Friday, October 27, 2017

Nothing Gold or Baby Blue Can Stay

As summer gradually ends in September, we dream of relief from oppressive heat and antagonizing mosquitoes then welcome a pumpkin flavored and scented October as fall slowly tip-toes in with a landscape so brilliantly painted, people drive, walk, and climb for hours and sometimes days, delighting in its splendor.   

    For me, October brings more than pumpkin lattes and hours of leaf raking.  My favorite month delivers joy and sorrow. This year, my oldest son, Luke, turns twenty-five, and my youngest son, James, turns eighteen, while their mom adds another year, an age known only to her closet friends.

Luke & Mommy
Although often ridiculed, I was a mom who kept her little boys in baby blue and overalls until they were unavailable in their sizes.  I didn't consider Luke and James little men when they couldn’t talk, walk, or feed themselves. They were my babies, and I decided to dress them as such. I knew as soon as they wore khaki pants and knit shirts for the first time, they would resemble men in their attire from that day forward. Being warned of the brevity of baby days, I wasn’t ready to trade baby blue for navy or footed pajamas for big boy sleepwear.

    My love for Luke and James strengthens and my joy being their mom grows with each October birthday, but I don't know too many moms who don't miss holding their baby boys, watching their wonder at simple things, or showering them with public affection without embarrassment.

Each October is one year removed from rocking them to sleep, holding their hands, helping them set up train tracks, reading bedtime stories, baking special birthday cakes, and tucking them to bed with a stuffed animal or blanket. 


    Robert Frost offers an honest reminder of the transience of life in his poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

    Gold, as a hue, doesn't hold in nature. In spring, gold buds on the willow tree quickly become leaves. Golden sunsets last less than an hour.  
     Life in Eden, with its river Pishon, where gold was found, quickly sank to grief with the loss of Adam and Eve’s innocence and their knowledge of good and evil.


I miss baby boys in baby blue being blameless, free from deceit and worldly experiences. As boys in baby blue, their worlds consisted of people who loved and protected them.  They hadn't been left out of a crowd or bullied, failed a test, or experienced a broken heart.  Nor had they mistreated anyone intentionally.

Luke's graduation
Univ. SC
James & Katy
Cades Cove, Tenn.
    Today is special, too, though. Luke and I talk about work and football, and he lets me call him Sunshine when friends aren't around.  James and I watch storms and work jigsaw puzzles together, and he lets me call him Jaybird or JayJay.
     Through experiences, they now possess knowledge of the world and make choices while the people who love them most make fewer decisions for them and pray about the scary concept of free will.
       To grow up is to become acquainted with evil, to sin and experience guilt, to become too smart for our own good, become our own gods and rely on our own knowledge.   

 In October, I watch maple leaves turn a rich red or bright orange, then bright gold, but as quickly as I had packed up baby blue blankets and pajamas, the gold disappears.
    The trees are still there, though, and those two sons are still mine.  They've experienced life, sin and guilt for twenty-five and eighteen years, and now their innocence, and ours, is found in God's wisdom and grace, which steps in and declares us blameless when innocence is gone. 

You wore baby blue and read in my lap.
You found your blanket and took an afternoon nap.

Luke & Ralph
We colored our skies baby blue, sang silly songs and made pumpkin treats.
We played with our golden dog and held hands crossing the street.

I folded and stored your baby blue and let you swing by yourself.
I drove you to school and put trophies on your shelf.

You picked out a wall color darker than baby blue and did your homework at night.
You played games with your friends, grew taller and stopped believing I was right.

When the sky is baby blue, we sit on the porch and talk about being old.
We laugh. We cry. Then October fades as quickly as gold.

A happy mom and her sons
Isaqueena Falls, SC
Happy Birthday Luke and James,



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