Saturday night, here in the park, seems like it is the Fourth of July. But it’s not, of course, it’s December 29th, on a warm and muggy day all right just like the song was in Chicago or New York. We’re waiting a little while to take our evening walk, at least after the needle drops below 80 degrees. And of course, we are here in Florida. We’ve had a cooler and wetter December this year and I’ve heard lots of grumbles about that, so now it is time for the smiles to reappear.
When we went last night there were bicycles darting around us, and of course the golf carts were in full force. We are one of the few people who don’t have one, and every once in a while I think about how much fun it would be to ride about the park. Then Bob reminds me that if we did get one it would become so easy to overlook our daily walks. And we both need to walk and we know that. So we don’t get one but still the thoughts seem to persist. Many people take their dogs for a ride every night also and they often stop to show them off. I have this feeling that they think we are just old fogies, and they are probably right.
It’s cooled down a bit while I’ve been writing so I guess it is time to walk. It’s dark now and there are many distinctive Christmas lights on our streets for us to enjoy. I wish you were all in a nice warm place walking too, but relax, your time will come eventually. In the meantime, enjoy your wintertime and we will see you soon.
Sometimes we get a suggestion from our writing class that sends sparks flying into our fingers and bringing forth new ideas that just seem to fit perfectly. That is what happened to me this morning.
How about when our roles as a parent just seem to become reversed with our adult children? It seems to be ingrained into our very being that we ourselves are the one who gives advice, who knows just what needs to be done, and after all, we have been practicing on our kids for many years. We hope that we have taught them the difference between right and wrong, the need to be fair in their dealings, yet show empathy for people in need, and we feel that we have generally tried our best. But we are not always around them in their daily lives, and so we really just hope for the best as they go forward. “Train a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it.”
But we don’t always know for sure. It takes a special situation to come up in order for us to stop, listen, and realize that our fears have been for nothing, that the children have exceeded our hopes, and now it is our turn to listen and watch as they begin to play the new roles with their children and their working lives. While I once played the role of the parent trying to take care of them, now it has been reversed, and they are showing me that we have been successful and they have learned that it is their turn to show affection and caring to others.
There is nothing that could please a parent more than to know that it is their turn to be the object of someone’s affection. To hear your adult child as he or she accepts the mantle of adulthood for themselves and for others is to know that you have done your job to the best you knew how at the time. When the child now wants to know how you are, instead of the other way around, you know that the rules have changed. You have relinquished the reins of parenthood to your family, in a small way, and they are willing and happy to take them up for you.
So relax, enjoy it. You have earned it over the many years when you had those sleepless nights when they came home way too late, or forgot to call instead. You have the living proof of grown adults, loving you and concerned for your wellbeing, but also busy making life happy for their own families. After all, that is what you wanted to accomplish and you have actually done it.
Apples and People. Or is it People and Apples? Is it true that both of them have a lot in common with each other? I’ve been thinking about that this week and here is what I have come up with.
We all know that there are a lot of different kinds of apples, hundreds of varieties to be exact. When we were growing fruit on our farm we had 25 different kinds, and Bob could sprout off every one of them when someone asked him. There were green, red, yellow ones, some were a mixture, and then there were sweet ones, sour ones, pie apples, applesauce ones. At some time they even became cider ones when they became very ripe. But they all were an apple, they all had seeds and they all had a core upon which they grew. In their lifetime they gave a lot of pleasure to anyone lucky enough to be given one.
Now you take people. There certainly are a lot of different kinds of people, aren’t they? As many different colors as anyone can imagine, and they have as many different uses as we can even count. Each one of us can give great pleasure to all who are a part of our life. But we too are all a person, we all have the seeds of life, and we all have a core, the core or the spirit of life.
As a child we sang, “Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight.” Surely we can remember that all living things whether it is apples or it is people, we all have a core, a spirit, and we can recognize each others sameness together.
Rising this morning I was saddened but not surprised to hear that President George HW Bush had left this earth, leaving behind a vast history of service to his country and to his family for many years. Pouring my coffee, I curled into my chair and watched the television coverage of his life and his many accomplishments. The many news clips seemed to be a reflection of my own experiences in life and I became engrossed in the old films. They brought back many memories of my own during a very tumultuous time in the history of our country. I had been living in the mountains of Colorado when he was the vice president of the United States.
But that was a long time ago and I don’t normally look back for very long, because I do believe that all we have is right now. I was about to change the channel when I saw a film clip of the President made after he had just successfully jumped from an airplane at the advanced age of 85. He was smiling at the joy of it, and encouraging anyone watching him to get out of their chair and do whatever would make them happy. Later on at the age of 90 years he did it again.
Suddenly it struck me that he was only one year older than I when he made this statement. Anyone of my age usually realizes that we are getting older but we put a polite face on it when we are thinking of ourselves. At that very moment of my own age I had my own special realization that I too was at that advanced age. And if there is something that makes me happy that I haven’t done yet, it is time to get started.
And yet, I can not think of anything that I really yearned to do but missed out on, that is that important to me right now. I wish it were as easy to travel now as it once was, but there are so many memories. The pictures on the screensaver bring back all of the fun times, the exploring times, and I hope that they are never taken away from me. Pictures of all of our family are everywhere, news of their exploits fill my Ipad daily, and I wake up each morning looking forward to a new experience but still enjoying the ones I remember from the past.
So as you see the pictures on television this week, I hope you will take to your heart the words that President Bush had for us all. “Forget your age, do what makes you happy, and you will be filled with joy.”