Friday, August 26, 2011

Song #18: My Mockingbird Marauder

My mockingbird marauder was missing, out today.
I noticed all was silent as I shooed the gnats away
And went to work with watering and pulling out of weeds
And noticed that the basil was going all to seed.
He does his garden picking well before I leave my bed,
Then he perches 'top the trellis and cocks his gray-white head.
He warbles forth his birdsong, and it lilts across my way--
So usual that its absence casts a pall upon my day.
The okra and the peppers tumbled down into my pot.
The sound of scissors snipping cut the silence. I was hot,
And beads of sweat were dripping as I listened for his song,
Then wondered quite abruptly where he was and what was wrong.
I noticed he had left me five bright cherries on the vine.
I wasn't used to finding them; he takes them all the time.
Gleefully I picked the little handful for my meal,
Then stopped and looked around me wond'ring why he didn't steal 
Tomatoes on this morning--why he left the small bright fruit.
Why was my garden empty? Why was the air so mute? 
I wondered where he'd gone, and I missed the little thief.
My picking time was joyless, and I sought the shade's relief.
I thought of those bright eyes and the tilting of his head,
The way he hops from twig to branch around my garden bed,
And decided that tomatoes didn't mean as much to me
As the sound of someone singing and the joy of company.

"I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD."  Psalm 104:33-34

Sunday, August 21, 2011

#17 Song for a Season of Change

     I am having a difficult time accepting the fact that my youngest child is entering her senior year and getting ready to leave home and go off to college next year. I am not ready, and there are so many things we haven't done yet-- so many things I haven't taught her. Yet, I still take her on college visits, discuss degree plans, and look at dorm rooms with her. I try to envision myself with an empty nest and don't like it. However, if I truly didn't want her to go to college, would I be doing all these things to help her get there? Wouldn't I be more likely to puff up like a toad, shut myself in my room, and take her car keys away?
     Yet, I am helping her to leave, to grow up, to be able to fly on her own--just as I have for all my children these last thirty-five years. How do I both dislike what is happening and facilitate her going? What a mixed up bag of emotions I have!
     I became a mother in 1976 and love being a mom. I also enjoy taking pictures of my kids. Now that I have limited vision (tunnel vision, you might call it), I take even more photos because that is how I can see a whole person at once--by miniaturizing him. Otherwise, when I look at someone, I will see just his face but not his arms, or just her skirt but not her blouse. In fact, I get lots of eye rolls from my kids when it's time to take pictures. 
     My first "first day of school" photo I took was when Josh was five years old and starting kindergarten at Westcreek Elementary School in Ft. Worth, Texas. I cried, of course, just as I have every year on the first day of school. I went through the same emotions with each successive child: first Josh, then Tommy, Jenny, and Kate.
     Wednesday morning was my last "first day of school" photo, and this time, as I watched my little girl/nearly woman walk across the grounds of her school, I was weeping again. I guess I had better keep the tissue box handy, because every last play, last prom, and last homecoming will probably evoke the same response.
   Thirty-five years is a long time to be actively mothering children at home. But many other women have done it longer and better. Some even rear their grandchildren. I have great admiration for those women who have reared several children to love the Lord, be good citizens, treasure their country, and honor their parents. Those women are to be highly praised and will have many stars in their crowns in Heaven. But I won't know for some time whether I have been successful at accomplishing what God has charged me to do. Perhaps I won't even know until I am in Heaven. But, I know I can trust the One Who gave me those children. 

"Yet I am not ashamed, because I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day." II Timothy 1:12

     I already have one child in Heaven, and, in many ways I have felt over the years that my negligence or self-absorption contributed to his early going-home. But, I have committed all of my children to God, and He is both responsible and trustworthy. His ways are Higher than my ways, and His thoughts higher than mine. Because I know the One in Whom I believe, I know that He can take care of those that I have committed to Him. When Kate goes off to college, I cannot know how she is doing day to day, and I hardly know what I will do with myself. But, God will know. And, I won't cease being a mother. I just won't be on active duty all the time.
     Even with my faith in God, I can't say that I am ready for the change. Instead, it's like I have hold of the end of a rope, and I am pulling against it with all my might. But, even with my full weight on the line, I am being dragged forward, inch by inch, day by day, holiday by holiday, until I get to that graduation day and finally the day we take our daughter to college, help her get unloaded and settled in her dorm room, and then drive off. That will be a teary day!
     Meanwhile, I am more fully aware of how much I don't like change! But change is dragging me kicking and screaming into next year. My daughter growing up and graduating is a good thing. For her to be able to go away to college and make good decisions and to stand for what she believes in is a good thing! And, yes, however begrudgingly I may admit it, this transition in my life is a good thing. My Lord knows what is good for me, and He has my best in mind. He has blessed me with the gift of children these 35 years--laughter in my house, late night giggles, midnight movies, tender sweet talks, goodnight prayers, cuddles on the sofa, clothes in the floor, puddles in the bathroom, shoes in the den, dishes in the sink, music blaring down the hall, piles of laundry on Fridays, and someone to eat my chocolate chip cookies. I am grateful for the time and these memories and for the new season to come.  
     Now that I have made it clear that change is a comin' in our home and have told you how I feel about it, I want to change gears and present to you a song written and sung by one of Kate's fellow seniors. There's not much I can say that isn't expressed in Paul Ruark's music video, "Keep Your Change". He sings about the things that matter. Here it is for your listening and watching enjoyment!