Every once in awhile for no apparent reason, my mind will drift back to a day years ago when I spent the summer at my grandparents house in the country. It was early afternoon and we had had a busy morning of gardening, hauling wood to a neighbor and such Grandma and I were relaxing after lunch on the front porch swing. I loved that swing! It caught just the right amount of breeze and sunshine any time of day you used it. Anyway, this particular afternoon grandma and I were just sitting and swinging and talking about nothing in particular. Grandma said, “If you listen real good in the afternoon, you can hear the bobowhites in that pasture over there.” She started making a bobwhite sound that to my younge ears was quite remarkable. And to her amazement and my delight, a bobwhite answered back!
It suprises me that this moment in tme with my grandma comes back to me. I was usually a little afraid of her. I was always getting shushed or scolded for some childhood foible I possessed. But any time mom told us we were going to see Grandma and Grandpa for the weekend, we had hope eternal spring into our younge hearts. We knew that for two whole days we would get to see aunts, uncles and childhood friends of my mother visit, drink coffee and fill grandma’s house with pleasant sounds. And Grandpa always had watermelons for us to sample before we left.
My parents finally divorced after abount five years of emotional tug-of-war. My dad went off to live with his new wife and her kids with little desire or time to give us his attention or financial support. This left my mom to pick up the pieces of our broken lives. No more was she the typical housewife and mom with lots of time to sew, cook and pamper us. She now became ouir bread winner and household fix-it person as well. Under her tutelage we learned to help with the domestic chores around the house. We also learned to “farm” our large back half of the yard and produce the food that would feed us all year. We spent summers pulling weeds and picking vegetables, raking grass into bags and hauling water and hay for our horses.
Mom made sure to spinkle in some fun as we went along. She would take us to a nearby creek for an early morning coo out and time to skip rocks. We would pick wild blackberries that she would turn into the most mouthwatering jellyl. We shared her victorys when she came home with news of a new privelage at her job or when a financial burden had finally been lifted through her persistant efforts. We had to watch her push herself and us to do more and do better.
At the time I felt like I had it pretty rotten. I didn’t have all the fancy store bought clothes that girls in my class wore. I carried my lunch, walked to school and I didn’t get dropped off at the mall with my freinds to watch a movie and get treats afterwards till one of the parents picked us up.
As I look back on things now, after I have raised my own brood and have the giddy delight of spoiling a grandchild, I can see that the person I am today is largely because of the women in my past. I see it as a beautifull string of pearls.
I probably don’t know half the things my grandmother went through as a girl or as a married woman raising children. I only remember hearing her complain that grandpa drank too much. She was always cooking or cleaning or taking care of someone. My mother’s mantra was “Mama why don’t you sit down for awhile? Let me do that for you,” Of course she never sat down or let anyone help her.
I am painfully aware of the anger, frustration and sadness that my own mother went through raising us. But we had sunts and uncles and good friends around and I saw ways of making myu own joys.
They say a pearl is the result of tears covering something painfull. Really, a pearl comes to be because of a little grain of sand that lodges in an oyster and causes iritaion The oyster can’t get rid of the iritant but builds layer upon layer of beautiful hard cases around it untill what we call a natural gemstone appears. I think of all the people in my past who have gone through so much more than I ever thought I could bear up under, and they have become the most beautifull and amazing string of pearls for me to admire. THIS I BELIVE- Whether we want to or not we have an effect on everyone we are around whether it is in a positive way ore not. Especially for my loved ones and my little “pearls in the making” who are watching, I want to take care to take my tears and cover that thing causing pain with a beautifull smooth surface. I can’t and shouldn’t hide the pain and dissappointments but I can show them how they can turn that piece of sand into a positive thing of beauty. I want to become a part of that enduring string of pearl.
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