Seven days on vacation in Southern California with Chandelar...
I'm happy to report that we didn't forget anything. We brought lively, silly CD's to sing to and keep us alert for the long drive. We had plenty of underwear, our bathing suits, hair doodads, toothpaste, toenail polish, "chick flicks", our favorite pillows, comfortable shoes (although not quite comfortable enough... we bought new ones), sun hats, sun dresses, light weight sweaters, and chocolate. The only thing we left at home that we could have used is the muscle power of our hubbys, and perhaps a small hoist, to lift and carry our luggage.
It was another happy, carefree time with one of the brightest jewels in my crown. We ate some really good food, soaked our feet in fountains after a day of traipsing through some beautiful buildings and gardens, watched (and danced to) some girlie movies, checked out the ancient, rickety, wooden roller coaster on the Belmont pier, shopped some little boutiques, and strolled the street festivals in the beach cities. We stayed up too late, sat in the hot tub too long, drank too many Vanilla Bean Frappacino's, and ate too many In N' Out Burgers. But, mostly we talked, and talked, and giggled, shed a few tears, and talked some more.
I relished and treasure every minute if it... I hope we get a chance to over pack for another week away together next year.
My daughter bought some tulips a couple of years ago that knocked my socks off when I saw them growing in her yard. I searched the world over... okay, I exaggerate... I drove to CostCo to see if I could find any of the same bulbs. I found some that looked pretty close to what she had and gladly handed over the necessasry cash to make them mine. I took them home and planted them in one of my flower gardens. This spring, I couldn't wait to see what they were going to look like. Voila! Here they are... I have never seen such enormous heads on a tulip. Mine are not as tall as hers, nor do I have the variety of colors that she does. But, I'm happy with what I have. Kinda cool, huh? I plan on making it a quest to find more and plant them EVERYWHERE I can find a spot at the Hollow.
I just finished reading a post written by my niece. It was titled with a scriptural reference, "By their fruits ye shall know them", and in it she expressed the love she has for her family. Not just her parents and siblings... but for her extended family as well. For her cousins...my children among them.
I've been thinking about her words for a while now. We really do have a remarkably good family. I'd use words like spectacular, phenomenal, magnificent... But, it occured to me that God created this entire world and everything in and around it... and the word He used to describe it was, "Good". And that is exactly what the members of the Stott clan are.
I've also been thinking about the title of her post. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Oh, how I hope that people, seeing my children, would believe that they were looking through a window into my soul. Nothing could speak better for me than the young men and the young woman they have become.
I need to say the same for Wayne's brothers and his sister. They have brought large quantities of sweetness and light into this world with the birth of every child. I love my nieces and nephews more than I can express. I love the memories invoked when I wander through old family albums. I love the stories we share when we gather together anywhere. I love the laughter and silliness that surrounds our table as we share the best home made food on the planet with one another, but most of all I love who they are as adults. I love their depth of character and the indelible love they have for one another. It's unquestioning, it's unshakable, it's forever and always and no matter what. I have a daughter and several nieces, and now and then a nephew, who have shared the details of their days with their hubbies and their little ones. The parenting baton has been passed, and I have no doubt that they will carry our family traditions and teachings to victory at the finish line. I so want to be known as a branch of the tree that bore such delicious and nourishing fruit.
I love tending my flower gardens. Wayne tends his vegetable garden and to his rooster and the brood of chicks. We had four beautiful children who have given us 6 beautiful grandchildren. Why so many pictures you wondered? Because this is my fruit.
If in fact, we shall be known by our fuits, then many of us have lived our lives well, indeed.
In my opinion, we are known as much for the company we keep as by the children we raise, and the parents who raised us. We have recently discussed the importance of face to face conversations. I have been one of the most vocal about how I worry that it may become a lost art. But, this form of communication has opened vistas I never dreamed of. My circle of teachers, mentors, friends, and on occasion... influence, has become so much wider than it would have been had I not made contact with you this way. And my life would have been so much less. It has more depth, a richness of color and thought has been added. Your comments are the fruits of your hearts and your souls, through them I have come to know you. You are the fruits of my planting a few thoughts, and I am ever so hopeful that I may be known by, and through you...
We raised our children in a four level split home at the mouth of a canyon in Northern Utah. It was in many ways a marvelous place to raise our four little ones... in others, not so great. It wasn't a neighborhood that was friendly toward kids. But we backed up against orchards and mountains that seemed to be our private domain. We were surrounded by open fields, were walking distance to creeks and ponds full of pollywogs.
The house itself was easy to live in. Roomy and open, with room to hide and read in peace. It had nothing but windows and doors on the east side that opened out to flower gardens, a fire pit in the backyard, and the canyon yawning wide just beyond the border of the orchard.
Lots of memories were made there. Toasting marshmallows around the firepit with friends who sang and talked with our kids into the wee small hours as their hopes for the future mingled with sparks from the open flames... sleeping out under shooting stars on the trampoline with only the sound of the crickets and our stories. Walks through the orchard with my daughter and our dogs, sitting on a cement slab among the cherry trees day dreaming.
There were birthday parties and family re-unions and Christmas trees that took up a third of the parlour. There were midnight runs through the sprinklers, and hockey games in the cul de sac, and banana splits for breakfast. There were Easter baskets to be found at the end of yards and yards of string woven throughout the house. We sat in the sun in front of the french doors during the summer reading from a stack of books from the library shelves. We sat huddled under blankets on the heat vents in the parlour during the winter months...talking and warming ourselves with the blowing heat and each others laughter.
We sold this family home to our son a fews years back... I can't remember if it was three or four. I went to visit a week or so ago and walked into that parlour. I grabbed a blanket and sat on the heater and let my mind drift back in time. Gone are the sounds of the incessant chatter about school, football games, dates, and wedding plans. Gone are the times when we treated hurts from tummy aches to heartaches, and kissed and cuddled the way to feeling better... Only the walls echoed back the voices of that era. It was a haunting visit.
We all take such joy seeing our children grow into adulthood. Yet, there are those moments when our arms ache with longing to hold them on our lap one more time. I walked into my son's room one night while visiting, and watched him sleep. I reached out to touch his cheek and tried to remember the little boy who slept in that house so many years ago. He's grown into a fine young man with a son of his own, now. The song is right... I turned around, and all three of my boys were young men, capable young men, who had moved into their own lives. I can't hear them run through the back door bursting with excitement at some adventure or escapade to tell me about. I can't tuck them in at night and sing, "I Found a Friend" softly, and always just slightly off tune...and have them beg me to sing it again. But, I remember...
On my last stay up north, I sat in my daughters kitchen and watched her prepare a meal for her three sons. I tried to recall the tiny girl of five or six making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich all by herself. She was so proud. Just as I am now proud. I love the woman she has become... but, I long for the little girl she once was. I miss the girl of sixteen, seventeen, nineteen and twenty who took so many precious walks among the apple blossoms with me.
Memory is a savoury thing, to taste with relish, and dwell on with delight. Memories also often bring an aching longing for just one more day setting helium filled balloons free to soar on their own. And no, the analogy, the irony, is not lost on me.
I'm a little teapot, "short and stout". I have naturally curly hair that I wasn't born with, It just showed up one morning when I was in my fifties.... I swear. My best feature is that I'm nice. I try to be nice to everyone, all the time.
I share my life with a tall, blue eyed, broad shouldered, narrow waisted hunk of a guy who both protects and provides for me in every way. He's one of the good, better, best guys!
I have four gorgeous children. Yeah, well I know you think everyone says that... but they ARE! And the best part of it is that they're great people! I have a son and daughter in law that have added both sugar and spice to our banquet table. Life is delicious!