Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I’ve had the pleasure of spending this Mother’s Day weekend with my two grown daughters on a sort of road trip adventure which consisted of loading up a dorm room full of stuff into two SUV’s and heading home. My oldest lives in Boston and lent her new Jeep to the cause and we headed south to Virginia to bring my youngest home from college for the summer.

The weekend was special on several levels. Youngest was happy to show off her campus to her older sister, and show her sister off to her friends at school. She is quite proud of her school and her sister so for her it was special after three years to have them together, if even for a few hours. Elder sister is quite proud of her own accomplishments as well as how far her younger sister has come and was happy to lend a helping hand. It was good to see them working together and to see the love and respect that they have for each other. That alone was enough of a Mother’s Day present.

The South is a whole world apart from what my girls are used to, even though I was born and raised in Texas and my eldest was born there too. Let me say how much I love Virginia. It is a beautiful state. The Shenandoah Valley is breathtakingly beautiful in the spring and I was pleased to share this with my eldest for the first time. I’m not sure she was as impressed as I had hoped, as the great outdoors for her is best viewed from a downtown skyscraper. I for one love the rolling hills, the green pastures dotted with cattle, hip roofed barns, and rail fences. It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to see why early settlers went that far, parked the horse and wagon and decided to stay a while. I could be perfectly happy there too.

Saturday morning we sauntered into a local fast food establishment in Amherst, Virginia, two beautiful young butterflies and a moth. I noticed for the first time that my eldest was dressed from head to toe in clothing purchased entirely on her own, meaning with her own money. Not a stitch was purchased with dollars from mom and dad. I was proud. We were not over dressed for the task of packing, loading and driving that lay ahead of us, but by local standards we were as out of place as any Yankees could be. As we fluttered in, the moth and her two young butterflies, everyone in the place turned to stare. We went about ordering, etc, etc. as one does in such an establishment all the while aware that we were the most interesting thing to happen in a while. I’m not sure how we were more interesting than the man wearing overalls and waders or any of the many others in decidedly odd local attire but clearly we were. We weren’t wearing plaid. We weren’t wearing gimme caps or t-shirts. Our SUV’s in the parking lot had license plates from far off and exotic Yankee strongholds, New Jersey and Massachusetts. I guess I should be grateful all they did was stare. We may have been saved by my Texas accent that just won’t go away despite the fact I have been out of the state for the last 23 years.

We loaded up both vehicles and headed north, making it past the Mason-Dixon Line in early afternoon. The girls took turns driving one of the vehicles and I drove the other one, sometimes leading, sometimes following. It struck me as I drove on Interstate 81 that it was somewhat poetic. I took the lead as we left the school, leading my youngsters homeward. Somewhere along the way they took over and I followed, happy to let them lead me for a change. This was much like life; this lead and follow routine. As a parent I’ve done more leading, but it felt good to follow for a time, watching my grown daughters set the pace, decide when to make a move, when to hang back and let others go ahead. I found no fault with their decisions and was content to watch them fly ahead of me all the while knowing that they felt confident knowing that I was behind them all the way, ready to step up and take over the lead if they should falter.

It was a great Mother’s Day weekend. I think I learned something from spending this time with my girls. It wasn’t a fancy restaurant and flowers, but I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

P.S. – Thanks girls for the new camera! You know me too well.

Love to you all,

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