Saturday, September 20, 2008

Unintentional Mistakes

Growing up there were three apple trees in our backyard. I loved one tree the most. It's apples were red--not yellow and green like the others. The apples from that tree were crisp and tart, unlike any apples I've ever tasted. After a good frost they were cold and juicier than before. 

One day, as a child, I found a small knife. It was silver with a pearl handle. Unlike the pocket knives my father used to cut string from hay bales, this knife didn't fold up. I liked the way the knife felt in my hands. I liked using it. It was light and comfortable. I took that knife and began stripping the bark off the apple tree--my favorite tree. 

I stripped long strings of bark from the trunk and main branch. I watched the bark curl, exposing the fleshy wood underneath. I thought nothing of it, until my parents found me knife in hand, carving into the tree. They were not happy. What was I thinking? 

My parents explained that stripping the bark from the tree had made it vulnerable. I'd exposed it to disease, to insects, to the elements. The tree, they said, would probably die. I cried and cried. I loved that tree. I loved its apples. I hadn't meant it any harm. I hadn't understood that I was doing something wrong. 

It was the first time that I remember making a big mistake without realizing I was making one. Until that point I honestly thought that I'd have a clear understanding of my choices; that I'd always clearly know wrong from right. Instead I'd made an unintentional mistake.

The tree lived. For many, many years it bore the scar I gave it. It may still, although I think it's grown over. I still love the apples from that tree. I wonder how many unintentional mistakes I've made throughout my life, and I wonder when I'll realize that I've made them. I only hope it won't be too late. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bedtime Chats

My oldest daughter and I like to have bedtime chats. I snuggle down next to her in bed and we talk. Well, we did. About the time my tummy was too big with the baby and I was too uncomfortable to duck under the bunk bed our bedtime chats stopped. 

Tonight we had one again. She told me about her day: school, how she doesn't like computer class, and how she made a tote bag at enrichment tonight. (Someone took my girls to mother/daughter night--how nice). 

Since our new baby was asleep in his crib, I ducked down and we talked. It was nice. It really has been hard with a new baby to give my girls some one on one time. Tonight, though, at least I tried. When I said goodnight and left her room I had a full 30 seconds before the baby started crying. At least, though, there was time for a bedtime chat.  Sleep tight.