She Played with Us

photo 1-1


Me on the swing set at the little house

I was probably 9. We lived in the little house, the house I mentioned in the red hot pepper post. On the side of the house, the side with the Kitchen window where Mama could watch us, we had a swing set. One thing about us kiddos back in the day is that we were pretty good at entertaining ourselves. We didn’t have any new fangled iPhones, or gaming machines…just good old grass and dirt and woods and fallen trees that we turned into magical worlds with ship wrecks or islands or whatever we decided to create that day. We didn’t live close to other kids, so we played with each other a lot. I don’t know why this memory is burned into the recesses of my mind. Or why it stands out as a lonesome memory, the only one of it’s kind. I only know that it does. Mama was a busy Mama. Always working, always cleaning, always cooking, always changing diapers and chasing kids. And with a farm to take care of on top of it all, well, she was just busy. But this day. This day.  She played with us. We were on the swings, and I remember that we could see Mama in the kitchen window. There was something oddly reassuring about looking up to see that she was still there watching us. We had decided to try cartwheels. We tried and tried, my older brother M and my younger sister T (my partner in crime with the red hot peppers), and me. We must have had the general idea of how to do a cartwheel, but we couldn’t get it right. All of the sudden, out of the blue, Mama appeared. I still remember the happy that filled me up, and I remember how strong it was and how surprised I was at the happy. For the first time that I could remember, she was playful and giddy, and enjoying being with us. She proceeded to laugh and show us just how to do a proper cartwheel. I don’t remember trying it, I only remember standing there mesmerized at a mother I’d never met before. And one I don’t ever remember meeting again, in my childhood anyway. She was carefree. She was happy. Happy. She carried so much stress, so much responsibility, that sometimes I wondered if it would just swallow her up one day for good. My happy Mama. For a few moments in time. There is no picture to look at. No tangible memory to touch or show my children or grandchildren…just a moment.  A moment burned  into my child heart.  One that drew me to her forever more…always wishing to see her again…never quite doing it, in my childhood anyway. She is older now, with beautiful grey hair and skin a soft as clouds. And when I watch her love on her newborn grand babies…drawing them into her eyes with her soft voice…when I see her romping around the yard with the preschoolers and playing games with the older ones…I realize that she is back…the Mama I met that day. Happy. In her world with her children and grand children. I realize that she was always there. That she just got lost in the busy for a while.  And that the busy didn’t swallow her up for good after all. And that her grand children get to meet the Mama I met that perfect day when happy filled me up like it never had before, and gave a me a memory that tucked itself deep and away. Until now.

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  1. This is a beautiful memory… It reminds me of when my kids dared me to do a one armed cartwheel a couple of years ago. They giggled as I accepted their challenge. However, I tore a little cartilage and a few ligaments! I limped the whole way home!!! Do you think by will have the same sweet memory you do?! 😉

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