On my bucket list “sort of” was to experience a hurricane. Living in Kansas, it seemed highly unlikely I would have an opportunity to cross that off the list. However, on a recent trip to the Gulf Coast, a strong storm suddenly developed.
As I sat on the lanai overlooking the beach, it grew unusually dark for the time of day, and the sound of the waves hitting the beach grew louder. Rain pounded on the windows. The wind sounded like a March day in Kansas, and the flag danced in the wind. The sun worshipers on the beach had left.
I respect the power of nature. Hurricanes are dangerous and bring destruction. For the duration of this storm, though, I pretended to experience a hurricane. In fact, to me, the storm was close enough to one that I marked that “sort of” item off my bucket list.
To experience a tornado, though, is not even close to “sort of” being on my bucket list. After all, I do live in Kansas.
I walked alone on a beach early in the morning nearly fifty years ago. I was on the island of Kawaii in the Hawaiian Islands. I had no job, no serious commitments, and no plan for my life.
Recently, I again walked alone on a beach early in the morning–this time in Florida. I reflected on the last 47 years. I have had jobs; and with a husband, four kids, and eight grandchildren, I know a lot about serious commitments. Yet, I never had time to develop a plan for my life.
Oh, I’ve made plenty of other plans. I’ve planned picnics, Christmas celebrations, slumber parties, birthday parties, graduation parties, weddings, baby showers, vacations, family reunions, a couple of house remodels, an occasional meal, and sadly, funerals—all while showing up at the office regularly. My children might even tell you I tried to plan their lives or at least their Friday nights when they were teenagers.
While I didn’t plan my life, it happened anyway. Why not develop a plan now you ask? Well, still not enough time. After all, I’ve got to plan bridge for next week. It’s at my house.
“An air horn! Nana, I’ve always wanted one. I have my own money,” my eleven-year-old grandson exclaimed as we walked through our local dollar store.
“Silly putty! Nana, I’ve always wanted silly putty. I have my own money,” his twelve-year-old sister exclaimed.
“Please, please,” they begged in unison.
“What would your mother say if I let you go home with an air horn and silly putty?” I asked.
“She won’t care. We know she won’t,” they answered in unison.
My own children had begged for those very items. I remembered silly putty embedded in the fabric of my favorite chair. I remembered the sound of an air horn startling me awake from a rare nap. What fun my kids had with those wonderful toys. Suddenly, I was sure their mother would want memories like mine.
“Here, let Nana pay for those,” I said. “Did I ever tell you kids how much your mother enjoyed silly putty? Or what fun your uncles had with air horns…?”
Only a few short years ago I had my mother, mother-in-law, aunt, and several other older women in my life with whom I celebrated Mother’s Day. They are gone now, and I miss those ladies.
It is good to be on the receiving end of Mother’s Day, though. My early days as a mother are pretty much a blur. The term used now is “sleep deprived.” I used terms like “exhausted,” “sick and tired,” and “must nap, NOW.” However, while I don’t remember many naps, I do vaguely remember boiling hotdogs for a Mother’s Day lunch one year.
Little hand prints in crumbling plaster of paris, faded blue mimeographed recipe booklets, and baby food jar water globes serve as reminders of my young children’s love for me in spite of my constant state of tiredness.
Today, my Mother’s Days are filled with cards–drawn with love, or store-bought with love. There are visits, phone calls, and best of all, no time in the kitchen for me. I could even nap if needed–yet, I miss those early days of motherhood.
I was blessed then, and I am blessed now. Thank you, God.