Another Long Weekend

Summer is kicking off wet, wild and dangerous in Texas this year.  Weeks of heavy rain have saturated the ground and filled every low spot.  Things are running over now.  There are deaths being reported and dozens of raging water videos and photos circulating the web.

Regardless of the weather threat, we were blessed to have my niece and her lovely family with us for two nights.  We enjoy their visits for many reasons.  He gets to visit with our dynamic and comical nephew-in-law.  I get to visit with my “first child”.  I was sixteen and still at home when my brother had his daughter.  I spent many days tending her the first few years of her life.

Her four year old is a charming pistol.  She is so smart! She tries to work every situation to her advantage.  Often with success.  She and I are always measuring each other up for the next challenge.  I love her and see in her so much potential to contribute to the world at large with her sharp wit and bright mind.

Baby sister is a lovely doll!  She displays a stubborn temper occasionally.  But, that does not detract from the spell she has bound over him.  He melts when she is with him.  The two of them seem to have that special chemistry with each other.  Even though he only sees her every few months, she takes to him each time.

We ate and visited and ate and visited.  We napped some, too.  After they left, I wanted to cry over this empty house.

This morning, he and I had a leisurely start.  Finally, he mentioned something about a fishing trip before the rain returns.  I loaded up as fast as I could.

We had a great adventure!  We saw several alligators, including a small one that chased his top water lure over and over.  He was careful to not let it latch hold.  I got one good strike.  We didn’t land anything.  We also saw several extra-large turtles and one extra tiny one.

Oddly, no one was at the sand bar.  There were very few boaters out at all.  I guess the flood reports and rain threats kept everyone home.  We road down to where the forks of the rivers meet.  The Angelina runs into the Neches.  The boiling Neches did make me a bit nervous.  He asked if I was afraid.  I nodded yes.  He laughed reminding me we were in a boat!  We only barely passed over into the current before turning back to the less turbulent Angelina.

There is a slough that runs into the Angelina from the area between the two rivers.  The Neches is overflowing into the slough and running flood water into the Angelina above the forks.  We road into the slough just to see it.

Thing is, the water is supposed to be still rising.  The floods north of here will run through in the coming days.  Already there are trees toppled into the river and debris piled up in new places.  When the water returns to normal levels, things will be different.  One positive of the high water is evidence of sand bars developing.  They have been non-existent for a while. The Angelina will form long vanilla cream bars of semi-course sand.  Luxurious to lie on and watch the boats go by or the children splash about the shallow edges.

Half my life ago memories were made I still take out and admire from time to time.  Memories of young men and young women and young children playing, laughing, loving life.  We were young and strong and fearless.

Things did not go as I imagined them to go.  Things changed for our family and our friends.

One thing I have come to understand.  Those golden times of our lives are transient.  I look back and see periods of time when everything is remembered as wonderful, though we certainly had problems just as today.

My best example is of my mother.  I imagine she had about 10 years of her 59 short ones where life was as is should be.  She had married my father and he had not yet succumbed to his illness.  But, just like my husband, you would not know the hidden parts of her struggle.

She continued to live, live, live! She did not let illness, hers or his, get in the way of what she wanted her life to be like.  She was never bitter or ill humored.  Yes. Privately I held her when she broke down.  One time it was too much for me.  I didn’t know what to do. It was a time when she really faced that she was close to leaving us.  That is all she cared about.  She hated to leave us alone without her.  She knew the pain and struggle we would have to face without her support and courage.  She knew the joys and triumphs we would achieve without her participation and celebration.

Several times this weekend, I could feel her here with me.  How she would love her now grown grandchildren bringing their loves to see her!  But, I cooked a pot of pinto beans and they were pleased.  As I sit here this evening, I know she is pleased as well.

Summer has again returned.  I have closed the windows on the porch to allow the air conditioning to flow in and cool things.  I do sometimes wish he would let me feed coons again.  Over the fence, away from the dog.

But, he is stronger than even she was and I will not change his mind about that issue.  I do not even try.  He takes me to see the alligators and the flooding water and does not let me allow fear to best me.

Confidence.  They both push me to be confident.  It was one trait my mother insisted I develop and he picked up beside her and continues to this day.  Pushing me to be confident.  My daughter has taken up the task to assist him in her stead.

Golden times are often transient.  But, if I will allow it, the golden times will continue to transition.  One era fades and the next emerges.  I must not wallow in pity or stagnate in the past.  Embrace today.  Embrace the flood of orchids pouring into my life.  Let them surround me with lovely fragrance and move on into the realm of memory.  The next lovely flow of petals will arrive soon enough.  Take in the loveliness of the present bouquets and on brief occasion ponder the past bouquets with gratitude.  Be ever ready to receive the gift of raining orchids.

Sometimes orchids have bumpy hides and live in murky waters.  A wondrous creature to behold……this one is kind of cute, too.

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Unexpected

He took me to the river to fish Saturday.  I did not expect the opportunity to go.  I caught a fish and got some sun on my legs.  It was hot already.

We saw the big alligator where we have seen him before.  We saw another one just as big where we had not seen one before.  Unexpected surprise!  Two giants in the same slough.

He turned the boat upriver and surprised me with a run all the way to the dam.  There were stretches of river with whitecaps.  Very unusual.  The river is still high from the recent heavy rains.  Several large trees have collapsed into the river channel.

I received news of changes coming for my son and his wife.  They will be moving from Maui to Oahu in June.   This was not anticipated.  But, it will be just fine.  They will be just fine.

My niece and her family are coming to spend a couple of nights with us over the upcoming holiday weekend.  An unexpected treat!  Naturally, he and I are already busy ensuring the house is in order to provide a pleasant and safe environment for the little ones.

While preparing the guest room that also serves as my dressing room, I found an unexpected bonus.  Apparently, when I pulled my summer clothes from under the bed, I missed a bag!  A big bag of clothes I didn’t know I had!  One of my favorite summer tops was in it.  I had forgotten about it.

I wonder what else I have forgotten.  So many things happen through the course of the days and weeks and years.  People I have known.  Places I have been.  Things I have done, seen, said, heard.

My mind does not process things in a way to recall some things.  I remember odd things most people don’t seem to notice, but can’t recall things that happened last week.  There are important events I know I don’t remember.  I have always been this way.  I spend so much time lost in my own thoughts and processing my own ideas and imaginings, I don’t do the thinking processes needed to remember some things.

While it does cause some distress when someone is talking about something I should recall, it provides me with unexpected memories.  Usually with some prompting, I will remember at least part of some occurrence.

Oh, well.  I am sure other folks have some issue or other in their thought processes to manage.  Some deal with fear or anxiety.  Some deal with pessimism or anger.  Some deal with a sense of inferiority.  I don’t fret over my mental lapses.  Mine sometimes provides me with unexpected delight.  Like a bag of clothes.  Gators, on the other hand, I am not likely to forget.

Yes.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  I read many posts on Facebook.  Honoring mothers living and remembering those passed.

My own is gone.  His is gone as well.  Yes.  There are many moments I wonder how different my life would be had they still been here.  I miss them.  I love them.  I long to see them.

But, I direct my focus to my children.  To being a mother.  Both of them are amazing people.  They live incredible lives and create positive relationships with the people around them.  I am proud of them and love them more than I can sometimes contain.  So much love fills me it pours from my eyes in liquid form.

I always pushed them to never be afraid.  To be cautious and careful and sensible, but never afraid.  They are living out their dreams.  No.  Life is not perfect for any of us, but they take hold and run with the opportunities presented.

I am so very grateful for my parenting partner.  He is still my hero.  When we met, I was confused and afraid.  He fought his way through the barriers I had created around me and took hold of my heart.  I still keep barriers up around myself.  I still think I have hidden things.  But, on occasion, he makes a comment or something and I realize, he sees through the mask I wear.

He knows the hidden things.  The struggles, the disappointments, the pain.  He does not let me dwell on the negative things.  When I am “off-stage”, I tend to be depressed and discouraged.  He knows this and watches carefully to take action if I drift too close to the edge.  How many times has he pulled me back from despair that overwhelms me?

He has been father and mother to me these many years.  Poor fella!  Yes, I miss my mother.  Yes, I miss his mother.  Yes, I adore our children more than I can express.  Yes, I am grateful to Him for giving me him to be my strength, my courage, my champion, my guardian.

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Laugh

This was a great Monday.  Work was great.  The weekend past was great.  Everything is great!

Makes me nervous.  I keep my foot on the track to feel if a train is coming.   I have lived for so long dealing with serious issues, I know no other way.

And anyway, a train is coming.  A loved one has a devastating health diagnosis.  We will have to pull together and help her and each other through the coming days.  But, we, as a family, have one very critical strength.  Humor.  We have a sense of humor and laugh at the silliness of situations that arise from the very horrible things we face.

My mother’s visitation before her funeral sounded like a loud party.  We laughed and talked as if she was sitting with us.  She taught us to do that, as did her Mother.  Laugh.  Make a joke about something.  Crying and wailing get you only a headache and puffy eyes.

Yes.  Each of us cries privately and in small groups.  But, you won’t find us all together moping and weeping.  I remember us laughing at how pleased Mother would have been to know the size 12 dress fit that we bought to bury her in after she passed.  My aunt and cousin shared how they got too tickled and laughing when my aunt couldn’t get my very ill cousin off the floor after she fell in the middle of the night.  I can just see them wallowing like drunks and laughing trying to get her on her feet and back in her bed at the hospital.  Humor.  Why cry when you can laugh?

Laugh in the face of danger.  Laugh at the silly little things.  Laugh to keep the heart from bursting with pain.  Laughter.  His medicine.  He promised a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.  May we be blessed with laughter all the days to come.

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 P.S.  He poked his head out the door while I was sitting on the porch.  You are supposed to be orchiding, not watching videos…….acting like the boss of me….who does he think he is!  He is the boss of me.  Thank goodness.  I need someone to take hold of my wild self and keep me in line.  He needs me to make him laugh at all the silly little things that come out of my mouth.  I am very good at making him laugh and shake his head many times just by laughing at myself.  Good medicine for each other.