Timely, Tried and True


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Dear Izzy,

I think God may have heard my heart’s prayer asking for a different view. When we woke up today, there were about ten tree removal workers across the street, cutting down trees, using all their motorized saws, wood chippers and trucks and every other gadget they use to take down trees.

As you know, because I said it many times while we sat on our front stoop to watch the trees come down, I don’t like to see a tree cut down. I guess if it’s not healthy or it has become an obstruction or eye sore, there are times when a tree coming down is needed. It’s just that I really like trees. You sat on my lap and expressed the very same sentiment, as well as the same sorrow I showed over the trees having to go.

One of the reasons we chose the house we did when we bought it a couple of years ago was the fact that the neighborhood it is in has so many trees. Last year, our next-door neighbor had to remove a diseased tree. Last weekend, several large branches from a tree on the property two doors down were removed, drastically opening up and changing the view.

Now these trees across the street… poof. Gone.

Wouldn’t you know it… I’ve was wishing for a new view, and then BAM… we got one. First thing when we woke up. Not the view I really wanted, I must say. But a new view none the less.

Though I lamented the loss of how much green we used to see when looking out our windows, I can’t help be grateful for the time you and I had watching the crew do their work. Branches flying through the air, large chunks of tree trunks falling to the ground and making a thump so loud, we could almost feel the earth move.

You were happier than a kid in a candy store getting to see all those machines at work. And when tethered pieces of tree would swing like a pendulum, but with gravity’s forceful pull, as they were carefully lowered to the ground, you’d smile and comment with glee. It was something you’ve never before witnessed. In fact, something I haven’t seen yet until this morning either… at least not that up-close-and-personal.

What a fun time we had.

You thought so, too. “I’m having so fun!” you said… several times.

I drank my coffee and basked in the morning sun. You sat on my lap while I kept you warm and shielded from the cool morning breeze.

And we giggled.

And I probably should mention… you also learned so much. I can see how much you love to learn things, especially while in the middle {or context} of what you’re learning about. And I love to be able to teach you in those moments. Later in the day, you even remembered some of the new words you learned in the morning, using them in our conversation when something you saw made you think of them. That was a reminder to me just how much you are listening… and craving new experiences to learn new things. Who’d have thought we would have a new experience right there on our front step?

We had both our literal change of scene, and a sort of figurative one, too… something new to do. A first for us both that we so enjoyed together. It might be was one of my favorite moments I’ve had with you since you were born. When you read this some day {which is why I am writing it down, because I don’t know how much of it you’ll remember… or how much I will}, you might think, Really? It was your favorite moment with me? How could it have been so special?

Well, I can’t really answer that. All I can say is that we bonded. And I was blessed. Like I said, I have no doubt it was a small kiss from God because he knew how mundane our days can get and how much I’ve wished for even the smallest change.

Once, a long time ago when your grandma was close to the age I am now, she, like me, was stuck at home… but with five kids, instead of just one. Somewhere along the line {I think when I was a teenager}, she told me a story about that time of her life, and I have heard her bring it up several times since. It’s a great story that I always love to remember. Writing to you just now about this made me remember it.

She told me how she would sometimes sit outside and look far across the way toward a tiny lake… a distant view of a piece of land that was close enough to see, but too far to detect the details. Grandma loves water, and though she could not live on the water as was her dream {and still is}, she looked out at that little lake and thanked God for her view.

Well, one day, she noticed that the lake had gone missing. How could this be? she thought. Soon after, she decided to take a drive out that way because her curiosity had gotten the best of her. When she was close enough to the property, she could see that there never was a lake, but rather, it had been a large barn with a metal roof that was reflecting the sun, making it appear as glistening water from a distance. No one had stolen her lake. Someone just removed the roof from a barn.

She always taught us that life is all about perspective and being grateful for what you have, faking the view for a time if you have to. It wasn’t so much about what was actually there. It was about her attitude to be grateful for what she thought was there. It wasn’t a view of the a river from her backyard or the ocean from her vacation time-share. It was just a small, tiny lake… someone else’s lake. And then it wasn’t even a lake. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the fake lake went away… and her only chance at “living near the water”.

She didn’t grumble that she couldn’t live on or near water. Instead, she took advantage of her view… and had a good chuckle about it when she found out she’d been had. Grandma has always been a glass-half-full person like that. I wish I’d gotten a little more of that from her. But while I may not have picked up on it as much as I should have, I’m hoping it will rub off on you.

Anyway, this morning I did better at seeing my glass as half full. In fact, it felt rather whole-full. I had some cherished time with you that I wouldn’t trade for anything… not even a trip to the ocean or the grandest sight this world could offer.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m dying to take you to the Grand Canyon… Dada, too, ’cause he has not been yet either.

But my point is, as crazy as it sounds, today started blissfully.

And it kept on being sweet. The weather was so lovely, I had to venture out with you. We walked for hours. To the bridge that spans the river. {How nice that we have a river running through our town.} To the park for what seemed like endless swinging, which you adore getting to do {you always have}, even when we’re back at that same old park we always hit up because our long walk and search to find another turned up unsuccessful. To the bike path for some good exercise for Mama and choice rocks for you to add to your growing collection. And let’s not forget our own yard where we spent time in the sun and enjoyed the blooming shrub that burst with color overnight. And trees. We saw trees. Lots and lots of trees. They’re not all torn down. And that’s good news, because I plan to keep doing our annual neighborhood Autumn leaf walk around here.

I’m so very grateful that my work load slowed down and I have been able to pay some due attention to you. I keep thinking about how much good it will do you. But what I tend to forget is just how much good it does me.

I’m also so grateful for the warmer weather again. It keeps coming back, doesn’t it? What a gift. What a healer it can be, melting everything still cold, once again. Like the trees that come back the same colors every year, and the waters that flow, though moving, still constant, warm winds always blow in.

Hey, buddy. Let’s do this again… real soon.


{p.s… Before going to bed tonight, I thought about what was probably the highlight of your day. You loved it all, but I think if you had to choose, you’d probably tell me that watching trees get cut down was the best part. Me too. But for me, the close second was the sweet moment that you came up behind me as I was doing sit-ups on the floor in the living room tonight. You heard me tell Dada how hard they were to do because my core stomach muscles have become so weak over the past few years, especially after a second pregnancy/birth. You must have heard the discouragement in my voice from being overwhelmed at how much work it will take to get those muscles back in shape. I know you could see how I was struggling to lift my upper body. So you leaped off the couch with enthusiasm and joy to come kneel down by my head. You gently put your hands under my head and softly said, “I will help you.” I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed you be sweeter than right then. I know you don’t quite get the whole exercise thing yet… because you are young and vibrant and a skinny-mini, and you’re always running around getting exercise whether you know it’s exercise or not. Because of that, I’m sure you have no idea that the point of exercise is to do it yourself… that’s how you get results… no one can do it for you. So I have to believe that such a precious act as yours was all about empathy, instead… especially given the sweet voice you offered to help in. I melted. And I’ll never forget it. Actually, I know me… so I probably will forget, at least the details. So I made sure to include it here. I hope it makes you smile some day as much as it made me smile tonight.}