Sunday, May 07, 2006

Unexpected Blessings

This morning TinyTuna and I had another episode of "Good God, she's twelve, and neither one of us is going to see thirteen." What was wrong? You name it. The sky was blue. My car was red. I was breathing her air. I don't know, for sure. But everything was wrong in her universe, and she was darn sure that she would let everybody know that her perfect order was being disrupted by requests for politeness and doing what she was told. Around and around and around we went, butting heads until I was ready to remove her butting head from her hunched shoulders which sat atop of her angry, crossed arms.

It's SO HARD BEING 12. Or so I'm led to believe with every whiny chorus of, "What am I DOING?"

Where do I begin and how long do you have?

This afternoon while TinyTuna was in a marathon rehearsal for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, GramTuna and I spent several hours removing leaves, pine cones, weeds and other assorted nastiness from the flower beds. We were extra motivated today because tomorrow is free yard waste pick up day, and we wanted to make sure we contributed to the cause. Despite the fact that it has been several years since we've had these flower beds, we still stand there and look at clumps of green nubbins and try to figure out what the heck they are. It doesn't help that every year we keep moving things around, and when you combine that with a fairly solid case of Alzheimers, we're often staring at the ground wondering what it will be when it grows up.

The three-year rule of plant growth (first they sleep, then they creep, then they leap) is in full swing. Several plants have decided this is leap year, and have become, well, really good leapers. The clump of something that grows about 8-feet tall (we don't know the proper name, so we call it "Fred") has now spread far beyond his 3-feet boundary. We will be looking to move some Fred to various parts of the yard, and then give some away. The rambling rosebush (we used to call it Grandma's Rosebush, but have since renamed it "Ginger" since it sits next to Fred) that sat dormant for two year with nary a blossom, suddenly realized it was a thriving rosebush and sent roots everywhere, meaning that Ginger is going to get a little bit of tough love with a sharp shovel and several pots of dirt. We believe in sharing the love.

The most pleasant surprise was awarded to the trillium which not only survived, but have actually bloomed. Since trillium like to die the instant you plant them, it has been particularly gratifying to see these guys come back.

Most "whuh?" award went to a Scottish thistle. We planted Scottish thistle three years ago at the south edge of the bed. It promptly died. So we planted a new one next to it, and it thrived. And now the first one that was dead is now back again (was it only a flesh wound?), and the second one planted to replace the first one is also back, AND there is also a volunteer, which is a full three feet away from the original two near the lucky garden golf ball. How did it get there? Neither the thistle nor the golf ball are talking.

Fortunately for all parties involved, TinyTuna's morning mood improved drastically and she not only lived to enjoy Sunday Brunch at the Grill Dogs, she was also surprisingly pleasant company. This didn't used to be an note-worthy occurrence, but I've come to learn when you're TWELVE, it's an unexpected blessing when the Satanic side decides to chill out for an hour or two.

It was mentioned to her at lunch that she had done a nice job of singing the psalm that morning, and if she remembered the text it would serve her well for the rest of her life. At the time, I thought the comment just went over her head, but surprisingly we started talking about it in the car. "Which psalm was that?" I asked her, wondering if she had noticed. "The 23rd psalm," she replied. "Ahh, I said. That's a good one."

Suddenly, she started singing a spiritual version of the 23rd psalm that she had sung in Children's Choir. As she sang she started nodding at me and giving me the waving hand of "Good God woman, what are you doing just sitting there? So, I joined her. And there we were, one angst-ridden twelve year old and one extremely harried mother, driving down the highway singing the 23rd psalm as if we didn't have a care in the world, because this is what everybody does on a Sunday afternoon, right?

After the big spring garden cleanup, I'm always amazed at how much better everything looks. The before picture is such a disaster, you'd think there was nothing there. But once the mess is cleared away, you see the promise that lives in all the small bunches of new growth. It's a lot like living with twelve. A life full of unexpected blessings.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.


Mensch71 said...

Bring me a shrubbery! And a TWELVE year old. And some lovely multi-colored clothes. Only how many more days???

lifeonhold said...

Sounds like you had more trouble with the garden than with the twelve-year-old. A little transference, perhaps?

Wonderful story, and pretty, calming decor.