A few years ago, I painted the ice box and upright deep freezer fronts with chalkboard paint. I had written some words and phrases on the ice box with chalk markers and later when I washed them off, they left traces of the lines. My older duchess was here recently and wanted to draw with the chalk. I gave her the little container of chalk and went on with the dish washing. I looked around a few minutes later and she had drawn a cloud and a rainbow. Then she had traced over the letters she could still see faintly showing. “Love with reckless abandon” and the heart outline I had washed off for them to be able to use it for their play had been retraced.
She wanted to know what it said. (She’s four.) I told her and then she wanted to know what it meant.
I tried to explain.
Later, I thought about loving with reckless abandon. To me, it is how it felt when I was her age and even until I was about ten. When I loved, it was without reservation. It was without condition or hesitation or fear of rejection or concern about reciprocation. Love just was and everyone felt it as intensely as I did. Or so I thought. I am speaking of more than romantic love. I am also speaking of love between two individuals as friends or family members. I was in my twenties before I truly realized that the experience of love I have is not universal. I was so terribly naïve. I thought love could work itself through anything. It cannot work one way, though.
As we age, cynicism tends to set in. Or simply protective layers develop without our realizing. Many people never learn how to love. Some only love themselves. Many people never feel the exuberance of real, deep, true love. As I age, I think “many” should probably read “most”. Perhaps early on they had it, but life was too painful to continue to try to sustain the seeking of reciprocation. The heart and mind push away the painful memory and they forget it exists.
Maybe that is why grandchildren are so important to our hearts. When we are young and our children are young, there is a feeling of safety with the love between us. The knowing that at the end of the day, the snuggles and hugs are without reservation. The love in our hearts has a reckless abandon that only confidence of unconditional reciprocation brings. That same feeling returned with the duchesses’ arrival into the world.
Love, passion, anger. Strong emotions we are taught to control and suppress. They are reckless. They are dangerous. They bring with them pain. Pain is proof of being alive. I continue to strive for the fullness of exuberance and love. May I have the courage to face the pain of it all and love with reckless abandon. As I age, I want the scales of protection to fall away. I want the tender places to be open again. With maturity, I hope to manage the pain with grace and mercy and not with closing off.
I want to love Him and him with reckless abandon and exuberance and passion. I want to grow into the person the Lord wants me to be. I want to grow into the woman my husband needs me to be. I want to grow into the mother and grandmother my children need as the years continue. We still have a lot of living to do and I want it to be as wonderful as the first 37 years. Even better. Happy Anniversary, Rock. I love you! Recklessly.
Last week one of my duchesses came to spend some time with me. We went to Vacation Bible School a couple of nights. She is too young for the groups we had classes for, but we hung out and wandered around visiting with folks. She was interested in arts and crafts and ice cream! Our menfolk made homemade ice cream the last evening of VBS. I was so engrossed in her I didn’t even taste any of it for myself. She didn’t like the large group portions because it was so loud. I think she still had fun.
I have a small blow-up pool for the backyard. Both duchesses love to play in the water. However, the red wasps have been buzzing across the grass and Duchess One was distressed by them because she had gotten stung a while back. Serious pain even for an old girl like me; no doubt it was bad for her, even as tough as she is.
There is a small zoo about an hour away. She and I went to visit the animals and ride the train. We road the train first and then went to see the animals. Her favorite animal is the giraffe. My favorite are the flamingos and I love jaguars, too. The jaguar came right up to the fence about five feet away and was pacing back and forth. We were fortunate to be present during courting season for the pea fowl. The peacocks roam freely through the grounds of the zoo. We saw several males in full tail display, including a white one. She was most impressed with it. We road the train again when we left the zoo.
Here at Granny’s, there aren’t many rules. Don’t do unsafe things, don’t act ugly, don’t tear stuff up just to be doing it. Otherwise, let’s have fun. Projects are fun! Paper, crayons, scissors, glue and GLITTER!! We have glitter all over the place. And I love it! She went home Friday and I haven’t vacuumed the carpet on the porch yet. I love glitter, too. There is glitter all over the floor from one end of the house to the other. I told my son (her Daddy) that when I tell him I poop glitter, he’d better believe it! I found some glitter on my food, too! Paw Paw pointed out there is glitter all over the carport and driveway from the last couple of times we played in the treasure bed, too.
Hot lava is a thing. I had some little sticky notes I scattered across the tiles from the porch, to the kitchen, down the hall and into the living room. Those stayed several days for entertainment. It will certainly be a repeat.
My other Duchess is in Colorado with her mother and some friends. She is having a ball! I got a call yesterday from her. She wanted to tell me she was eating Cheetos. Just wanted Granny to know. She won’t be home till next month. I had her come stay a few days before she left. I will need to keep her a few days when she gets back. Fill up on loving from her, too. It will be zoo time again.
Granny hasn’t been to the beach in too long a time. I like riding the ferry and going to Murdock’s. My daughter and I used to go for my birthday in July. This time all three of us can go. Daughter, Duchess Two and me.
Two Duchesses. Or Princesses as Paw Paw calls them. They certainly make life sweeter. I remember how I felt about both of my Grannies. I hope they love me at least half as much as I loved mine. Even now, the love those two women showed me sustain me when I struggle with life. I pray I will make such a difference for my girls. That now and when I am gone, the love I have for them makes a difference for them.