It has been a long week of rain and words and sweat pouring out, so when the sun arrived today, I wasn’t concerned so much with what I did, so long as it involved me digging in the garden with my bare fingers. So I did, I chased the sunlight around our property. Rested in warm patches of concrete and crouched on wooden stumps, listening to music and tending to what was before me.
A few quiet cries rose in me. They’d been building in my body; crowding my chest in the mornings, making me weary at night. I’m learning that some sadness requires earth, industry, song and solitude to be coaxed out of hiding and allowed to tell me about its grief. It needs me to go into the garden and pray in order for it to feel safe enough to find witness and relief.
Zaviera joined me as I found myself arranging the flax and grasses blessed to us by whanau in the river stones around the fire pit. Peter and Awhi chased one another through the silver beet and artichoke; a giant and dwarf, the odd couple of rabbits trying to deal with the close proximity of their relationship and the insanity of their inherited life. Standing in the pair of yoga shorts she’s recently inherited from me, flowered leggings, and a striped zip-up top, she held out a packet of gazania seeds she’d found in her bored snooping. We had plans to go to a party tonight but then some other deadlines got thrown at us. We decided to make the most of good intentions and have a night of painting toes and styling hair. Zaviera has been hounding me for a set of hair curlers she can sleep in, like they would’ve done in the old days. A few times she has said, laughing, “I’m going to look like an old lady with them in my hair.”
And when she says these things, laughs like she does, I want to give my daughter everything and anything she could ever need or want.
She is unfurling for me again and with such innocence, that I find myself laughing and dancing and reaching out for her because of the blessing of her simple existence.
I have no other way of telling her just what a magnificent creation she is, so I trail my fingers through her hair, dance for her when she’s only looking, and when she asks me to, I paint her toes and curl her hair.
A few nights ago, she was feeling lonely in her bed, so I told her I’d crawl in and keep her company. As I curled in around her, she reached across to pull out Chronicles of Narnia and her reading light. I sat up and said, “Wow, you’re reading that?!”
I asked because reading has, in her words, “Never been her thing.”
I respected that, never pushed the point. Some people are readers and some aren’t. I heard the shy smile when she whispered, “Yeah, I really love it. I can’t stop.”
“Oh Zavi, I’m so happy you’ve found books. They helped me so much.”
I snuggled into her, so she’d get that I meant it.
Zaviera shook the bag of seeds at me, “Mom! These. Can I plant them?”
All week she’s been buzzing about cultivating flower gardens that can be her responsibility to tend. We’re trying to utilize everyone’s strengths in caring for the day to day business and blessings of our lives.
Zaviera wants to be in charge of flowers, dusting, laundry, baking, sewing, knitting, the things that don’t take her too far away from her comfortable nest. Things that she can do to make the nesting a little more nest-ish.
I studied her for a minute, holding out the bag of seeds, trying to get a gauge of her mood.
And seeing the flush in her cheeks, the engagement in her eyes, I said, “Go ahead, read the instructions, see what you think.”
“Yup,” she nodded. the big pink sunglasses holding her hair falling into her eyes, and without pausing to adjust to the new filter on her view, she transitioned into what it is she had planned to do all along.