I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunny Mother's Day

Mama and me
I have been sitting in bed reading my morning blogs, all those written since I last looked at my list on Reader. Yesterday I spent my day at the Drop Zone making three wonderful skydives in the sunshine, which were definitely exciting and fun, but I got behind on my computer tasks, and I never like to miss seeing what my friends have to say and pictures they show me. Of course most of the ones this morning have been about mothers and Mother's Day in general. A couple of them are truly inspiring. My friend Dianne wrote about all kinds of mothers on her blog, and it's well worth going over there and taking a look at the delightful pictures she chose.

When that long-ago picture was taken, obviously by Daddy, I was in diapers and Mama's hair was auburn red. She used henna on her hair in those days, and I can still remember the smell of it when she would treat her long beautiful hair with what looked like mud. She would slather it on and wrap the muddy locks around and around before covering it with a hot towel. She didn't forget her eyebrows, either, and I was fascinated by the process that transformed her from my beautiful mother to a scary creature. She let her hair grow so long at one time that when she braided it into one long thick plait it would wrap around her entire head like a crown. All of these memories of my mother are precious to me, especially now that she's nowhere around any more. It occurred to me the other day that my sister Norma Jean and I are the only ones left who share these memories of our mother. My other siblings are much younger. Perhaps PJ remembers some, but she was born when I was seven, not two as I was when Norma Jean was born.

Today I also think of my two sons who are also long gone from the world. It's just me here with my memories to remember why I still celebrate Mother's Day as a mother. Chris would always call me on my birthday and on Mother's Day, no matter where in the world he was. Or he would visit me, when he lived close by. He never had much money, so he didn't send me cards, which I wouldn't have cared much for anyway; I wanted to see him or talk to him instead, and he understood that. Our family has never been much for holidays that advertisers are anxious to take over to make you buy stuff you don't need. A hand-written card is much more meaningful to me than one with sentiments thought up by someone else. I have memories of "found" bouquets of flowers handed to me in a sticky fist, an offering by my son to his mom. I cherish the memory the way I cherished that little bouquet long ago.

Stephen died so long ago that I have only a few memories that stand out in my mind. He only lived for thirteen months, so he never had a chance to hand me bouquets of flowers, but we loved each other immoderately. I remember days when we would play hide and seek for hours at a time, both of us filled with laughter and delighted with each other. Sometimes I would neglect my household chores and find that most of the day was gone before I would remember. We had so much fun together. I have a memory of a little red wagon that I pulled along with both of my sons in it. Chris in the back and his little brother in front, waving at the passersby. That one pulls at my heartstrings even today and I don't want to go any farther down that memory lane, so I won't.

Mothers are busy in the springtime throughout the entire animal kingdom. Norma Jean has some doves that made a nest outside her bedroom window on top of an air-conditioning box. She can't see into the nest but saw the two parents creating it and now there are at least two little ones in there. I think one of the squirrels that visits my front porch is also looking for extra food for babies. It's that time of the year.
Hummingbird mom with two babies
Sometimes my friends will ask me if it bothers me when they talk about their grandchildren, knowing that I don't have any. You know, I suppose it might if I look at it one way, but I am glad that they share them with me, because all children and babies are precious to me. I don't have to sit on a nest to appreciate the sentiment of the mother bird, and I don't have to be related to a child to value him or her.

Yesterday there were children running and playing in the sunlight while their parents watched relatives who had come to the Drop Zone to make a tandem jump. Families come out to share the excitement of their son or daughter who received a skydive as a graduation present, or to celebrate a birthday, or simply to experience the thrill of a lifetime. But the little ones were a joy to me; they didn't have any idea what was happening with the adults, and they played in the sun as I watched and smiled with them. In many ways, I can enjoy the little ones much more because I don't have to be responsible for them.

They are carefully watched so that they stay out of harm's way, with barriers separating non-jumpers from those boarding the plane. In much the same way that I enjoy children, I also share the excitement of first-time skydivers making a tandem. For a few of them, they will fall in love with freefall as I did and will come back for more. But most will not. It will be an experience that will become a memory to cherish, much as I cherish those I have shared with you today.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers and those who have or have had a mother. Pretty much covers it, doesn't it?


Trish said...

Beautiful post, as always, DJan. Love the pic of the mama hummingbird! And happy mother's day to you, too.

Anonymous said...

That is a precious photo of you and your mom! Wonderful. Her hair is so pretty, and you look cute as a blonde. I am glad you have happy memories to offset your sad memories of your children, DJan. I think that applies to all of us, when we look back to when we were younger and bad stuff happened to us. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to you!!!

Dianne said...

Hope would gladly adopt you as another GrandMom, she loves just about everyone
And heaven knows I could use the back-up in this crazy family

I'm so glad you liked my post, you always make me feel appreciated

I love the photo of you and your Mom, two beauties

Hugs today and every day

Rubye Jack said...

This is such a great photo of you and your mom, and it sounds like you have some wonderful memories to cherish. I don't have grandkids either but I still love having kids around. They always make me laugh!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy Mother's Day DJan! I am sending you a big old hug today! What a wonderful photo of you and your Mom..thanks always for sharing:)

June said...

Such richness here!
Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

Teresa Evangeline said...

I don't have grandchildren and that's just fine with me. I do love being around others when I have the opportunity.

Love the photo of you and your mom, and the hummingbird mama, too. Happy Mother's Day, DJan!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Yes, a lovely and thoughtful post for this Mothers Day. I nearly missed out on the whole experience, except the part about HAVING a mother. I really love the photo of you and your mom...both strikingly beautiful. Happy Mothers Day, DJan.

Jackie said...

"Found bouquets...handed to me in a sticky fist"... this sentence elicits memories and smiles in me that I can't begin to explain, but as a Mama, I know you hold as dear as I do.
Thank you for a most beautiful and heart-tugging post on Mother's Day. It blessed me beyond words. I mean that with all my heart.
I send you a special hug and love....

Grandmother said...

Thanks for your beautiful post. And Happy Mother's Day to you.

CrazyCris said...

It's always magical when you share your memories with us DJan! Happy Mother's Day to you, I'm sure your sons are wishing it to you from somewhere...

Nice to hear the sky diving action is back, enjoy!


Red said...

Each mother has her own special memories. You've shared yours today even if they are most difficult to recall.
I hope you had a wonderful day.

Linda Reeder said...

This is another lovely Sunday post. You write so beautifully and poignantly of your memories and emotions. It makes me feel warm all over to read your Sunday morning ponderings. Thank you.

Arkansas Patti said...

Lovely and touchingly honest post.
You do have wonderful memories and that is a treasure.
I am not a mother but I am the cool aunt. Could so identify with your not having to be responsible for the kids at the drop zone. All the fun and none of the pain.

Gigi said...

I've thought of you often today, DJan. Happy Mother's Day, my friend.

Retired English Teacher said...

Your mother was a strikingly beautiful woman. I love the photo you shared.

Mother's Day is fraught with so many emotions for children, f mothers and for those who were never mothers alike. I think that part of the reason is because of the sentimentalism of store bought cards. Also, it is surrounded with guilt and loss for others.

I love your commentaries about the day because they are so honest and real. Your memories of your children and your mother are very poignant, yet you leave your readers with thoughts of acceptance and beautiful memories. I love this about you. You inspire and instruct in so many ways.

Robert the Skeptic said...

The step-daughters sent Mother's Day cards to my wife. She is so pleased.

Glenda Beall said...

Your posts are treasures to read and keep, DJan. This one is touching and brings tears to my eyes. I loved my mother and cared for her after she became ill. I still miss her. There was a time I would not go to church on Mother's Day because I did not have children, although I helped raise a few. The mothers were singled out and praised by the preacher and he read a certain scripture that made me feel like I had no purpose on earth since I didn't have a child. So I quit going to church on Mother's day. I feel far better now about it all, and I'm grateful I had the most wonderful mother in the world.
I can't imagine the pain of losing children but you write so beautifully of your memories.

Mel said...

Your post is beautiful, as is the picture of you and your mother.

As always, your words inspire, encourage and humble me.

I would be thrilled to find a hummingbird nest, but none yet. No new news on the Robin eggs, I'm hoping they hatch soon!

Happy belated Mother's Day to you, I agree, the Hallmark holidays don't do much for me either, but a handmade card or a hug mean more than I can say.


Sandi said...

Such a lovely post, DJan. The photo of you and your mom is so precious! How wonderful to have that.

Thank you for sharing about your sons. I think that is what I enjoy most about blogging, connecting with each other, sharing our lives and our losses.

I love the hummingbird photo! I have caught a couple in my yard, but I haven't found any sort of bird nest anywhere!

I'm with you on preferring homemade to Hallmark! Jessica has prided herself on never buying a card for anyone. She has always made either a card, written a poem, or painted/created something. Each gift is a work of art and are much more valuable than a store bought card!

Fun60 said...

You write so beautifully DJan and reflectively. I am one of the fortunate ones, able to cherish my son and daughter who come and see me often. I'm not sure what joy I would find around me if they were no longer part of it. Thinking of you this week.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, . . . yes, your happiness wish for all of us does pretty much cover everyone. My mom died in 1968, when she was fifty-eight. I still tell her my joys and woes, knowing that she still delights in me.

Thank you, DJan, for your thoughtful description of how you feel about the children of others. You've put into words exactly what I feel. Children and the love of and for children keep us young at heart.


ruma said...

Hello, DJan.

 Your heartwarming works fascinates my heart.

 Thank you for your kindness.
 And i pray for you and yours peace.

Have a good new-week. From Japan, ruma ❃