I have been thinking on Empty Nesting.
If you heard only part of the following conversation, what would you think?
Try this on:
“I lived in Italy for two years, I think I know how to place a crucifix!”
No. It’s not an out-take from Van Hellsing!!
No. It’s not Halloween!
It’s Tuesday night, the middle of May, and my kids are creating family time around the piano in a segment of MAKING GOOD, not BREAKING BAD! Bah! Um, I had to shut that drugged view DOWN! Well, Mark did in response to my pleading. I was very proud of him for this.
Let me explain. Tonight things got a little spastic, even in the absence of Devon. Devon is off celebrating being a high school graduate at an Ed Sheeran concert. Angel, the comedic one, bumped into and broke our sheet music lamp.
“Ok, stupid Uncle from Home Alone!” she shouted ruefully between laughter at her older, critical brother as he chastised toward an inevitable sweep-up.
Yes, technically, it was the piano light. She bumped it. It fell and shattered into stinging nettle splinters spread across not-so-tickly ivory. If my girls were not the teens they are…if they were instead, children still taking piano lessons, they would actually, for once in their lives, have a valid excuse for NOT practicing. Wow! Endless octaves of shattered glass! Bleeding fingered arpegios! EW!
Let me explain. Within a day or two of my Italian son’s return to Want-a-Sheep, Utah, he contructed a small shrine to Italia and Catholicism on the top of our shiny, black upright piano. I thought this kind of humorous. So, yes, the lamp and the shrine went flying.
Included was a holographic psychodylic Jesus in a crystal cubed prism, a tiny resin Roman Colloseum, a rosewood carved Rosary, a tiny Crucifix, a Palermo souvenoir plate, and companion book, etc. These relics found among a catch-all of stacks of dvds, sundry electronic devices, old red torn NetFlix mailing envelopes, blue ray dvd players, internet routers, hymnals, framed photos, and “Love the Lord Thy God With all Your Heart, Might, Mind and Strength.”
What is quite curious about this display is that Mormons typically frown on anything that resembles a cross, or things presenting as idols. They believe these to be the sad, heavier side of Christ’s sacrifice better left unvisited. Interestingly enough though, another segment of the Christian world views these items in happier ways more associated with Grace and rebirth than a “death” motif.
Before the Ides of March, my Italian son had driven stakes into the piano lid, and resolved to maintaining his window display anyway. Truth is, there are very few who see our front room. Our home is not often frequented by those outside of our family, so it is both fair game, and a safe risk to sport such items.
So what if someone saw this?! It could potentially blow someone’s mind! I have largely adopted the “SO WHAT!?” attitude. It rubs off on my kids, apparently. I love it.
Secretly, I sometimes want to wear the wooden cross around my neck, tucked down, under my shirt and neckline. I might feel Evangelical doing this. Instead I listen to Serious’ the Message, and wear a key-shaped mood necklace, or a cheap plastic, purple bejeweled bracelet. These help me remember I am a treasured child of God, almost royal under Aslan’s gaze and watch….old Narnian. Yes, I am a lover of C.S. Lewis and most things juvenile, fantasy, and full of metaphors.
So my Italian son and Angel are in the front room playing that treacherous glass piano and singing the Imagine Dragon song, “Demons.” No worries. They are perfectly safe. The glass is all swept up and the light bulb replaced with one of the new LED ones I recently bought for the bathroom.
With all the new energy saving bulbs in place, the bathroom is much too bright, and HOT for anyone to remain in the upstairs restroom for more than a few moments. That’s why I told my son to take one of these new bulbs….PLEASE! I am now saving so much electricty AND water, because I can’t bear the heat. I am choosing to not leave the light on, and to not turn the light one either. At the same time, I am not certain that heat genereated is a result of the new bulbs or if it is just due to me morphing into Middle Age Marvel Comic Hero: Hot Flash! In time, I realized it was just the bulbs and the effects of being civically responsible FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE…..me not normally a Friend of Recycle Friday. Me more a friend of the Animals in the Kiva Friday.
Suddenly, Boozer, our dog waddles in from downstairs, wagging a tail and flapping a ham-slice tongue….and I think, as only I do….
“Thou Shalt have no other DOGS before me.”
I know, this is a bad joke.
From this frame I rewind to earlier this morning. I was the last in a long line of students, parents, and facilitators on a hike back to civilization after a few delightful hours of wetland learning and frog catching. Rain, rain, rain….has been the order of the day. From my place at the end of the line I found space and time to ponder and become filled with gratitude.
Everything in that moment felt perfect as I somehow, perfectly communed with God. I felt warm inside and teary on the outside….with or without raindrops. Outside, out in Nature everything feels PERFECT and complete to me. This is how most school days feel, and how some summer days feel. This is how some Sundays feel…and how some friends fill me with love and hope.
Tonight, I am feeling this feeling again. Warm coffee feeling. I am filled and grateful for amazing kids who love to be together, who love singing, playing piano, surfing music and music videos…and being fun and creative.
What will I do when the nest is empty? How will I naturally preserve when love grows wings and takes flight……away from home and far from the reach of Swaner Nature Preserve?