Natural Wonders

Natural Wonders
The Four Natural Wonders of My World, in the beginning...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Beholding Beauty

A car honked at me the other day when I drove past him. I glanced over and saw it was a guy around my age whom I had never seen before. Huh. When I reached my destination I got out and checked around my minivan, making sure none of the tires were flat. Everything looked OK. I guess he was checking me out, I thought with a smile.

Immediately I texted my twenty-year-old beautiful daughter.

"I know this happens 2 u all the time but some guy just honked at me! It's been a long time since that's happened 2 me :-)"

She immediately texted back:

"Haha like daughter like mother"

She really is head-turning beautiful. Whenever I go anywhere with her I can't help grinning at all the stares she gets and yet she's oblivious to the attention. She went through an ugly-duckling phase of freckles and braces and the beautiful swan that emerged will never forget the past, having successfully survived a far-too-long period when stares weren't a good thing. That experience has made her very empathetic and encouraging to those who have yet to reach their own swan stage, and that makes her even more beautiful on the inside. What more could a mother ask for?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mama Guilt

I wish I were a better mom.

I never really cared about having kids of my own until my husband talked me into it. I have five younger brothers and sisters and helped take care of them enough that I didn't want the bother anymore once I grew up and left home.

Of course my husband wanted children so after we got married we had a beautiful baby boy with whom I fell head over heels in love. I love my siblings but I never enjoyed caring for them like I did my own little son. If one child could make me so happy I figured the more the merrier, and we had a girl and two more sons in quick succession.

Middle Son is a typical middle child, always elbowing his way through life to make sure he doesn't get left out. He is a late-blooming tennis player and we are very proud of his amazing improvement this year over last. I go to all his home games but some of his away games are over a half hour's drive away in rush hour traffic. I never get to watch the whole thing, since they start before I finish work, so I don't go.

"Mom do you want to hear a story?" Middle Son asked when he came home thrilled after "dominating" in his away game. "In the middle of my game I looked up and saw a red van. I thought 'Great, Mom's here!' But then after I won I realized it wasn't your van but one of my teammate's mom's and I was sad.'"

I won't miss another, that's for sure.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It Really Doesn't Matter if You Win or Lose, Just Don't Lose It

The last two days my husband and I were privileged to be my oldest son's personal gallery when he played 54 holes of golf for his college team. I've seen him play lots of really good golf and some not so great golf but I can only remember one time that I wasn't proud of him: one instance when he completely lost his temper. I have blocked out in my mind what he did but I know I've seen so much worse from the other boys and now men playing alongside him that it doesn't matter. Today he didn't score anywhere near what he is capable of scoring but his decorum was impeccable. He reminds me of the Rudyard Kipling line:

"If you can keep your head when those about you are losing theirs... you'll be a Man my son!"

After we said our goodbyes (which I hate!) he texted me that he was so glad we came but he was sorry he didn't play better.

I texted back:

"Sometimes putts drop in, sometimes they don't, who cares? You've had the awesome privilege to play two days of golf on a beautiful course, all expenses paid, and we had the awesome privilege of watching our smart and handsome son perform athletically and very respectably under pressure. You tried your hardest, that's what counts. Life is good."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

There's Nothing Sweet About Parting

My oldest son is a junior in college in NYC. He came home for spring break and left this morning because he had to work tomorrow.

I hate good-byes. Hate them. My baby brother and I steal from The Simpsons every time we part and say "Smell ya later." It doesn't make me cry any less but at least I can laugh through my tears. I left home when I was nineteen to go work in the big city so if practice makes perfect I should be really good at saying good-bye.

I'm not. Every time my mouth whispers good-bye my heart screams "don't go!!!" My eldest has left me many times and each and every time we cling to each other, sobbing, like we're the last two survivors on a sinking ship. Then my husband has to break it up in order to get on the road... again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What's in a Name

I gave up on believing in coincidences a long time ago. There's a lovely lady at work who works a later shift so I only see her a couple of hours a day when our shifts overlap. Since we're on the phones non-stop I never get to talk to her much but she is always sweet and friendly. We say hi, wave and we always give each other a hug before I leave at the end of my day. Just recently she heard a friend call out my name and she said "Jayne? I thought your name was Laura."

We laughed together.

"Laura? Where did that come from?" I asked. Neither of us knew, since we never were formally introduced. I only knew her name because I looked at the name tag on her cubicle. Anyway, she calls me Laura every time she sees me now and we have a laugh together.

BUT after just a few weeks of this, the lady who runs the equine therapy program where I have started volunteering said to my rider, "Laura will help you do that."

My eyes popped out of my head.

"Laura? Where did that come from?" I laughed. She gave me a second look and said, "I really have no idea, Jayne. Sorry!"

I told this to my coworker the next day and her eyes popped out of her head. "Really?"

I know people get names wrong all the time but for two women to call me the same wrong name, with a surety that it was my name, within the same month isn't something that happens all the time.

My coworker wasn't laughing about the mistake this time. She said, "You know, in the Bible when someone's name changed, like Abram to Abraham and Jacob to Israel, God had something great for them. Maybe God is changing your name spiritually. I wonder what Laura means literally."

I looked it up right away on my computer.

"It says it means 'She shall have.'"

My friend's eyes grew big again and she smiled broadly.

"You shall have."

I can't wait!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Saturday World

I have always loved Saturdays. This morning was bright and sunny so I thought I'd hit the yard sales but quickly realized it's a little too early in the season for yard sales. There was only one in the neighborhood but it was well-signed so every time I slowed down to see what address was on a yard sale sign it was disappointingly the same one. My consolation was that my yard sale hunt took me near a Chick-fil-A and I am a huge fan of their new Spicy Chicken Biscuit.

The thing I love most about a Saturday is it's my volunteer morning. After my non-shopping trip I drove to the facility where I assist with an equine therapy program. My youngest son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism thirteen years ago and I wish that along with the diagnosis the doctor would have handed me a card for a facility that provided equine therapy. My son is now SUPER high-functioning thanks to various behavioral, speech and occupational therapists but I know if we had had a horse therapist my son and I both would have been much more calm through the recovery process.

There's nothing like a horse. With those huge eyes staring at you, he takes in all that you are outwardly and inwardly and if you're open, honest, kind, empathetic, you will find him the same, no matter what your needs are. I have seen so many special-needs children get on the back of a horse and be transformed, sometimes in a matter of minutes, sometimes instantaneously. Screaming children are silenced into unspoken rapture. Crying children are soon giggling and squealing happily. I've read about how the movement of the horse is so good for the child's balance and how riding is so good for the child's self-esteem but I've seen firsthand that it's just pure magic, like Superman ducking in and out of a phone booth. The transformation is inevitable and I get to watch every week.