Ta-Da!! The kittens are gone. The SPCA outside of Ithaca kindly received them for neutering and adoption. They were such bouncy, amusing little creatures that I’m sure they were snapped right up. However, on the down-side, the Mama cat is accosting me every time I go outside; staring at me from a safe distance and obviously asking WHAT I did with her babies. Now to trap HER!
Due to the arrival of some good weather, our “winter lights” are now in storage. We can’t really call them Christmas lights, because they go up on a good day around Thanksgiving, and we seldom get them off until March or early April. Since decent weather was late in coming, we have just removed them from the trees going up the driveway and across the front lawn. Their absence does create a problem for those trying to find our driveway; the lights make it much easier.
What a difference a few hundred miles makes! We have just spent ten days in the vicinity of Willis, Virginia, enjoying time with family. They are mowing lawns there and planting gardens. The red bud trees were a glory all the way down from Maryland to Virginia and back again. And in Virginia, the dog woods were just beginning to bloom. Back in NYS now, I’ve missed some of my daffodils; they blossomed while we were gone. But the tulips are beautiful, and the garden soil is good enough to get the potatoes planted.
Mother’s Day, is this coming weekend ---- a holiday celebrated in 40+ countries sometime during March through May. In the United States, it was begun by Anna Jarvis, who wanted to honor her mother ---- a care-giver during the Civil War and a Public Health advocate. So, in 1908, at St. Andrew’s Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia, Anna Jarvis began this custom with a celebratory service. Currently, Grafton is also the site of the International Mother’s Day Shrine. By 1911, all states observed it and in 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation that “Mother’s Day” would be observed annually on the second Sunday in May. Anna Jarvis was greatly disturbed when Hallmark cards began to “commercialize” this celebration, but I think that however love is expressed and shared is valid and good --- whether via phone calls, cards, visits or sky-writing.
I’ve written considerably over the years about my own mother, and recently an essay about her achieved first place in a “Women of Distinction” writer’s contest. My mother was a homemaker who, when her children were sufficiently grown, became a Dekalb salesperson. She was respected by area farmers for her energy, integrity and expertise. After retiring from an awards-filled sales position, she took lessons and excelled in a traditional Early American mode of painting on wood and tin, had amazing gardens, participated in her church, the Grange, Home Bureau and was a good neighbor. She’s a hard act to follow for her life has left an impact on her children, her grand children, perhaps a great-grand child or two, and on the neighbors who came to her with their problems. She had pretty definite ideas and gave voice to them very clearly, but she also tried to listen, learn and be fair about new thoughts and philosophies. She seldom, if ever, interfered in her adult children’s lives, though I’m sure there were many times when she probably wished she could. We were able to discuss books, theology, gardens and the latest technological advances right up to her death, at age ninety-four. In addition to my mother, I was also fortunate in my mother-in-law, who was wiser in many areas than I and very accepting. Also I was privileged to watch my older sister and sisters-in-law who became parents long before I did. Parenting is not easy, and most of us do so with little if any training, so mentors such as these were a blessing. They taught me to pick my battles and to just keep moving forward.
Regardless of errors in parenting that we may have made, we respect and take delight in the grown-ups who used to be our toddlers. They’ve turned into fine adults, who’ve made wise life choices. Our daughters-in-law are intelligent, caring and accomplished women. Growing up well would also be true of our nieces and nephews. Watching youngsters mature from children to adults is sometimes a tad painful and often a little frightening. But the accomplished results (in our families at least) have been worth all efforts, fears or irritations that came along with the process. And now we have granddaughters!
One of the activities our granddaughters do is dancing. One takes ballet lessons and the other participates in liturgical group dancing that acts out stories. I envy their litheness and agility. At this point in my life, moving the body is often problematical. The joints ache, the muscles would rather not make the effort and the energies are miniscule. We have a lift at church now as an alternative to the steep stairs that take one from the lower level to the sanctuary. I do use it sometimes, but try to keep that from being often. As arduous as the stairs are, I have a feeling that if I stop using them, my muscles will “smile complacently” and refuse to do even what they do now. As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” Of course, there are days when being gentle with one’s self is a very good idea ---- so long as it doesn’t mean a spiral descent into couch potato-ism before that’s really necessary.
Gardening is one way I choose to keep moving. Right now, I’m a bit handicapped by a severe neck issue and today, we are also getting light showers, but hopefully those things will not long be problems. The weeds are growing apace and it’s time to plant the garden beds with lettuce, peas and carrots. Soon the lilacs will be sending their purple fragrance throughout the yard along with the viburnum carlesii. I know that around here, one should not plant before Memorial Day, but it has been such a long winter that we are all eager to begin the cycle of planting and harvesting. So I may sneak in a few things and hope for the best.
If you garden, I wish you a wonderful garden this year, and whatever you do, go ahead and enjoy spring!! “Sometimes it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy!”** Guillaume Appollinaire
*Leonardo Da Vinci--- Italian Renaissance man who excelled in painting, architecture, music and many other of the arts. 1462 – 1519
**Guillaume Appollinaire was a French poet; 1886 - 1918
Carol may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.