Friday, April 28, 2017

The Happiest Day by Linda Pastan

     On this day, our final daughter (#4-Tess) and I drove to Appalachian State University for a visit and a meeting to finalize her plans to transfer there later this year. It was a picture perfect day to drive from our section of the Blue Ridge Mountains to a more southerly section of the same mountain chain in North Carolina, three hours away from home. We chose a route that would take us through lazy little towns and winding country roads. We crisscrossed the Appalachian Trail, past abandoned farmsteads, tiny country churches, rushing, rocky streams, and deeper into the heart of the mountains. By my estimation, this college visit was the tenth in my parenting career. Of them all, I can see why this is Tess' choice. Appalachian State, or App. State as it's called, is nestled in the mountains. It has an outdoorsy, hip and happy vibe, and it offers the International Business major that Tess seeks along with a Fine Arts minor should she so choose. As we walked around campus and around the town of Boone, North Carolina I could see in Tess' expressions and body language her interest and excitement in pursuing her dreams here. She needs to be independent of me, of us. Our youngest daughter is ready. She is looking outward and away from home... as it should be.
     As any parent will attest, raising a child to become independent, and successful, to leave home, is  our basic purpose. We strive to present the world with an asset to humanity. In retrospect, I can humbly say that my husband and I have accomplished this and we present the world with four gems. I say 'humbly' because they are precious gems despite our parenting blunders, psychological and genetic baggage, discipline mistakes, attempted do-overs, and the lack of any parenting experience whatsoever, to name just a few challenges. By God's grace they are beautiful, kind, gentle, intelligent, miracles. : )
     So, as I begin to mentally prepare myself to let go, to release the white knuckle grip I have on our last daughter, I'll post another poem that reflects my heart today.

The Happiest Day
by Linda Pastan

It was early May, I think
a moment of lilac or dogwood
when so many promises are made
it hardly matters if a few are broken.
My mother and father still hovered 
in the background, part of the scenery
like the houses I had grown up in,
and if they would be torn down later
that was something I knew
but didn't believe. Our children were asleep
or playing, the youngest as new
as the new smell of lilacs,
and how could I have guessed
their roots were shallow
and would be easily transplanted.
I didn't even guess that I was happy.
The small irritations that are like salt
on melon were what I dwelt on,
though in truth they simply
made the fruit taste sweeter.
So we sat on the porch
in the cool morning, sipping
hot coffee. Behind the news of the day-
strikes and small wars, a fire somewhere-
I could see the top of your dark head
and thought not of public conflagrations
but of how it would feel on my bare shoulder.
If someone could stop the camera then...
if someone could only stop the camera
and ask me: are you happy?
perhaps I would have noticed
how the morning shone in the reflected
color of lilac. Yes, I might have said
and offered a steaming cup of coffee.



  1. Best of luck and many blessings to your Tess.

  2. "we present the world with four gems"

    We, the world, are quite blessed for that gift.

  3. That sounds like the perfect school for Tess, given her reaction to her surroundings there. What joy to be starting out like that!

    And this is a joyous post - you have such a wonderful family, full of love. No wonder your girls are gems!