August 12 – Quiet in the Storm of Life

by Martha Slavin

park-1319135773TYsHave you had a chance to step outside today and take a deep breath of air? What about a walk in a park where you can be among the trees and grasses?

Today at Osage Park, I walk by a white-haired man reading to his son. His son is not young either, but he sits in a wheelchair with a baseball cap on, with his head slumped against his chest. I wonder about the man. How had he found the reserve in himself to sit quietly with his son and read to him long after his son’s childhood?

We expect our children to grow, leave our homes, and make their way in the world. As with a few of my friend’s children, sometimes that doesn’t happen. Instead, intense parenting, including bathing, dressing, and feeding, continues for a lifetime with help during the school years, but after that, little respite. I watch my friends as they struggle with daily life and find joy in small things. They find resources outside their homes to help their grown children and to give themselves the needed breathing room from the strains of daily parenting care.

A lifelong caregiver could easily be filled with resentment and discontent. Yet I have seen my friends open a space within themselves that gives them the chance to have an accepting and grateful life. Not that they don’t rail against the sky or ask themselves time and time again, “Why me?”

As I walk by the man and his son, I think that the quiet moments allow them to embrace the life they have in a way they never envisioned for themselves. Seeing them together I can see the beauty and grace in the life they have absorbed. Those quiet times carry with them a sense of peace that I was able to share for just a few seconds on my walk around the park.

Martha Slavin is an artist and writer. Her blog, Postcards in the Air, can be found each Friday at www.marthaslavin.blogspot.com She also writes poetry, memoir pieces, and essays. She creates handmade books, works in mixed media, watercolor, and does letterpress. She lives with her husband and two cats in California.

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5 responses to “August 12 – Quiet in the Storm of Life

  1. Beautifully written, Martha. I can’t imagine the patience it takes to be a “forever” care giver. I know that, being a parent, the “job” never ends; but the duties certainly change and lessen as most children grow up and out of your life. But as you so eloquently point out, this is not the case for some parents. I wonder how that affects the love…

  2. Thank you, Linda, for selecting my post. Is the part scene one of your photos? It is a beautiful choice! Cheers, Martha

    Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2015 19:35:46 +0000 To: slavinfamily@hotmail.com

  3. Thank you, Lorna, for your response to my essay. Yes, I do wonder about what happens to the love.

  4. As a person who spent a considerable amount of my life teaching special education (I still teach), I admire those lifelong care givers. Honestly, I doubt I could do it myself. Here’s to all those dedicated people who give and give and give.

  5. Hi Martha:
    A beautiful moment where I see myself sitting on this park bench at peace with your poetic phrases,restful photo and words conveying a positive message within a life of struggle.

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