family, In My Opinion, inspiration, nature

IMO: Mothers & Daughters

Time repeats itself through the transference of one role to another. To experience wisdom has become the reward for growing older. Let me explain:

My daughter is thirty-three. When I spend time with her, there is an invisible mirror raised. Time places her on one side while I stand on the other. The younger version and older version of shared DNA stares at each other. Vanessa cannot see my side of the mirror. She does not know what it feels like to be fifty-eight, carrying the decades of experiences that molded me into what I am today.

Her sight is fuzzy; she cannot see my wisdom from arriving at this plateau where I stand, forged from my mistakes and accomplishments. All my dreams and disappointments. The anxiety of raising my children until now they have their own. The price paid is evident by my wrinkles and gray hair. Meanwhile, at thirty-three, she is blonde with a smooth complexion. Her body parts are firm and mobile. I miss that younger version of myself, but that’s a different story.

I’ve got the advantage. I confess it is a lot easier being fifty-eight than thirty-three.

When I was thirty-three, life was ahead of me. I wondered and planned and strived for my goals with a determination that they would come true. Now at fifty-eight, I am able to look back at my life and feel grateful I survived the dark holes and worrisome stress that causes one to smoke, drink too much, and cry rivers. It’s my daughter’s turn to wiggle through the angst of life; there’s not much I can do but…well, buy her some clothes.

When I was thirty-three, my mother occasionally took me clothes shopping at a local department’s store. I knew our trips were a way to bond. Just the two of us looking in the sales rack. I didn’t have much money because I was a single parent which means any extra money for clothes goes to the children.

That’s why she would buy me something to help out my limited wardrobe.

My heart ached for my mother today. Without thinking about it, I called up my daughter and asked if she’d accompany me to the local boutique in town. I bought her a few pieces of clothing to vamp up her limited wardrobe.

In that moment, I was connected to Mom. I was myself. I was Vanessa at thirty-three, and we all swirled around as one person in the present.

I like being fifty-eight.

What will I feel like in twenty-five years at eighty-three? I don’t have the perspective yet.

family, Five Shots of..., five shots...., flowers, In My Opinion, inspiration, love, photography

IMO: “Remember the good things.”

Carry the bag of potting soil from the trunk to the patio.

Stir the fish water and compost in with the soil.

Gingerly set the bulb, flower, and bush into its spot.

Now, sit there. And watch it grow.

My mother followed this routine continuously for sixty years.

I confess, I never got it. It seemed like a boring way to spend the day.

Talking to her little friends.

The birds, the butterflies, and the hummingbirds her favorite neighbors.

Her dog by her feet.

Her husband puttering in the garden.

Nothing was professionally done. Nothing was perfect.

It’s been ten months since her passing.

Today, I realized my efforts to create a beautiful patio,

All the toiling and the stiffness earned was for her.

Now, I make a point to sit on the patio.

I sit and watch the plants grow.

It is not boring at all.

2020s, Colorado, family, In My Opinion, inspiration, love, nature, photography

IMO: Looking for Mom

Mom would frown and shake her head. “Good, God, stop crying. I wasn’t a saint, you know.”

Grief is a heavy activity. Doing one’s best not to cry is hard to do. Talking about it is exhausting. The permanence of her departure is a rock that’s heavy to carry. Just when a few days go by when I am not overcome with emotion, I start to relax. Then, boom! Triggers abound, and I am weeping in the car before heading into the grocers, or I am about to enter a room full of people. On goes the smile and I am ready to explain the puffy eyes and red nose as the result of a bad attack of allergies. 

Last week before the students and staff arrived, I walked down the wide, dark hallway of the school searching for hot water for my cup of tea. Out of nowhere, Mom’s face appeared sharply in front of me. Was I hallucinating? I was back at her side, patting her hand while she breathed heavily. I looked at her and her eye opened and stared at me. It was freaky to see her staring eye. Did she know it was me? I talked to her anyway, hoping she could hear. “Jenny washed you, Mom. You’re clean. You won! You are here in your home and we love you. We’ll be okay.” And just like that, she faded away and her eye turned to stone. In the dark hallway, I burst into tears and rushed back to my classroom muttering, “It’s going to be one of those days.”

Well, of course, none of us are okay, but we’ll adapt. I take comfort in knowing she’s in a better place. I believe that.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m overwhelmed, I always want to run away from home. So Jim and I did. I know God’s in nature as well as the church, and the colors and smells of nature is a place I go to connect and regroup. At Vallecito Lake, I saw Mom in what she loved about nature. 

The 15th was her birthday. I was glad to share the fall day with Mom surrounded by the beauty of Colorado. My gift to her was not crying. I felt lighter. I didn’t feel pain. She would have approved.