A couple of weeks ago, a baby bird fell out of it’s nest into our front yard. Our neighbor Mary Sanchez saw it first, and was careful not to disturb it when she mowed her lawn. The next day, when Bob and I came home and parked out front, we heard a commotion. I walked toward the hedge that separates our yard from Mary’s, and was surprised to see a squawking baby crow standing in the grass. It’s mom was nearby, warning me to stay away from her baby, so we backed away and left the situation alone. We weren’t sure if the mom was taking care of her baby, or what, so we watched closely. Very soon, there was no doubt that she was a good mom, and in fact there was also a good dad in this situation. A few days went by, and while we worried about cats, this little baby bird continued to thrive…miraculously.
The day did come when we were forced to intervene. Our little baby bird decided to go and stand in the middle of the street…and it was a hot day. We debated on what to do about this situation, and determined that if we didn’t move it, a car was going to hit it, or the hot asphalt would kill it. So my brave husband donned a pair of gloves, picked the bird up, and moved it back toward our back yard…dodging the dive bomb attempts of the mother. All we could do then was stay away and hope the parents continued their great care of their baby. The baby continued to get bigger, and the parents were always around, so we decided that our bird rescue had been successful.
Of course, like all children, the day came when our little bird again decided to go into the street, and so began bird rescue take 2. Once again dodging the dive bombs of the mom, Bob picked up the bird and put it back near our back fence. That turned out to be to best plan, because the bird decided to check out the back yard, and we began to worry less. The baby has stayed in the back yard, and out of trouble for the most part. We had to chase off a cat twice, and now the parents are a little bit more tolerant of us…at least when the cat shows up. In fact, I think she likes us then.
I have had the opportunity to get some great close up photos of the baby, and finally today, I was treated to the chance to observe lunchtime. Flying lessons have begun, but this is a big baby, and it’s wings aren’t long enough yet. Nevertheless, it’s parents know that it needs to build up its muscles so that when its wings catch up with its body, it will be able to fly. This has been a wonderful things to watch, and while we know that our little baby is still not out of danger, we have high hopes for it. One thing I can say for sure, this job of raising baby at 60+ years old is a lot to take on. I know now, why we all have kids when we are young.
Not every great grandmother is so blessed to have a really close relationship with their great grandchildren, and it is even more rare with the youngest of twenty great grandchildren, in which the oldest one is twenty four. My mother, Collene Spencer was a very blessed woman. Her relationship with her youngest great grandchild, Aleesia Spethman, who is my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s granddaughter, was one that was the rarest of the rare, and just as blessed for both of them. Aleesia has three older brothers, and at two years of age, taking her to all the activities the boys are into is difficult. That works our really well for my sister and it also worked quite well for our mom, because they got to see the baby often.
For Aleesia, the two relationships were different, even though they lived in the same house, and spent the time together. She loved both her grandma and her great grandmother, but the relationships were very unique. Aleesia decided that Mom would be called GiGi. Aleesia is too young to know that our mom was her great grandmother. The name GiGi seemed very fitting to my sister, because Mom was, after all Aleesia’s great grandmother, or GG. Aleesia loved coming over to GiGi’s house. Every time she came over, she would run in calling for GiGi. Then she would run over to see her. Aleesia trusted GiGi implicitly. Every time she was there, she would pull Mom’s walker over to Mom’s chair and climb up on it. Then she would jump from it into Mom’s arms. It never occurred to Aleesia that Mom wouldn’t catch her…she knew her GiGi would always catch her. It was a relationship that was so sweet to watch.
When Mom went to Heaven, the family and especially Aleesia’s parents, Jenny and Steve Spethman, and my sister, Cheryl, were worried about how Aleesia would deal with that, especially since Cheryl would continue to live in Mom’s house. She has done pretty well. She asked about Mom often at first, then she seemed to understand that GiGi wasn’t there, but even a two year old Aleesia is not immune to those ton of bricks moments. The other day, as Aleesia and my sister, her grandma, Cheryl were coming to the house to spend the evening at Mom’s house, Aleesia ran up to the door excitedly like she used to before, and knocking on it she said “We see GiGi?” Then she stopped and looked down, like she realized something. She turned and saw Mom’s car parked on the street, and with a really sad face, she said, “She’s not home.” Such a sad thing for a little two year old to have to try and understand, because her GiGi has always meant so much to her.
Every child goes through it. That age when they get their first bicycle, and they learn to ride. Most times they get that first bicycle for Christmas, or for their birthday, which can be bad if that birthday happens to be in Winter, because there are few places to ride it in the Winter, unless you live where it is warm year round…not the case for my family. Those birthdays weren’t a problem for my sister-in-law, Marlyce, who was born July 9th, or my daughters, whose birthdays are in June. Their birthdays were the perfect time to give them that long awaited bicycle. When they were little, having a tricycle was the greatest thing, but as they began to notice that there were kids out there who could ride the big kids bicycle with two wheels, that tricycle started to really look like a baby bike to them. When that happens, you know it’s time to get that first bicycle.
By the time they get their first bicycle with training wheels, they pretty much know how to use the peddles, having spent several years on a tricycle already. So there isn’t much work involved in training them to ride this new semi-big kid bicycle. The main things are how to go over the bumps without tipping over, and how to take the downhill runs without having a wreck. Most kids learn that part pretty quickly and for my girls and Marlyce, there weren’t a lot of hills to ride on…up or down, so that was pretty easy. We lived out in the country then, as did my in-laws, when Marlyce and the kids were little, so there wasn’t much traffic to deal with either, but the city kids had to learn about the street and the dangers therein. I think that was a bit of a relief to ma, because I really didn’t want to deal with them being in the street much at that age.
Kids do pretty good on their bicycles with training wheels, but it isn’t too long before they decide that they are big enough to ride without training wheels. For me, that was kind of sad, because it meant they were growing up, and I really didn’t want them to. Little did I know then that the rest of their lives would rush by as fast as those first few years and before I knew it they would be all grown up, and have families of their own. Nevertheless, time waits for no man, and the girls got to that age where they had to have those training wheels off. They learned to ride on two wheels with minimal trouble, and they were soon riding their bicycle to the neighbors house, and the to kids house down the street. It was just the beginning of their being able to get themselves where they wanted to go, and the beginning of my days of wondering exactly where they were at any given moment. Thankfully they were pretty good about checking in and getting home by the times I said, otherwise I might have hated that age more that I did the simply fact that they were growing up.
Can a house feel lonely? Well, maybe not the house itself exactly, but it really can take on that feel after the loss of a loved one, and the moving of the other to a nursing home. We have been preparing my in-laws’ house for the sale to my nephew, JD, and the more things that get removed from the house; the more lonely it feels there. When I think back to all the wonderful times we have had in the 24 years that my in-laws lived there, it feels like the house took on their personalities to a large degree. That is the way it goes, when you own a home. You pour your own style into it, and it becomes almost an extension of you.
All the good times and the sad times that went on during the years they lived in the house, keep coming to the top of my memory files. I remember the sadness we felt when Marlyce passed away, and the excitement as each new baby came into the family. Gone are the times when the kids would come by before a dance or to trick or treat on Halloween. Gone is the noise that was always in the house…the television that was always on and turned up loud so my father-in-law could hear it, the laughter and chatter from all the visitors they always seemed to have, and even the rumbling of the oxygen concentrator that was a mainstay in the home for many years. Gone are the birthday parties, holidays, and family get togethers. All are gone from the home now, and it is quiet…too quiet really. That is an amazing thought, since they lived on one of the busiest streets in Casper.
It’s funny, how much my mother-in-law hated the noise of the street, and yet loved the flurry of activity that always accompanied that traffic noise. Everyone stopped what they were doing when an emergency vehicle went by, and grumbled at the loud motorcycles and vehicles when they roared by. Toward the end of their time there, it was all that traffic that gave them something to look at and wonder about. Their chairs were set up so they could look out the big front window and see the hubbub of activity going on, because whether they ever admitted it or not, they liked all of it…except maybe the noise in the summer when the doors and windows were open.
I’m glad my nephew is going to buy the home, so it stays in the family, and I’m glad for the home that it will once again have someone living in it…someone who will remember the good times that we all had there for so many years. Oh I know that JD will change the house, add things, and make it his own…that is inevitable, but to us and him, it will simply always be remembered as his grandma and grandpa’s house…at least somewhere in his memory files…and that makes it all feel better somehow. A house needs to be lived in. That is its whole purpose for existence, and when it isn’t lived in, it is simply a house…so lonely.
When my grandson, Caalab was 5 years old, he came up to me when we were getting ready to leave to take him, his sister, and his cousins to school, and said, “Good news Grandma!! I just got my driver’s license!! So…I’ll drive!!” I laughed and told him, “I don’t think so.” Of course, he was joking, because that was what Caalab did, and still does. I have thought about that funny little statement many times in the years that have followed, and it has always put a smile on my face. Today, that statement will no longer be a funny little joke, because today, Caalab is 16 years old, and will be going this morning to get his driver’s license. I can’t believe that the years have gone by so fast.
There are those who wish this day hadn’t arrived, and the one I never would have expected is Caalab’s sister, Shai. For so many years, she had wished that she wouldn’t have had a brother, and would gladly have sold him to the highest bidder, or even the best offer, but in the last couple of years. The opinion Shai has of her brother has softened tremendously. She has been taking him to school and other places since she started driving, and while that hasn’t always been wonderful, mostly it was good. Now she is feeling a little bit sad that she won’t be doing that anymore. It feels a little bit lonely, I’m sure. Shai wishes her brother wasn’t going to be driving, because with both of them working and getting out of school at different times next year, they just won’t get to see each other as much as they had when Shai was taking Caalab to school. Nothing will be the same again, probably not for the rest of their lives. Life moves so fast, and sometimes we just don’t notice until the moments have passed us by. Yes, they will always be sister and brother, but they will be busy with their own lives.
I know how she feels. As life changes, it always seems like there is a little twinge of sadness. When they come into my office to show me their license, and then I watch them leave, it feels like you have just turned that little 5 years old loose on the street…in a car…alone!!! It just doesn’t seem possible that they have grown up so quickly, but they have, and will continue to grow up, because non of us can stop the hands of time. Time marches on, and old things are left behind.
So, today when my grandson, Caalab comes into my office to show me his license, I’ll do my best to smile and not shed a tear. We’ll take his picture, like we did his sister and his cousin when they got their licenses. We will all be excited that he is beginning this new phase in his life. No one will have to go pick him up anymore, or plan things around the time he gets off work, because he can take himself now. Still, in the memory files of my mind, I will always see that little 5 year old boy saying, “Good news Grandma!! I just got my driver’s license!! So…I’ll drive!!” Today is Caalab’s 16th birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a great day!! We love you very much!!
I was looking through some of my mom’s old grade school pictures, and the names on the back. I find myself amazed at the number of names that are familiar to me for one reason or another. I have lived most of my life right here in Casper, having moved here when I was 3. My mom has also lived here most of her life, with the exception of the first 6 years of her marriage, so I guess it stands to reason that there might be a name or two from her classmates that might have stayed on in Casper.
It was just somewhat unexpected I guess, although I don’t know why. Some names, of course, were common enough so that I wasn’t absolutely sure, but many were names I had heard…from my friends. One is the mother of a girl who was my best friend in junior high. Another was the mother of someone who was a client of mine a few years ago. Another was the same last name as a mortal enemy, later turned friend from junior high. And there was one who was related to someone I bowled with.
A name that really amazed me, although it probably shouldn’t have is most likely the daughter of a man who developed part of this town, because there is a street named after her, and again the name is not a common name and the street carries both her first and last name, so what are the odds that she isn’t the same girl? Pretty slim I’d say.
As I looked at the faces…kind of searching for a face that looked like one I use to know…it occurred to me that I was really looking at something very special. I was looking at the past, and the past had met my past, and who knows, maybe that past might just meet the future, because who knows how many of the children of those kids have stayed on here in Casper. It is totally possible that while the names might change due to marriage, many of the families remain the same, and my children’s children might go to school with the great grandchildren of classmates of my mom’s…as the past meets the future.