Wise men and asked “You gonna eat that?” We all look at each other for a minute and burst out laughing. Everyone – the Wise men and the Shepherds laughed and shook their heads.
“Why’d you think you could fit through that small space?” Casey asks her.
“I could before,” she holds her hands up to the space then measures herself, “I guess my butt’s too big now.”
“Ya think?” Casey said.
“I think if someone was video taping that scene we are going to wind up on funniest home video’s for sure,” I said.
“I’ll be remembered as the girl with her butt hanging out the door,” Lindsey laughs.
“No, the minister said, you’ll be remembered as he one who made the Nativity lively.” He smiled.
We got back in the car, everyone in the Nativity went back to their posts with apologies to all the cars waiting in line, and we started out of the parking lot. The minister stood in the road to make sure we got out.
“Mom,” Casey said, “I don’t think we’d better make THAT a tradition.”
Cherry Coley (c)
I miss the days of being so young, when life was simple and you never had to worry whether if something was true or not true. To a child it is always true until it’s proven that it’s not.
I always had such a big imagination. It often drove my brother insane. (Sorry, Shaun). I was forever and always coming up with stories, even before I could hold a pencil to write them down.
I had a green chalkboard I would lean up against the bed in my room and then line up all the stuffed animals in rows. There I taught all those little stuffed bunnies, kittens and puppies how to read. They learned their ABC’s, addition and subtraction every day, the same time I did. They weren’t real good at writing on the board. I had to do that for them.
Then at night we all gathered on the bed and I read them a bedtime story. Danny the Dinosaur comes to mind. Then there was, of course, Dr. Suess and the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. Although, Mother Goose often made me run and ask questions about why on EARTH would someone put a cradle in the treetop? And WHY won’t they fix Humpty Dumpty again? Didn’t he know better than to sit on that wall after he fell off the first time? At that point my mom would march me back to bed and turn off the light. Then I would tell myself a story until my brother would tell me to shut up. Guess I was an annoying little kid at times.
Later when we got puppies, I had a puppy named Butch. He was my very first pet. Butch was a little brown dog of questionable heritage, but he was smart. He loved to listen to me and since I never was quiet this was a good thing! I often put Butch in front of the chalkboard too. I tried and tried to teach that dog his ABC’s and math, but he just didn’t see the point. He kept grabbing my little stuffed bunnies and tried to go under the bed. I did finally teach him manners though and we were both glad of that.
We had a candy store in our neighborhood. It was a house that had a big front window and the living room made into a little soda shop/candy store. We loved to walk there on the days we could. You could go in there and crawl up on the bar stool and order a Root Beer float. They had every kind of lollipop you could think of in that store too. I liked the rock candy. It looked like crystals, but just tasted like sugar. Then of course there were pop rocks. You put half the pack in your mouth then your eyes watered from all the popping and sizzling.
There are a few other things that stand out in childhood memory. I remember Tommy, our mailman. He was TERRIFIC! Tommy always stopped to talk to me. He taught me how to do a puppet show and even how to act a bit. He would come in and get a drink at the daycare where my mom worked and hunt me down to listen to my latest tale. Then laugh when I told him about things that happened at school that day. On the day of my first puppet show at the daycare, Tommy was there. He helped me set up the tape recorder for music and gave me a pep talk. Then when it was done he was the person that clapped the loudest.
I also remember Mr. Robert the milkman. He brought milk and half and half to the daycare a few times a week. On those days in the summer, I would run out to his truck and he would give me rides around the parking lot while I drank the little carton of half and half, or ate the popsicle he’d brought me. He secretly gave me my very first ice milk/ ice cream. I wasn’t supposed to have milk because of asthma. Dairy always made it worse, yet the half and half and ice milk didn’t bother me. I really loved hanging onto that pole and zooming at the fast pace of about 5 miles an hour around that parking lot.
I guess by now you are wondering what the point is to all of this, besides just walking down memory lane. The point is, that it only takes a moment to impact someone’s life forever. The people that impacted me the most I didn’t see every day, but they still took just a few minutes out of their busy schedules to be there, to hug me, to offer a kind word, and to encourage me along the way. I will never forget them. These are some of the memories I cherish the most. Take time to make memories each day. You can’t get time back once it’s spent and time on the computer or in front of the television is not the same as a walk in the park or sitting on the porch watching the sunset with someone you care about.
Cherry Coley (c)