Sunday, May 24, 2009

Going Home.



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I went home yesterday, to my childhood home. I deposited Nolan for mowing duty and Colton went along to help watch out for Grandpa. A trip to mom and dad's house is more of a mixed bag of emotions these days. You can't help but notice the deteriorating house. The peeling paint, the cracked driveway. The house that is too much upkeep for the aging owners who are unable to bare the thought of leaving. I pull the mower out of the jumble of anitquated stuff, too old for use anymore, but too riddled with memories to throw. My old rusty and moldy stroller, with only patches of the aqua blue seat still discernible to the trained eye. The remnants of dad's tools, collected from years of making cabinets by trade, waiting for my brother to claim one day. My eyes quickly skim over the boxes of unknown content sitting in stacks and piles, as I tug on the mower and escape.

I grab the camera, to shift my focus, to clear my cluttered mind. I don't have to look far to find the trail leading back to my youth. The streets are still adorned with crabapples trees. We had an enormous one in our backyard. But mom grew tired of the mess from the crabapples and it was pruned one day, into an anorexic jumble of bare limbs, no longer suitable for climbing.

Before crossing the street I am saddened to find the "Ok" in blue on the stump left over from the elm tree on the boulevard. There used to be two, each lost only in the last year, to dutch elm disease. The city of Moorhead stamping approval to chisel the last of the stump and roots from their home of over 40 years. Across the street you can see the majesty of these giant elm trees that once adorned the neighborhood. Just north on this street, is where many of these trees remain, forming a canopy over the streets when the leaves are at their fullest.

But in the other direction across the street, I find a crabapple tree in all its pink glory. I lose myself shooting up through the bottom branches of the tree playing hide and seek with the sun. The rainbow bursts of colors through some of my pictures, my reward for catching the sun trying to sneak away from my view. I'm transported back in time. To the crabapple "wars" we used to have. The potions and concoctions we would make of smashed apples and dirt and water. The hours spent climbing the branches and hiding in the leaves from one another. I can almost hear the voices of my childhood friends, yelling to one another over a heated game of kick the can in the alley. I notice the mower has stopped now.

With a fresh perspective I traipse back over to the house across the path of my adulthood. Next to the big crack in the driveway, I now notice mom's peony bushes, bursting with buds about to blossom. I find her in the back yard watering the juicy red gerberas we got her for mother's day. The kids are eating ice cream and hot fudge, dipping their spoons to the bottom of the container to get the last few yummy drops.

I go to put the mower back in the garage now, maneuvering through those same remains of the past. This time I can't help but think, this is also my future. I'll be back one day, I know, cleaning and sorting through it all. My "inheritance" of sorts. I still want to turn a blind eye, not ready to sort through the past, and incapable of looking too far ahead to the future.

17 comments:

  1. Oh Gosh!
    Peonies. My Mom used to grow them and I can't for some reason out here. I love those flowers.
    When my Mom came to live with us, I put all her nice clothes into a huge plastic container. I never opened it since and its still up there in my closet.She never wore them again since she never went out to places to wear them.
    I took her out with me wherever we went (mostly horseback riding and soccer back then) Most of it required casual clothing.She also was incontinent and well you can imagine the rest with Alzheimers. They see things different.She would use a knife to cut her clothes and couches thinking they were meat. Anyway......
    I just sort of thought It's my Moms.How can I give them away? These are treasures I keep of the past. Memories.
    The old glasses. She took hers and scrunched them up, broke them and I still keep them. Hers and my Dads.I still keep the hat he always wore.
    I was thinking one day to frame them so the grand kids would have memories of their Grandad and Gramma.Today framing is the way to go because people keep those. Special kerchiefs,gloves,brooches etc...It heritage left over from your life and family.

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  2. I know exactly how you feel. I so wish that we were closer to our parents, so that we could check in on them regularly. Thank goodness they are still active and in pretty good health!
    The photo's are just beautiful.

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  3. Beautifully written, Vicky, and a concise, poignant look at the place so many of us are in our lives right now.

    I don't let myself look down that future road either but for very different reasons. I just lean on God to keep me from being fearful about what will be required of me and how I will handle it. He knows. And I've certainly told him about it enough times.

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  4. Vic, I am so excited for the peonies to bloom. Mom has deep violet and white ones and I love the smell as much as the look of them! Yes, framing some of these things may be a great way to preserve them for your kids!

    Libby, yes, its helps when their health is good and I am glad we live so close :)

    Robynn, I can only imagine what that road must look like to you :) So glad you turned it over to the One who will see you through that tough journey that lies ahead for you!! And its such a good reminder for myself as well :)

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  5. I absolutely love Gerbers.... I can't believe how much further the blooms are there ! wow

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  6. Woman, your writing has blossomed as much as those trees you so beautifully captured. I felt every word and there was so much love mixed in with the trepidation. Those two go together a lot, don't they?

    For the record, I can close my eyes and feel that sun through the tree like I'm laying beneath it. Such a beautifully captured moment.

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  7. When I look in my mum's garage and think simular thoughts. Hopefully I have many years before I have to deal with the items and emotions.

    I think this post was really well written, I think most people would relate to it in some way. There is a lot of comfort in that.

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  8. Vicky, I love this. Your photos are beautiful. Love the writing and although it's so hard to think about the future like that, I'd recommend you go ahead a go there. I wish I'd allowed myself to really think about the day when my mom wouldn't be here. If I had, it would have caused me to live a little differently while I still had her here.
    I love seeing the house...a part of your tapestry. hugs.

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  9. Oh! I forgot to say I love the new header...I swear I'm happier just looking at it! Great job!!!

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  10. Bless your heart, Vicky. I can imagine how hard it is to go back there.
    Those crabapple photos sure are beautiful.

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  11. Jules, they aren't further along. It was a starter plant and it was already very large before we put it in the ground :)

    Gitz, thanks for your sweet thoughts and kind words :) Great word, trepidation, exactly. That captures the feeling well.

    Liss, thank you for your kind words too :) I hope you have many years left as well before you deal with this.

    Robin :) I can't wait to hear all about your big weekend!!

    I truly am looking for those ways to go there, I have but I have not been as revealing of what that journey may look like. Its different than what you may anticipate, but I am still looking for a way, regardless :) I appreciate your wisdom and experience!

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  12. Jill, thanks so much :) bittersweet, yes.

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  13. What a great post. We had a wonderful crab apple tree in our back yard when I was growing up. Your blog brought back so many memories.
    Thank you and for the pictures too.

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  14. I am feeling the same bag of emotions. My parents are getting older and cannot do the things needed to take care of themselves or their home. It saddens me and also baffles me! What am I going to do with them? How am I going to maintain the care of them and my family? I am scared, but I know the Lord will carry me/us through!

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  15. Dr. John, thanks :) Who knew crabapple trees were so common to so many?

    Missy, its hard, but somehow we figure it out and when we can't we have someone to help us through, amen to that!

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  16. Vicki - besautifully written and I so 'get' what you are saying here.

    We are at an interesting stage of our lives watching our parents go through an interesting stage of theirs. Things change and sometimes it is hard to deal with it all.

    Your photos are INCREDIBLE, just amazing. I love the sun peaking through and I just pictured you there - all the memories.

    You are such a great heartfelt writer and its a pleasure reading your posts. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Lilly, thank you, faithful friend, for your heartfelt words :) I KNOW you know what this is about. Hugs to Des!

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