Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Unfading Beauty

Some beauty in our home.
I have a beautiful neighbor who is about 80. She is petite and agile and she is not above crawling under our dining table to chase my toddler, if he chooses to hide from her when she comes to visit. She comes every early afternoon, right around 2. Sometimes, I am waiting for her, brewing a fresh pot of coffee and attempting to clear a path through the Legos and Hot Wheels and Cheerios scattered across our wood floors. Sometimes I am rushed and busy, and I hesitate to answer the door when I hear her distinctive knock, but I always answer. My beautiful neighbor has dementia, and though she is well-loved and lives with her attentive family, she has managed, in the fog of a fading reality, to carve a new pathway in her schedule, and it leads straight to our front door.

Every day, she points to William's shoes that sit on our front porch (and that's where they stay because MUD) and lays her hand on her chest. "Oh! What I would give to go back to these days with my boys." If the boys aren't napping, she will pick up a book and they come running. William sits on the arm of the chair and leans against her and Joshua lifts his arms to her and says, "Hold!" She points to the pictures on the pages and they spend long minutes discussing the characteristics of Thomas and Percy and Edward and who is nice and who is a naughty train, and then she hugs them and promises to come back tomorrow. She tells me daily to sit still and love my mess because before I know it, they'll be gone.

My neighbor also raised two sons, one of whom died of MS several years ago. She talks about them often.  It seems mothering grows a strong and mighty oak in your reality, and though age and disease may break some of the boughs and prune the blooms from the highest branches, even the unforgiving hooks of dementia can't loosen its' roots from your memory. I don't know if I am much like her, but I do know she and I have something that has grounded our friendship. We both understand the value of recognizing the beauty that's around us.

And I do love my mess. And my wild and woolly boys. I haven't blogged in over a year. I've been having coffee with my neighbor, and raising my boys, and working with a group of women to talk about the Bible and God's glory and His character and what it means for us, and a whole slew of other things. But I have the desire to write about beauty and talk about it and hold onto it and I plan on writing about that here again, at least once a week. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some Legos to put away.

Some more beauty in our home, though this one is not as refined.