Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Angels

I never believed in the Easter bunny. The concept seemed too weird, even for my overactive imagination. I knew the candy we found Easter morning came from my parents. Some years there was an Easter dress. Some years not. Most of the time their were things like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, or a new jump rope. 

I know that my own kids adore Easter. Isn't everything exciting when you're a kid? They've been looking forward to it. I, however, have not. With my husband out of work, we're trying to spend as little as possible. I had bought a couple bags of candy while he was still working and figured that would have to be it. 

Last week, however, my in-laws showed up. My mother and father-in-law brought candy, new dresses,  etc. (and etc. They do spoil their grandchildren). My sister-in-law, a college student, had spent some of her own money buying them stuff for Easter. I found that quite touching.  

Then yesterday (Saturday) we get a bunch of doorbell rings. I thought it was the kids. About ten minutes later we find a note on our door. Someone had a left an Easter basket for each of my kids in the yard. What fun! They spent the rest of the afternoon playing with the toys and eating the treats from their basket. I'm still sort of emotional about the whole thing. I've wondered who it could have been that did that for us. When I asked my kids who they thought it was they both answered, "It was the Easter Bunnny!" 

Of course. That's what the note said. I never believed in the Easter bunny. But this Easter, there are Easter angels. Thank you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Writing Exercise (Visualization)

Before the big breakdown and my husband lost his job, I was taking a writing class. That was back when I thought we could afford such things. I enjoyed the class. As part of the class, our teacher, Randall Wright, (author of Hunchback, A Hundred Days from Home, and The Silver Penny) gave us a writing exercise. It was a visualization. He had us close our eyes and walk into the woods. We came to a clearing. Then we were to write what we saw. Later, we added a smell and the emotion of sadness to the scene. Here's what I wrote.

A halo-shaped light shines through the trees into the clearing. The way the light filters and dances reminds me of what I’ve read of fairy rings and magic mushrooms. Walking through this forest, one can almost imagine that all the folktales are true: stories of little men and houses hidden in tree stumps. Fairies, maybe, woodland creatures that talk, and animals with magical powers. But then the light shifts and the magic is gone. I am old enough to know it was never there in the first place. There is only a part of me, tiny as a fleck of dust, that wants it to all be true.

            Those dreams of childhood that smell of strawberries and cream have dampened with age and cynicism. The air here smells both hearty and fruity, like rhubarb; tartness that all the sugar in the world won’t sweeten.

            I look again at the light dissolving. The halo that welcomed me has left. The shadows play alone. I turn to leave. I will never come here again. Not because I can’t, but because, like me, it will never, ever be the same. 

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Swimming Lessons

My daughters are currently taking swimming lessons. They are loving it. Swimming lessons are at 4:30 p.m. twice a week. 4:30 p.m. Late afternoon. At 10:00 a.m. on swimming lesson day, my youngest comes up to us, (her parents). "Is is time to go get sissy (her sister) from school so we can go to swimming lessons?" Did I mention it was 10:00 a.m? I turned to my husband, "It's going to be a long day." And it was.

Strange behavior considering I hated swimming lessons as a kid. I think hate is perhaps not a strong enough word. I detested swimming lessons with every part of my body and soul. When I was very young, my mother would take us to her sister's house where we would stay and take swimming lessons during the week and she would come get us on the weekend. I think our small town, swimming pool-less as it was, did not offer lessons. 

My cousin Rich had the job of getting me ready for swimming lessons each morning. I remember having a brown swimming suit. I think it had owls on it (it was the '70s, mind you). I have distinct memories of running away from my poor cousin, Rich. I remember hiding in his closet and under the bed while he held out my swimming suit, hoping I'd get into it willingly. No chance. 

Funny too, that I eventually learned to swim and today it is one of my great enjoyments in life. I swim laps from time to time with my friends Lauren and Janet. The friendship is great. The swimming is wonderful. Go figure.