Thursday, March 27, 2008

Play Ball

Our house in town came equipped with wonderful nextdoor neighbors. Their son and mine were inseparable. They could always be found underneath the big ash tree in the front yard playing with their Hot Wheels. I'm sure there are probably a few still buried under that tree, rusting away.

One warm spring afternoon, when Jared was about five, he ran into the house with red cheeks and damp hair and that sweaty little boy smell. I was standing at the sink washing dishes, and he planted himself purposefully on the other side of the kitchen island, facing me. I was expecting the usual breathless, "Mom, can me and Ryan (...ride bikes...play in the hose...fill our canteens...etc.)" But instead he stood there for a second collecting his thoughts, and then with great import he starts, "Mom, did you know that Ryan was named after Nolan Ryan?"

"Yes, sweetie, I think I did know that."

"Why wasn't I named after anybody?"

"You were."

A fabulous look of delight and disbelief washes over him. Not understanding why such vital information had been withheld from him, he eagerly demands, "Who!?"

"Grandma," I say. "Your middle name is Ashton after Grandma."

With that, everything about him wilted. "Oh," he murmurs, "I didn't mean like Grandma. I meant like Jose Canseco." And he turned and walked away, his shoulders slumped under the weight of disappointment.

It was a defining moment for us both. My banner of motherhood was snapping in the winds of experience, and the first tiny thread was worn loose and began, ever so slightly, to unravel. Up until that moment my baby had believed me to be all-knowing and all-powerful, but in a bright flash he saw that I was flawed. I was not all-knowing or I would have known that, where little boys are concerned, baseball stars trump grandmas in naming rights. And if I was not all-knowing, neither was I all-powerful. The paradigm had shifted.

Granted, with maturity and exposure to JC's bad press, he has forgiven me for not naming him Jose, but I never quite won back the unblemished adoration I had before that warm spring day so many years ago. And so it goes.

Here's to a great MLB season, to all thebaseball fans!

Monday, March 17, 2008

March 17th

I saw the first wildflowers of the season on my drive home today. A few Indian Paintbrushes and a few Evening Primroses. Now it won't be long until all the varieties will be at their most abundant. It's always a surprise as to whether we will have a truly glorious spread of breathtaking colors or a sparse year, but even the sparse years are a beauty to behold. How blessed are we to live in Texas and share in the stewardship legacy of Lady Bird Johnson.

When I was in the seventh grade one of our science projects was to collect, press, and accurately identify as many species of wildflowers as we could. My parents really got into that assignment, and drove me far and wide in search of one more sample. I made a really good grade (possibly the last really good grade I ever got in a science class).

The last spring of my mother's life had an exceptionally brilliant show. I drove the 150 miles to her house to pick her up and bring her to our house so she could see how gorgeous the roadsides and pastures were. It was a trip filled with exclamations over and over of, "Oh, look!" and "Have you ever seen them this pretty!" It was a really good day.

And those are really good memories to call up on this St. Patrick's Day.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity-jog

As wonderful as the journey may be, it's nice to be home. My own kitchen, my own bed, my own pillow, my own family! Finding places to put the souveniers. Finding ways to implement the new ideas. Touching base with friends--catching up on what's been going on in my absence.

And with a rested spirit, it's nice to let the mind loose to run and explore new possibilities. That's my plan for the coming week--exploration and research.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Having a wonderful time...wish you were here.

I've been on vacation for the past week. A truly, lovely vacation. I've turned over my agenda to someone else, and I'm just along for the ride. I've seen new places, met new people, seen old friends, spent hours in the car talking and talking and talking, got snowed in, and read more books in the past week than I've read in the past month(s).

There's been only the faintest outline of an itinerary to stick to, and it changed often. It's very relaxing to just float along on a wind current.

I'm due home tomorrow. My theoretical tank is refilled. I'm ready to get back to home and hearth and loved ones.
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