the peonies are waxing, pink-feathered and fragrant, and i snap off a few blooms and inhale and wish you were here. you’d like these guys.
back when we lived in the townhouse and i was maybe five, nate and i had this inspired hobby of tossing dirt clods at the neighbor’s fence. do you remember? and we scampered home and you asked us if we’d done it and nate said no and i said no and our palms were streaked rust, the telling color of earth on an old volcanic island.
you made us walk back and turn ourselves in, ask forgiveness of the neighbor lady. i was nearly certain i’d evaporate from humiliation before we ever reached her door.
i think about this when i consider how i knew you loved us.
you did the other stuff too, the freezer popsicles and reading through all the Little House books. sewing my easter dress from too-expensive fabric (that dreamy cloud of white with tiny flowers) because i crooned over it with feeling. the seventy thousand soccer games where you baked on the sidelines and never minded that i was rarely gutsy enough to shoot.
but it’s the dirt clods that stick with me, and all the other moments when our character or honesty came up wanting: how you didn’t gloss over the lies or the jaundiced grasping-for-more.
you refused to make excuses for us, and this made it plainer, easier somehow, to see my stark need for God.
i celebrate you today, mom.
thanks for loving us with enough tenacity to keep us honest. for a fragrant childhood, and the gift of a reckless, insatiable yearning for Christ.