Monday, September 24, 2012

Loves Me Like a Rock

Several years ago, when customized cell phone ring tones first became available, one of my sons was setting up his phone with different ring tones for each family member.  He asked me what song I thought he should use for my ring tone and I flippantly replied, “The Bitch is Back.”  My son, my grown son, paused, looked at me strangely and said, “I was thinking more along the lines of Loves Me Like a Rock.”  Whoa!  That took my breath away.  What a lovely idea for a mom to hear.

This past weekend, as I drove the last leg home on our middle-of-the-night return from the Ducks’ football game and after dropping off three of our grown kids who’d accompanied me to the game, I turned up the radio to help keep me alert and what should come on but Paul Simon’s Loves Me Like a Rock.  I sang along and really thought about the words.  I’m sort of known for not really paying much attention to lyrics; I’m more of a “it’s got a good beat and it’s easy to dance to,” sort of girl, but Saturday night (Sunday morning, really) I truly listened and I thought about the day I’d just spent enjoying the company of four of our seven kids.  They’re different, they’re alike – they’re independent, they’re something less than independent – they’re athletes, computer nerds, game geeks, academics, but they’re all fascinating, fun, wonderful people to be with.  As I listened to Paul Simon, I was reminded of the surprising intensity of parental love I felt when our first child was born and that I felt again as each successive child joined our family.  That love doesn’t wane with the number of children or the passing of years.  As the number of kids left at home shrinks and we approach the time when we will be empty-nesters, I know that the parental love that has been such a part of our lives will not decline.  What was once love for a small, helpless child has become love for a strong, creative individual, but it’s still that intense parental love.  Yes, their mama loves them, she loves them, she stands on her tiptoes and hugs them, yes she loves them like a rock.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This Day -- The Gift in Action

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog titled, This Day, about my realization that what I am most thankful for is just being alive to enjoy the current day.  Last week, my husband and I went for a run on a local lakeside trail.  As we approached the trailhead, an elderly man hobbled toward us, using trekking poles to balance his slow, labored steps.  As we approached, I looked at his face and said, “Good morning!”  His skin was loose and wrinkled, his eyes sunken, but at the sound of my voice, he looked up and responded, “Well, good day to you!”  As we advanced along the trail, I began to wonder if our trail was the destination for one of the local senior centers’ field trips – the trail was heavily populated by people who would be offered the senior discount without having to be asked if they qualified.  And each and every one of them approached us with eyes twinkling, faces smiling as they heartily wished us, “Good morning!” or, “Lovely day today!”  My favorite was the gentleman who actually thrust out his hand, pointing his finger at us and enthusiastically cheered, “Now you have a good day today!”

I’m used to passing runners and walkers on trails and, while most respond to my “Good morning,” with a nod, a smile or their own quiet, “Good morning,” this group of seniors was different.  Their “Good mornings” weren’t just a rote response to my wish.  They seemed to be having a genuinely good morning and their comments came across as heartfelt wishes that I, too, would enjoy the kind of good morning they were experiencing.  It occurred to me that being out on the trail, whether walking at a brisk clip or hobbling along with trekking poles, these people seemed to relish the fact that the sun was shining, they were outside, they were being physically active and they had been given the gift of this day.

I guess if we’re here, we’ve all been given the gift – the question is, do we recognize what we’ve been given?