Pages of my life…

Seasons Come And Seasons Go

Posted on: June 12, 2009

I just returned from a road trip with a young relative.  By the time we got back in town I had been suffering (not in silence) for about nine hours in extreme pain…so I opted to be dropped off at the hospital.  During the trip there were hours and hours of music wafting through the air…and even more hours filled with conversation.  As we reminisced…a child’s surgery from long ago was revisited.  Imagine if you will…a little girl going into surgery as a sea of adult faces stand horrified that such a tiny little body would have to be cut open.  In an inept attempt to distract the young patient…I asked if there was anything she wanted when she woke up from surgery.  I was thinking perhaps a doll or coloring books or some other toy.  I was clearly not prepared for what came next.  The sweet little four year old face looked up at me and said…"when I wake up I want it to be Christmas".  I just about choked.  Not only was it the middle of summer…but I also happened to be living in England …in a remote country setting.  The village was beyond tiny with one road that went past but not through  it.  My mind began racing as  the countdown from surgery to post op Christmas began to tick away.  I searched the loft in my bungalow where  Christmas items were stored.  I grabbed a little stand and found a tree to decorate.  I gathered toys and more as quickly as I could…and headed for the hospital room.  I wish you could have seen the face on the little girl whose eyes opened wide with surprise to discover Christmas in the middle of summer.  Some years later…my own kids sat with scrunched up little faces in their new home.  We had moved out of state and were now situated quite far away from everything and everyone they had ever known.  They were both convinced that Santa would not know where to find them on Christmas.  After several days of earnest efforts to reassure them did not work…I finally took matters into my own hands.  I dug out all the Christmas decorations and lights and even put up a tree.  I considered for one brief moment that the neighbors would think a crazy lady had moved to the neighborhood …but I decorated  anyway.  For an entire month the house shone brightly inside and out…and everywhere you looked animated characters sang with joy.  Once the kids were convinced Santa would know where we were for sure…it was okay to take the decorations down.  There are times when I wonder how "normal" my kids childhood days were.  We pitched tents in the living room…slept in trees…scared ourselves with ghost stories before bedtime on camping trips…had barbeques in the rain  when the weather tried to ruin our plans…and ran laughing through sprinklers in a park  on a hot day during a long road trip.  When the sewer system was being connected…we dug up natural clay from beneath the ground and created sculpted pieces of art.  I have had more than one ten year old child prepare and cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner alone.  One such child recanted the story to her disbelieving class…until I made a visit to the classroom the following week to provide glowing details about the event.  The children sat mesmerized to think someone their own age could be given such a chance.  It was almost like making history.  We have held neighborhood "feasts" with sloppy joes and chips…have sailed plastic boats around the pond at the utility company…and have gone on more "adventures" than you could possibly imagine.  When my older daughter was growing up…I scooped up the neighbor’s children daily for exploring all things new.  If we had sixty cents we could go to the man made lake and swim all afternoon.  If two dollars found its way into my pocket…a trip to San Francisco was most likely.  Ten dollars would see us all the way to Carmel to the beach where white sand beckoned even the most cynical soul to throw caution and your shoes to the wind and let your bare feet do the walking.  We found "castles" and waterfalls…dead man’s drop and sea life galore to admire.  Starfish are really best left at the beach…and ducks in the picnic pond are fine but geese will steal your popcorn and pinch you when you are not looking.  It is the little things like eating ice cream for dinner and pizza for dessert that make for indelible memories.  In the end it does not matter what time of year it is…or where in the world you might be on any given holiday…as long as you celebrate each and every day as a gift.  My youngest child recently took the liberty of assembling a pecking order of the significance and impact of people we know dying.  I am somehow rated as "epic"…a thought I will try to keep in mind the next time I am irritated to the point of admonishing my children’s behavior.  I may not have set the world on fire with acknowledged contributions to the world at large…but I hold a good spot in the death and dying pecking order…and that is reason in itself to celebrate.        

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