Thursday, May 12, 2011

Many Things

In the last few weeks, I have found out many things.  I have found that if we wait long enough, even in Michigan, spring will come.  And it will overwhelm us with its beauty and take our breath away, when it sneaks up on us.  It will send rain our way and the days seem numbered only by the amounts of water dripping everywhere.  We will watch rain gutters overflow, and check that new sump pump to make sure it is still working.  We will lament that there is no end in sight for all of this water, and jokingly kid to remind us, of this when summer's heat is upon us.  We complain about being duck's and wishing for some sunshine, to brighten the now longer days.  We note that we are a couple of weeks behind normal for where things should be.  We chafe at the fact our garden seeds are sitting here, unplanted and that life seems at another stand still. 

But then, it is actually spring.  No more false nods our way, it is actually, really, truly spring.  The daffodils have waited and finally arrive in all the happy yellows of the sun and make us smile just to see the clumps of spring gold.  The cooler weather, means the tulips arrive later but the daffodils also hang around to co-mingle for a week.  Then one day you have an actual warm spring rain, and suddenly the green grass needs mowing, and the cherry tree bursts into a white petticoat of blossoms, and the tulips have arrived in all their majesty.  And it makes me wish I could stop time for a day or two or three.  If I could just stop and relish in the long days now that seem to have purpose.  If I could just rejoice in the cooler mornings that give way to warm afternoons and so much time to work out of doors.  I realize that the rabbits didn't eat all my new tulips, in fact, now I can only find one small clump that they so badly damaged it will not bloom this year.  The dreaming of the wondrous displays, as I looked over tulip catalogs last fall, and as I planted them knowing it would be a long winter before I would see the fruits of those bulbs,has born fruit. It is much like giving birth.  You wait, you anticipate labor and are never quite prepared for how long it will take, but then you have that child and suddenly it is spring and life has color and meaning and all the past is forgotten. 

The tulips are exotic in color and style.  Last year I bought fringed tulip bulbs, and peony flowering and lily flowering bulbs in dazzling colors and combinations.   Every morning I am amazed at how they look in the garden and with my cup of coffee in hand, walk the garden just to enjoy.  If only, I could carry this with me, but I am finding that the peace I seek is in the looking and being ever knowing that its there, if I look for it.  I'm learning....

I have found out that my old love of baking has come back, and that dog hair in just about every mixing bowl is an inevitability. I am also warned that my family who read this will probably examine every slice they eat from now on.  But I have news for them, if they haven't died yet from ingested dog hair, they probably won't anytime soon.  Grandpa always told us we need to eat a bushel of dirt before we die, so I guess a few pounds of stray dog hair isn't a big deal.

And I have found out that the Betty Crocker coupons are no longer redeemable.  In fact, the coupon books retired in 2006, almost 5 years ago....That means the cake mix I just cut the points coupon from has been in my pantry cupboard for awhile, and that's putting it nicely.  I have Betty Crocker coupon flatware.  When we were young people and the eldest of us were headed to marriage, Mom told us to pick out a flatware pattern from the Betty Crocker coupon catalong.  She was going to redeem the coupons for us so we would each have an 8 piece setting of all the flatware availalble.  I picked Patrick Henry for mine, a simple, straightforward, Oneida piece that I loved then and still love.  But as with anything, over the years, pieces went missing and the knives developed a problem of splitting.  With the redeemable points coupon I had just cut out, I thought now was the time to dig out the other coupons I had saved and replace some of the flatware that had vanished over the years.  Woe as me, when I found searching online, that it is no longer.  Of course, as with everything in this day and age, there is an online source for that.  "" had my flatware pieces, as many as I needed, but also at a pretty hefty price.  In this time of looking to my future, I thought, "Do I really need 8 matched forks?".   I haven't quite come up with an answer to that yet, but I have the address saved and maybe next winter it will be something I will "have to have".  Somehow, though, like the Betty Crocker coupon books, I willprobably continue to go about my merry way with forks that don't all match, too few teaspoons and regular knives and steak knives mixed on too many occasions.  Hopefully I can do it with flair and smile and say, "Its the quirkiness of Grandma"....

Finally, I have found that Mother's Day is about being a daughter as much as it was about being a Mom.  I took Mom to her church on Mother's Day.  I have done this for a few years now so the order and makeup of the service was not unique or a surprise, but somehow a morning that started on the "poor, pitiful me" side, opened up as I watched children help with a service dedicated to moms.  I saw a mother of ten children, the middle ones of whom, had been my grade school friends, sit down with my mother as her "kids" were all busy with their families and being mom's.   She required no pity for attending church on Mother's Day alone, as her kids were there for her often.  She enjoyed the time to herself she said.   After church we stopped by unspoken agreement, at the cemetery.  We stopped at Dad's stone marker and once again I marveled and grieved that he had been gone for over 4 years and it still didn't seem right that he was no longer, here.  We looked at the newest "craft" craze in cemeteries, metal crosses with flowers welded on at the crosspieces and painted in rather gaudy colors.  There were several in the cemetery and we both thought them kind of ugly, but then we both laughed that Grandma Laurenz would have loved them and been figuring out a way to make us all some while down in Florida for the winter.  And again I remembered what it was to be a Daughter.  Mom and I spent time together today, and that was important.  I remembered once again the things, that have bound us and the things that in the past made me say, "she's my best friend".

On Saturday we had a baby shower for Jennifer, my lovely daughter in law.  Part of the gift giving was a request for a baby book in lieu of a card.  I remembered the large stash of the kid's books I had saved in an old doll cradle of Annie's, as it was convenient at the time.  So, I crawled into the crawl space, and muttered something about cleaning out all of this stuff I was saving and bending over looked through all the children's books.  I found most of them were Annie's as she wrote her name in all of hers, but I did find a few of the boys, and some brought back smiling memories of reading favorite books time and again.  The Giant Jam Sandwich and Where the Wild Things Go and many more.  Where did the time go?   And so I learned once again, that time doesn't stand still and even when the moments seem like hours, they are gone.  Four books wrapped as a bundle with much love and I can honestly say there were no replications in my gift, but once again I learned how in tune my mom and I are, or as the saying goes, "I am my Mother's Daughter".  When the books were opened  and I found Mom had brought a "little Golden book", a staple of my childhood, that she had saved and read to Korey, no doubt, as the book gift for Jen.  It made me smile as neither of us had any idea that the other was doing such.  I am my Mother's Daughter, and I am humbled and proud to be such.  I have learned the best we can do in this life as women, is leave behind children who will remember us with a smile and have conversations that start and end with, "  I learned this from Mom"....

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