Friday, May 3, 2013

Mothers, Daughters and Frogs

Last weekend I went to a ladies retreat with my daughter.
 It brought back memories.

It's the same retreat center I went to with my mother - fifteen years ago. Some things had changed. They've added a lounge under the dining hall and  the pool is now  heated.

My mom and I always stayed in the lodge with real beds and linens and towels. She paid my way because as a newly married gal, funds were tight. We'd hang around together - eat together, sit together for the meetings and take the same craft workshops. At night we'd crawl into the double bed and talk until around midnight. I can't remember what we talked about. Nothing deep or profound. We didn't share what we learned from the evening session. She didn't give me lasting tidbits of wisdom for raising a family. But we spent hours talking. And we did this for years - until the dementia overtook her ability to handle anything but simple daily routines.

This time, I spent the weekend with my daughter and the ladies of her congregation. We stayed in a cabin with four other women. It was sleeping bags and vinyl mattresses. But that's okay. It was nice looking across the floor to the other bunk and seeing the mother of my grand-babies. I only knew a few women by name. It felt weird to be in a place I grew up at and yet not know anyone. I tried not to shadow her. I wanted to give her space and time with her friends. I'm not sure if I did that good a job. Sometimes its hard to be in a familiar place and yet know that nothing is the same.

Our lives never stay the same. People change, places change. Sometimes we enter paradigm shifts or life changes where nothing is as we knew it before. We learn to live with a "new normal". Its when we can get to that point where we make friends with it and know there's One who never changes. Since G~d has been around forever, He's not prone to being caught off guard. He knew us before and He knows us now. When He says He'll take care of us - never leave us or forsake us, that's what He means. He's held on to the universe for a very very long time and hasn't broken a promise yet. Odds are, He never will.

On Saturday evening my daughter and I walked across the small bridge that spans the pond. This was a ritual for my mother and I. We'd stop in the middle of the bridge and my mom would call out, "re-deep, re-deep". As if on cue, a choir of frogs would begin their serenade. Some people actually thought that it was a recording triggered by voice, it was so precise.
My mom loved frogs. I love frogs and my daughter does too.
And so, we stood in the middle of the bridge and I called out, "re-deep, re-deep". We looked down into the murky water and there on a lily pad a little frog, with bubble throat croaked out the first response. "Re-deep!" Another called back. On the other side of the bridge one more joined in. We didn't get a full concert hall choir - just a three piece ensemble. But none the less, it was what we'd hoped for.
We laughed and remarked that Grammy was elbowing a few angels and friends. "You hear that?" And then she sat back, arms folded with a smile on her face.

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