I started the day feeling kind of irritable. Bitchy, actually. I went to bed the night before feeling that way too. Who knows why. It could just be me or maybe the menopause or the idiot DMV drivers or the dumb ass things people say and do sometimes. It matters not.
I returned from dropping Boy off at school, deeply breathed in the quiet while Girl slept all tangled up in her covers, just like when she was little, and as I finished my coffee, I quickly caught up on the news. Yeah. The news. That place where despair and hope crash into each other again and again and again. That place where I drop the F bomb under my breath and I drop to my knees to pray. BOTH.
Shortly after Girl woke up, we hit the road for a walk. We agreed we will try to squeeze these walks in as much as we possibly can this summer, which makes me exceedingly happy. It’s the perfect way for us to spend unhurried time together, talking and getting some exercise too. Two birds with one stone and all that. You’ll be glad to know I got a grip over my irritability as soon as we got outside. It was a stunningly gorgeous day, my favorite and my best kind of weather by far. Sunny, brilliant blue sky, high, puffy, white clouds floating by and a low-mid 70’s temp, no humidity. I wish we could count on big chunks of time with weather like that, but I’ll take what I can get. As we walked through our neighborhood, we talked about Girl’s last couple of weeks spent reuniting with her friends, I updated her on Boy’s goings-ons, we talked about the summer camp job she’ll start mid-month, I vented a little about the state of the world and some of the dumb ass stuff I vaguely referenced above, we talked more about her first year away at school, the things she’s looking forward to when she goes back, and adjusting to being back under our roof for the summer, the last of which might be covered in its very own blog post very, VERY soon. I actually received a request from a fellow parent for a post on the topic, so yeah.
The best part of our conversation was when we stumbled onto the subject of the high sensitivity we share and the ways we’ve respectively processed some of the experiences we’ve had. Very interesting to us and a topic we continue to revisit. For the 3 of you who might not know, both of us are highly sensitive introverts, but we’re quite different in many ways too. She wanted to know if I’d always been this way or if my intensity (or whatever you want to call it) is something that developed over time. She mentioned my blog and the way it seems to have opened me up. She shared memories of being a very young child wrapped up in her own deep thoughts and feelings and the journey to learn to manage them. She can’t remember any other way of being and she’s very comfortable with it all now, even when it’s hard. I told her, yes, I’ve always been this way but I viewed it as a weakness, something I needed to fix, so I spent a good portion of my life trying to fight it…until I became her mother. As I learned more about her, and then about Boy, I was committed to teaching them to honor their differences and I EXCRUCIATINGLY slowly learned about and accepted my own in the process. As our conversation continued, I shared with her one of the reasons I pushed her so hard to get out in the world – especially when she was making noises about wanting to stay close to home – and to explore all that life has to offer while she’s young, while she has the true freedom to do it. Starting with full immersion in a good fit college setting. Away from home. Because she’s in much, MUCH better shape than I was at her age and I want her to LIVE. When I was young, I was so locked up inside myself, often on the outside looking in, too preoccupied with trying to run away from my intense thoughts and feelings to do much of anything of real substance with the brain and heart God gave me. It remains one of my biggest regrets. Late bloomer would be an understatement. And by the time I bloomed, I wasn’t young anymore. But that was then. This is now. I view encouraging her to discover, grow and use HER gifts, and to enjoy and share them, as one of my most important jobs. Pushing her in that way is one of the very few things she’s consistently told me I was right about and I even have the text messages to prove it. LOL. It gives me lots of hope about Boy too. She was kind enough to remind me of the ways in which I’m doing some of my own reaching and exploring and blooming right now and that’s true. It’s true because she pushed me outside of my middle-aged comfort zone, just as I pushed her.
When we were done with our talking walk, she went inside to get a few things done and I stayed outside to attack the greenery in our front yard with the electric hedge trimmer. God, I love that thing. It’s powerful. And weirdly meditative. For some reason, as I stood there going at our overgrown, gnarly bushes, a song my grandmother used to sing to me popped into my head. What do you think that means in this context? No idea. While I trimmed, I sang the song over and over again to myself in my head and then I began to sing it aloud. OUT LOUD. Neighbors? What neighbors? I was definitely in some kind of super freak meditative twilight zone by then, the buzz of the trimmer, the words of the song…
I have come from a distance
To peddle my notions
I will sing you a little ditty
While you buy a broom
Buy a big broom for the lady
And a little broom for the baby
I will sing you a little ditty
While you buy a broom
Anyone recognize the lyrics? Later that night, the words of the song still lingering, I searched for it on Google, but I couldn’t find any reference to it at all. I have no idea about the song’s origins or from where my grandmother picked it up, but her singing it to me and my sister remains one of the many treasured memories I have of her.
Anyway, this went on for quite awhile, wielding the electric hedge trimmer, singing my Yiayia’s song, thinking about Girl and how much she’s grown and changed this year, thinking about how well equipped she is to take on the world, sweating so much from my head that my sunglasses wouldn’t stay up on my nose, sneezing my brains out with all of the pollen flying around as I disturbed the bushes and plants, peeing a little with every sneeze, giggling like a fool. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t have an audience. But truly, I wouldn’t have cared if I did because oh, how I enjoyed every minute of it. My heart felt light.
As I finished up the trimming and prepared to gather all of the prickly branches scattered in the mulch, Girl came out to leave for a lunch date with friends. I thanked her for our walk as she got settled in her car, and I told her to be careful, and to enjoy herself. As she drove off, I went inside to grab something cold to drink and I found this on the note board above my kitchen desk:
It was the daily verse from her Bible app and she simply wanted to share it with me. The kid has a way about her. Quietly, gently planting seeds, patiently tending them, her roots deepening as her own branches BOLDLY reach way out and up.
I’ve missed her.
And yeah, don’t worry, you’ll get that COLLEGE KID HOME FOR SUMMER post. Ha.