Blog Buffet

It has been a very busy week. Personally, I blame it on the jazz fest leaving town.

I have lots of little things to say with big meanings that don’t necessarily relate to each other. Random ramblings, if you will. (Keri- you will, right?)

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Abby and I were out for a walk when we found a broken robin’s egg. It’s breathtaking in all the right ways- color, detail, delicacy, size.

egg shell

It gave me a chance to talk to the little one about birds and eggs and nature in general. A science lesson on the fly.

It also allowed me to watch Abby realize the egg was broken and offer these words of 2 year old wisdom- “It’s okay, Mommy. Daddy can fix it.”

Huh. I’ve been rolling her words around in my head for days now and I still don’t have a handle on how that one statement is causing me so much emotion.

I love that she so completely believes in Matt that she thinks he can solve everything. I love how it opens the door to a conversation about God being her Heavenly Daddy. But I hate that at some point she’s going to discover that neither of her fathers can, or will, fix everything.

That sometimes, you have to live with broken pieces.

Simply because we live in a fallen world with sin and pain. And honestly, I’m terrified that I’ll be the one who has to tell her that. Or even worse, I’ll have to sit back and watch her learn the lesson for herself.

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We took a quick trip to the country this week. I’m always amazed that you can drive for seven hours and still be in Texas.

If you drive to San Antonio and take the exit that leads to the middle of nowhere, eventually you’ll run into Uvalde. Claim to fame? My family. Maybe not in the history books, but in my opinion that’s what Uvalde has going for it.

There is one unbelievable lady named Granny (trust me, I know her well) living there that we don’t see as often as I’d like. Add a Papa Wayne to the mix and you have quite the welcoming committee.

Are all grandparents’ houses places of wonder and discovery or is it only mine? Because as a kid I was just as thrilled with the random objects in Granny’s house as Abby was this week.

Within minutes of entering the place she had stolen relocated a pair of bronze deer from the living room to her bedside table. And I’m not going to lie- there were four adults in that living room and not one of us saw her snatch them away. The kid is sneaky. Quick and sneaky.

Other big ticket items- a sombrero, a candy bowl, an exercise machine, the bathroom light switch that was reachable on tiptoes, and the sugar bowl that Granny taught her to dip her finger into.

sombrero

Sitting and talking with the adults would have been fine with me but that Abby is a girl of action. Must be moving at all times.

So Granny and Wayne willingly (and a little hastily) offered up their vegetable garden for her digging and planting pleasure. They thought she’d be content with 4 little tomato plants. They didn’t realize how much she loves gardening.

baby tomato

This summer and fall Abby’s mark on Uvalde should be apparent when all the random flowers, tomatoes, plants with no names, a mango seed, and a lemon (that’s right- a lemon) that she planted begin sprouting whatever they will sprout. I’m afraid we’ll need to go back for the weeding and harvesting of Abby’s labors.

That’ll be fine with us though. As soon as we got home Abby said, “Ok, now let’s go back to Granny’s house!”

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The other item on my agenda while in the middle of nowhere was to visit the cemetery. I knew and loved quite a few people that are out there. My Granddaddy being one of them.

Here’s the shameful truth. I haven’t been back to Uvalde since his funeral. Yes, I’ve had Abby. Yes, it’s a 7 hour drive. Yes, I was working and going to school and busy, busy, busy. No, those weren’t the reasons why I didn’t go.

I didn’t go because I couldn’t imagine entering the town and not seeing him. The idea that he would not be sitting at the kitchen table with his movie star thick hair, stirring a cup of coffee, and looking out at his chickens was incomprehensible to me. It was simply easier to not go than to not see him.

I figured since I’d made it to Granny’s house and hadn’t lost my mind or my handle on my emotions I could go out to see the headstone they put up for him. I went and bought some flowers. I drove out there alone. I thought I’d shed a few light tears but I’d be fine.

Truth? I hadn’t even parked the car before I was crying. Really harsh truth? As soon as I saw the piece of granite, I lost it.

headstone

It wasn’t the fact that there was a headstone or that I was at the cemetery. It was that my eyes went straight to the year he passed away- 2005- and I could not get control of myself.

2005? It’s 2009! It must be a joke, right? Because it is not possible, in any universe, that my grandfather has been gone this long. There is no way that I haven’t spoken to him since 2005.

I don’t know how to explain it. It was just such a slap in the face. The fact that Abby’s turning 3 next week and he was gone before she took her first breath. That in these years I’ve had a daughter, gotten another degree, started a new profession, sold a home, moved, quit my job, and simply lived. Throw in all the other things- my brother has started and finished law school, moved to Oregon, had another baby- and my head and heart wanted to explode.

The worse part was that I have spent all these years selfishly avoiding going out there. That I buried him, left town, and didn’t look back. I know that my grandfather doesn’t live in that place now, but the memorial to him does. And I felt like an ass for not going sooner.

Once I gained control of myself- mainly because the gardeners were huddled together talking and looking in my direction and I thought they might call someone to come get me- I started really looking around the place.

flower

At his funeral, I was completely focused on this one butterfly that flitted all around us and over the casket. It was my sanity during that time. Well, when I stopped crying this week I noticed a butterfly near me. And although I’m not a big believer in signs, I couldn’t help thinking, “Oh look. It’s a butterfly again. Granddad must be trying to comfort me.”

I was feeling good until I turned my head and saw about 20 other butterflies. I couldn’t decide whether to cry or laugh. Of course I’d seen a butterfly. I was at a cemetery. With lots of flowers. A butterfly’s heaven. I felt like such a sucker. Obviously I’ve seen too many romantic tragedy movies.

So I sat and talked for a little while. Spent a lot of time trying to remember details and funny stories. Took a few pictures because I realize I could freeze up and not be out there again for a long time.

But right as I was saying my goodbyes and getting ready to leave, I turned around and saw a rooster. A red rooster. Hanging out in the cemetery.

It’s amazing how you can smile and cry at the same time.

My grandfather was a lover of chickens and roosters. I don’t know what it was about them but in his old age he could be found out in the back walking around talking to his pets. He’d tell funny stories about them. He’d name them. He did exactly what you aren’t supposed to do with livestock. He got attached.

I have no idea what Granny did with all the rooster knickknacks after Granddad died. There were tons of them. Clocks and figurines, magnets and pictures. Egg baskets. I imagine only another rooster lover would truly appreciate what was there.

I know I was in a country cemetery. Stranger things have happened I’m sure. But all I’m going to say is that seeing a red rooster there made me shrug off the butterflies.

Now I’m not looking to start a discussion on the afterlife. All I’m saying is this, if it was his choice, my granddad would comfort me with a cranky red rooster over a dainty butterfly any day of the week. And that’s only one reason I love him so much.

rooster

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3 Comments to “Blog Buffet”

  1. I fully believe in those type of signs. Butterflys, chickens, red birds… my grama sends them all. Funny story… when she was so sick with alzheimers she made very little sense, she would talk about the boys that live up in the tree and do schoolwork, and the chickens that walk through the backyard. We would just listen and nod and humor her. And then one day… there REALLY were chickens in the backyard! It was hysterical. So yeah, random chicken sightings always make me think of her. We have that in common I suppose.

    And if it’s any consilation, I am 26 years old and still completely confident that my dad can fix anything.

  2. i love this. all of it. all of it. love.

  3. thank you so much for sending me a link to your blog. i absolutely love the way you write, very captivating and picture painting. and i completely get it. it was your grandaddy smiling on you. i really do think they visit us in ways only we will understand, and you have to go with the feeling you are sent along with it. you know in your heart what you were seeing. thank you for sharing this with me 🙂

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