The Fredericksburg Women's Club Art Show opened yesterday. I've only missed one year since Shannon and I entered together in 1998. She won the "Most Popular" that year and after her accident, the ladies created an award in her memory. It always pleases me to see the piece that they choose from the drawings to honor.
This year I received an award for "Great Expectations". Gavin fishing the muddy puddle at Mom's. The title is somewhat misleading. He really had no expectations. He simply enjoyed the act of fishing the muddy puddle. There might have been a fish, or a frog, or even a turtle. He simply sat there, red plastic bobber hovering over the red plastic hook waiting for whatever might happen.
After a while, he was finished. Not disappointed. Not fuming or fretful. Just finished and ready to move on to the next adventure.
There's so much to be learned from that one fleeting moment.
On January 19, I stopped at Mom's after Gavin's birthday celebration. The refrigerator had stopped and the floor was covered with water. I was frantic. The house had been on the market since October and we never knew when someone might show an interest. I plugged and unplugged, tripped and flipped breakers, opened and closed, but nothing would revive the relatively new refrigerator with the french doors and freezer at the bottom. I had been with Mom when she picked it out and she really loved that refrigerator.
After the clean up I headed home and Monday morning Jules agreed to go to Reva with me to be sure that I hadn't overlooked something simple. Nope... just dead. But while we were there, with the refrigerator in the middle of the floor a realtor, of course, arrived with prospective buyers.
They were so sweet and had little boys and for the first time in months, I felt like maybe I could let go. We tried to stay out of their way but had an opportunity to chat a little and that afternoon they put an offer on the house. I felt as if Mom had hand picked them.
Forty two days later they spent their first night in the house.
I had personal expectations. I thought I would feel sad. I thought I would have trouble as I left my key and pulled the door closed behind me for the last time. But I realized as I drove home that I was experiencing the same emotional calm that I felt when I met Shannon's heart recipient for the first time. Mom is happy. She doesn't live there anymore. A new family will laugh and love and play and cook and celebrate in that space, just like we did. New memories are being created and instead of a house...it is once again a home.
When I met Shannon's heart recipient, five years post transplant, I was asked if I wanted to put my head on Matthew's chest and listen to Shannon's heart. I remember being stunned at the thought. I know it is very important for many donor families but I looked into that young man's face, so gracious and kind, and knew that all I wanted was for his heart to beat long and strong in his chest and all I needed was to know that he was healthy and happy, like Shannon is.
That heart loves full out now, just like it did for Shannon. That is a wonderful miracle.
Today I begin again. I don't know what I would do without the promise of new beginnings. Far too often I begin only to end... abruptly when life has different plans. We do what is asked of us. It's not obligation or responsibility so much as the desire to feel necessary, relevant. This morning I'm not sure what that looks like.
I divided my life into seasons so that I could get a clear picture of the journey. My first twenty years were spent learning. I was a daughter, a sister, and a wife. I didn't have a clue. And because of where I find myself now, I think that was my summer. The next twenty, I was a wife, a daughter, a sister and a MOM. Oh how I loved being a Mom. Again, learning, growing, making mistakes, but most importantly, I discovered a love that I couldn't even have imagined. That was my autumn. The next twenty, I had to discover and draw from a courage that I wasn't sure I had. I was still a wife, a daughter, a sister and a Mom... but I had to learn to love from a distance...with an intimacy that defies explanation. We believe that those we love are as close as breath, still alive and well and happy, still held safely in our hearts... but nothing prepares you for that journey...and it never ends. This has been my winter.
This morning I am squatting beside my own muddy puddle. Not sure what swims beneath the surface, not sure it matters. This morning, I just want to enjoy the moment. Things have a way of working out just the way they should, just the way you would have them if you were really in control.
I look at GG's little feet and head, sitting there beside that muddy puddle with Great Expectations and know at three, he is wiser than I am with sixty years behind me.
For the next twenty... the spring of my life, I hope to embrace the promise of the moment, anticipate new growth, rebirth, warmth and light and know that I will have Great Expectations, but like that wonderful little boy, I plan to relinquish disappointment in favor of the next big adventure.
P.S. The refrigerator is now working great !