Friday, March 16, 2018

What they know

“All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip, or dance, just don't tiptoe." So says a spiritual teacher named Shane Claiborne, who I only learned of when I ran across this quote. I never really told my children this, but they absorbed the message just the same. They are adventurers, all three of them—my son, my daughter, my niece—intrepid travelers, bringing the ones they love along with them on jaunts around the world. 

My son's girlfriend didn't have a passport when they met. For Christmas their first year he gave her the paperwork all filled out, every part of it done with the secret help of her mother. All she had to do was sign and send it in. As soon as the little blue book arrived, they booked their flights. My daughter, meanwhile, is right now on a beach with her boyfriend, apparently having a very fine time. And my niece is just back from climbing an active volcano with her love in Antigua, Guatemala; that's her on the yellow ATV, posing with the mountain.

These three somehow learned to look outward, embracing the world as their own. And yet you can find them running, skipping, hopping, dancing even when they are doing nothing more than the dailiness of work, school, living their lives in the place they call home. How did they get so wise? I think my mother had everything to do with it. She traveled with all three of them every summer from the time they were just little birds, guiding them through airports, even after she was in a wheelchair, showing them the grandness of adventure in the everyday.

This week, on the day that students across the country walked out of school in brave protest, we marked the third anniversary of the day we laid my mom to rest. My son noticed the date and called to see how I was doing. I was doing fine that day. My children's closeness to my mother—their skipping, dancing, wheelchair-twirling grandmother—made me smile through the ache of missing her. 





17 comments:

  1. Thank you for that lovely quote that will inspire my day.

    Your mother was a very pretty woman. The pictures you show of her reveal that not only in her face. It's easy to see that her gifts have been passed on through the generations.

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    1. Liv, thank you for your kind words about my mom. She was a special one. xo

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  2. A lovely tribute to your mother's graceful and adventurous spirit.

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    1. Am, I think because she grew up in an island, travel was always part of her adventurous spirit. I always said she and my dad had travel karma—they moved homelands four times in life. I think they might have passed that travel karma on.

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  3. Ay yi. This makes me feel so inadequate- just taking my grandchildren a few miles south to see mermaids.
    Your mother was amazing. How lucky you and all of your children were to have her.
    I have to tell you that all of your foremothers seem absolutely fearless and invincible. This explains a great deal about you and your children.
    I wish I were more like those women- strong and determined and ready to travel with grandchildren in hand.
    I love you and all that I learn from you and from your reports of your mother and your aunts, Thank you. So much.

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    1. Mary, would you believe I was thinking of you as I wrote this post, thinking how you are creating the same kinds of memories for your grandchildren that my mom did with hers. Mermaids! Are you kidding? That’s magic! Feeding the chickens and looking for eggs. All the things you do as a family. I was thinking, as I wrote this post, that your grandchildren are as connected to you, in the same loving, imaginative nurtured way, as my kids were to my mom. You are doing for and with them exactly what my mom did. The geography might differ but the bonds are powerful and enduring. You’ll see. I promise you. So don’t feel inadequate. You, dear friend, are pure magic and adventure, whether you see it now or not. Love love love

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  4. A heartfelt tribute to your mother and children. Your writing is so lovely!
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  5. Another poignant post...and a wonderful tribute, too. I wish I had a tribe like yours.

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    1. e, I think my tribe is my life’s great blessing. I’m grateful for them. But we are a tribe here, too, and I’m so glad you’re part of mine.

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  6. I love how your children were so wonderfully inspired by your very beautiful mother. The tribe is a thing of the heart, handed down lovingly generation to generation.

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    1. robin, it moves me even now to think of the bond my children and my mother forged during her time with them. their closeness to her has definitely shaped who they have become, in the best of ways.

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  7. Didn't you leave everything you knew to start a new life in the States? Didn't you leave a job to become freelance? I'm thinking you're braver than you give yourself credit for.

    My middle daughter has travelled a lot to. She spent three months in Zambia which I wouldn't have had the courage to do when I was 22 but she did it. I feel the same way that you do. I live only 100 miles from where I grew up. I like the familiar, even though I have travelled some, I like home.

    And your mom, that's the kind of nana I want to be:)

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    1. lily cedar, it's funny when we embark on big life changes, in the moment it just seems like the next step, the next right choice. only in retrospect does it seem bold. I love your daughter's courage and spirit of belonging everywhere. i too hope to give my future grandchildren an expansive view of the world, as my mom did, and yes, us too.

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  8. Love yeah and have a beautiful birthday.

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