Yesterday I received a call from my oldest daughter, Robin, who began the conversation with, “I’ve got myself in a pickle!” Knowing my precious Robin as I do, that could mean many things. Robin has been married for 17 years and is the mother to my three grandchildren. She has two daughters in high school, and a 5-year-old son with autism. They fill her life with every activity under the sun. She is a stay-at-home mom but also has a job she does from home, and successfully I might add. She is constantly on the go, go, go! And did I mention that my son-in-law is a hard-working tow boater by profession? That means he is working on the boat and unfortunately away from home for a month at a time. So, when she says she’s in a pickle, my brain spins.
In a voice that told me she was feeling stressed and embarrassed, Robin shared her plight. She ran out of gas in a town 30+ minutes away. She didn’t ask if I would help, but instead began listing the friends she had called who weren’t available. As a Mama, I knew she was hoping I would “offer” to help, which I quickly did. I instantly heard the relief in her voice, which made my heart swell. I could have chosen the Mama card and given her a parental lecture about not checking her gas gauge when she was so far from home in a rural area with no gas station nearby, but I gave her grace, as she had done for me so many times over the years when ole Mama’s car had broken down and she so graciously came to my rescue. Now that I think of it, all three of my daughters have come to my rescue many times over the years! I’m one blessed Mama. It was time for a payback.
Robin joyfully accepted my offer and proceeded to give me these instructions: I had to go to her house and retrieve her gas can from the garage, then go to the Exxon, fill said can (I chose 4 gallons as sufficient), put it in my trunk, and then drive the 30+ minutes to the town where she was stuck. She warned me that it was a curvy country road and that she was sitting in a church parking lot and I would need to search for her. Her exact words were, “I’m way out there, Mama!” I began to think that this repaying of a good deed was turning into quite a chore, but then I felt a smile come over my face, a chuckle in my heart.
As we ended our phone conversation, Robin says, “I feel like I’m 16 again and needing my Mama to rescue me.” And just like that, the memory of my little girl needing me came flooding back. I didn’t care if it took me hours, I was filled with joy to give my busy daughter a helping hand this day and make her load just a little lighter.
After I got properly dressed (yes, I was wearing the now popular “quarantine casual”), I checked things off the list. After retrieving the gas can, then filling it with the four gallons, I texted Robin that I was on my way. She was right; it was a long, winding country road. Thank goodness I had plenty of gas in my car. But it was a pretty day! The sun was shining, so I rolled my windows down and enjoyed every minute of that beautiful drive. I realized I had not been on this road before. It was gorgeous, with lovely homes and farms sprinkled about. Spring was showing off its green glory this day, and I felt very blessed that my daughter had led me on this journey.
I finally spotted Robin’s minivan perched on a hill in front of a large brick church, and the first words to come out of her mouth when I pulled up were those of apology, but I didn’t want her to apologize. I had enjoyed the drive and had received even more joy in helping her out. She quickly poured the four gallons of gas into her empty van’s tank and gave me a heartfelt “thank you.” After some pleasant chit chat and several I love yous, we went our separate ways once more.
When our children are grown, they have their own independent lives to live. They can go months, or even years, without needing our help. Especially with the minor things that make up everyday life, such as keeping a vehicle hydrated with gasoline. Sometimes our relationships with them may resemble that of friends more than parent and child. I can’t speak for every mother out there, but I know it warms my heart and soul when I can catch a glimpse of my younger child again making me feel needed in the most basic ways, just as they did back then. With that being said, it was good to see my 16-year-old Robin yesterday.
She is absolutely right! The other day I was trying to address a package bound for Russia. My son, who passed away in June of last year, had someone who was very close to him and lived there. I had an engraving on a glass ornament with a picture of him that I wanted to send to her. She gave me her address but my wife and I were having difficulty determining how to meet the US Post Office’s requirement for a package leaving the states. I called the secretary of our church to see if anyone in our congregation could help and was told there was no one that she knew of. I decided to ask for help on our local area website. Within 30 minutes I got a response from someone that gave me an online website he thought would help. I went there but still wasn’t able to figure it out. Fifteen minutes later I received an email from a young lady named Andrea and she said that she had lived there for a year while attending a Russian university and she was more than willing to help us. Shortly, she arrived at our home and set to work filling out the necessary paperwork that would satisfy the Postal Service and ensure our package would arrive safely.
We had been struggling with this problem for quite a long time, and as I watched her diligently complete her task I was overwhelmed with gratitude. She had gone out of her way to help a stranger that was struggling with a problem she could easily handle. I believe that is something we all should strive to do at every opportunity. I do not know this woman very well but I sure wish she and her family were our neighbors. We already have wonderful neighbors, but she would certainly be a welcomed addition. As she left our home, we stood on the porch and waved goodbye and watched her drive away. What a wonderful feeling it is to encounter kindness from a total stranger.
The world is divided into three kinds of nations: those that spend a lot of money to keep their weight down; those whose people eat to live; and those that don’t know where their next meal is coming from… David Landes
I think old David is right with his comment about there being three kinds of nations. As for myself, I have experienced all three. In the first five years of my life I never knew when I would have my next meal. I remember picking up orange peels on the side of the road to eat and that would be all the food I had for that day. I lived with my grandparents (McCoy’s) and their youngest son was only two years older than I was. He was diagnosed with rickets (Childhood disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin D and sunlight) and wouldn’t take his medicine unless I took it with him, so I did (the doctor said it was ok). When I was five, I moved in with Mom & Dad (WWII was over), and I started getting regular meals but there wasn’t an abundance of food in our home. We got three meals a day, there was nothing to snack on except leftover biscuits and cornbread, and a lot of times we ate the same thing day after day (green beans and potatoes). After graduating from high school and joining the US Air Force, food became more plentiful, and my weight started climbing. I weighed 156 lbs when I left home, and within a year I was up to 190. Food was everywhere, and I didn’t know how to say no to all those tasty things that constantly beckoned me. After a few years of eating everything I wanted, I decided I needed to slim down, so I tried all kinds of diets and diet pills. I remember one prescription the doctor gave me made me so high that I was waving my hands at complete strangers on my way to work. I was probably around 25 at the time.
So yes, I have been thru the three stages that David talks about and it is easy to decide which is the best stage to be in. Luckily, I have devised a plan to deal with it, and it is working 😊.
Shakespeare added 1,700 words to the English language during his lifetime. That seems unimaginable to me. That would almost be enough words for a primitive culture. We add a lot of new words to our dictionary each year but we never know who coined them.
It has been estimated that an English-speaking adult has command of 42,000 words at age 20 and 48,000 at age 60. In comparison, a 1-year-old knows 50 words, a 3-year-old 1,000, a 4-year-old 5,000 and an 8-year-old 10,000.
Of course, these are only estimates. I seriously doubt that I know 48,000 words, and I’ll bet you doubt that you know that many. It was estimated that Shakespeare knew 35,000 words. Yup! The same guy credited with adding 1,700 words to our dictionary.
I’m of the opinion that it’s not necessarily important how many words you have in your arsenal, but how well you use the ones you have. Great speakers don’t impress us with the vastness of their vocabulary, but by the way they craft their words to illustrate grand ideas, convincing us to do something they consider extraordinary.
On January 20th, 1961, Jack Kennedy said, “Ask, not what your country can do for you…” We were impressed with his plea to think of country first.
We can’t all be great speakers, or great writers, but we can try harder to express our thoughts in a meaningful and clear manner. We can strive to make The Bard of Avon proud of us 😊.
Of course, Benjamin Franklin would chime in with, “Well done is better than well said.” He may also have a point.
I was listening to a talk by Ali Muldrow the other day and she said that as a child there was very little crying in her family. She was determined that when she had children, she would encourage them to show their emotions. One day she walked into her very young daughter’s bedroom and she was crying. Upon seeing her mother, the young girl tried to stifle her tears. Getting down on her knees and looking her in the eyes, Mom said to her, “Sweetheart, teddy bears only drink tears, and they are thirsty”. The little girl promised her mother to cry more so her teddy bears would have something to drink.
What a wonderful way to show our children that it’s ok to express how you feel. I think most of us are guilty of hiding how we really feel. When criticized, most of us walk away feeling the pain but seldom showing it. When sad, we suffer internally, never letting it show to the ones we love. But, if we remember that teddy bears can only drink our tears, then we won’t be reluctant to cry when we need to. My wife has about 200 teddies so she and I need to cry a lot.
“God gave us crying so other folks could see when we needed help and help us.” ― Joshilyn Jackson