Posted in Family

Am I lucky or wot?

Rita

That’s a line my 92-yo mother loves to use in nearly every email (yes, email) she sends out. She’s as cute as she can be, still using her computer for email and bridge. When she plays computer bridge, there’s a gentleman’s voice that will come on after a game and tell her ‘Good job!’ to which she will reply, ‘Thank you!’.

She’s coming to spend the winter with us, and I couldn’t be more excited. Any time I can spend with this woman is precious to me. As I’ve said in earlier posts, I’m the third of 11 children; eight boys and three girls. There wasn’t any ‘Mom and me’ time for any of us growing up, and so to have her all to myself for months at a time makes me happy and so grateful.

I’ve had her with me in prior years. She’s a blessing to be around; always cheerful, never demanding, she just rolls with the flow, saying, “Just tell me where you want me to go.” She sleeps late, then thoroughly enjoys her first cuppa coffee in the morning, always claiming, “Nectar of the gods!” with her first sip. She’ll finally get dressed, make her way to her favorite seat, either inside or out, maybe do a crossword puzzle, and then read Danielle Steele to her heart’s content. After dinner and some TV (preferably Downton Abbey) she’ll tell us good night and “God bless you,” something she has said to us since the beginning of time. She’ll make her way to her bedroom where, after getting ready for bed, she’ll check her email, play some computer bridge until she gets sleepy, then go to bed.

I know I won’t have many more opportunities like this. I’m glad I’m not working full time any longer. I’m glad she wants to come. I know we’ll get other northerners down to visit her, and we’ve got a couple of her grandkids and great-grandkids nearby.

Are we lucky or WOT!?

Posted in Childhood, Family

A Rite of Passage

rope swing When we were kids living in an old farmhouse in Rochester, Michigan, there was a tree way out in the back yard with a rope swing in it.  It was the perfect rope swing. The rope was thick; probably not as thick as I remember, but holding it in my smaller hands, it was the perfect size to get a tight, two-fisted grasp around it that included elbows. The knot on the bottom was wide enough to accommodate both butt cheeks, but you could still lock your knees and legs around it for dear life. Picture someone trying to climb a rope, and that’s the form we seemed to take when we would first attempt the swing.

I’m third of 11 kids. I have an older brother and sister, and then a whole bunch of boys follow with another little girl thrown in for good measure. I was probably nine or 10 before I worked up the gumption to finally climb into the crotch of that tree and sidle out the thick limb that had the bark worn off from bottom after bottom sliding off into the air. I can still feel the trembling and the panic in my heart as I sat there terrified I would fall off waiting for someone to toss me the knot, praying I would catch it with my feet. Then, God help me, I had to pull my knees up and reach for the rope, all the while balancing and shaking like the leaves around me! 

To their credit, my siblings were pretty good about urging me on, telling me I could do it.  Looking back, they probably just wanted me to hurry up so they’d have a turn. I’d certainly been in that position before and not gone, so kudos to them for what I took for encouragement.

But that first time … Honestly, I can still feel my butt slowly slide off the branch while holding onto that rope like a baby chimp to it’s mother, my hair flying, hoping I wouldn’t swing back and hit the tree (never!), listening to the cheers of my brothers and sister.  Heart pounding, a wide grin on my face, I savored my first flight down and out over the septic field, back and forth, finally slowing down and relaxing enough to trust my legs to hold me when I jumped off. 

It was certainly a right of passage, an unquestionable confidence builder that perhaps led to my love of flying!