While I don’t remember much about my childhood, the days before memory came, I remember my bumblebee sting. They tended to hangout by the big tree in our yard. I must’ve been three when I came crashing in on their party, and they did what bumblebees are supposed to do. They stung me, many and sharply.
But it was the one above the eye that caught my attention. I wailed. My mom came running for me, and swooped me up, and carried me into the house. A poultice of baking soda took away some of the burn, but it couldn’t stop the swelling.
My eye closed shut, but it could not stop the memory of my mother–running for me, swooping me up and comforting me. She rocked me in her arms and said over and over, “pretty good boy, pretty good boy!”
Funny how those memories stick with you. It was not too many seasons when I was trekking through high school navigating school, work, and high school romances. And at the end of the day, my mom would be waiting–ready to talk and ready to let me talk about my day.
The college years were a rush–four years away, lots of studying, home just on breaks. Each time the stay grew a little shorter. But she’d be there with a pan of lasagna and in her own quiet way, encouragement.
But graduation and entering the working work only sped the wheels of time. For me, it was a new job, new car, and eventually a wife, kids, a house. The speed of life was dizzying. My mother would show up dutifully –glad to see the kids, enraptured by life, proud in her own right. For her the seasons were starting to slow even still–less hours at work, and then retirement.
For me, it started anew. Soccer games. Soccer tournaments. High school plays. High school graduations. College decisions. College trips home–all too short with a pan of lasagna for encouragement and eventually college graduations. There came a time for first romance, turned engagement season, wedding planning and wedding walks. Later still grandchildren.
I’m 54 years old now. My mother is 88. She lives with me now. She beams to see her great grandchild. Her pace is slower, halting. She asks me to slow down, and to drop her off at the front door when we go shopping together. I need to slow down, to wait for her now, as she waited on me.
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Published January 26, 2017
Topics: Lessons with Bill