Remember the old movie, “Parenthood?”
A recurrent theme in that story of growing up
was the comparison of life to a roller coaster –
and our need to follow the ups and downs,
the ins and outs,
to tolerate occasional queasiness and to
look for joy and beauty along the way.
I’m feeling those dips and swoops a lot lately,
often more than a little bit queasy from it all.
And I’m trying hard to look for the joy,
the small beauties that show up, if I have the eyes to see.
On my evening walk last Friday,
I almost missed this glory.
The fading sunlight was hitting our neighbor’s blossoming tree at
exactly the right angle to make us gasp with delight.
Such a lovely, serendipitous moment of beauty as the weekend began.
And these three sentinels glistened against the sky as I made my rounds,
The next morning, I drove south to meet these three sentinels –
my mom on the left (91), her ‘baby’ sister in the middle (on her 89th birthday),
their brother on the right (90).
These three have been the heart of our family for over a decade now,
the last remaining members of the older generation.
Their mother died in 1997 at age 101, her sister eight years later at 102.
I doubt very much that these three will live that long;
all are showing signs of wear and tear, the ravages of age.
I lunched with my cousins while our parents shouted at one another
in a private dining room at my uncle’s assisted living residence.
They’re wearing ‘hearing aids’ constructed out of water bottles
and offered as a fun gift by my cousin’s kids.
It is hard to watch this process — my mom is the only one with dementia,
but the other two are dealing with much more serious physical issues than Mom is,
so who knows how long they’ll be with us?
When I got back home, 4/5ths of our middle daughter’s family
was here, ready to relax and enjoy the holiday weekend.
It’s been a while since we’ve spent extended time with these dear ones,
and we were so grateful for their presence,
for their happy and sometimes boisterous reminder of youth
and life and promise
as we deal with our aging moms.
It was a gorgeous day, mid 60′s and sunny.
The trail meanders through eucalyptus groves and out onto
the bluffs just north of the UCSB campus — gloriously beautiful.
What butterflies there were flitted all through the grove,
enjoying the sunlight.
They are such stunning creatures, these monarchs.
Brilliant orange and black,
making the long migration between Mexico and Canada every single year,
stopping all along the California coast to rest and re-group.
We followed the trail all the way out to the bluffs,
stripping jackets as we walked and gawking at the endless view
of water, sand, islands.
We are blessed in our children and in our grandchildren,
and they are blessed in each other.
Even though we’ve ridden some pretty steep and scary curves together,
I’d say the ride has definitely been worth it.
It’s good to be reminded of that sweet and powerful truth
when the queasiness sets in, don’t you think?
Once Lyla helps me straighten out some formatting grinches, I’ll join this with Michelle, Jen, Laura and Ann: