Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Trees, Mothers, and making it

Trauma has occurred in the backyard.

It was one of those moments where time actually slowed down. I am chagrined to write that but it’s true. Time changed for a moment. It bent or warped or slowed or something and over the stupidest thing too. It wasn’t a family member in danger or anything, it was a tree.

It was a hot day and the weeds in the back yard were threatening to consume the grill and our outdoor seating so Eric rolled out the lawn mower.
I was in the kitchen doing something, I’m always in the kitchen doing something and I can hear the lawn mower. I’m not sure what triggered it anymore. I think it was Ana, standing at the back door softly saying something about her tree.
But this is the part I remember clearly, my brain ticking like the second hand on a pocket watch, slowly, methodically, moving forward one click at a time. And then my body springing into action and the words coming out of my mouth and my ears hearing them like slow action in a film, “Eeeeeriiiic, noooooo, Aaaaanaaaaa’s treeeeeee.” Like OJ Simpson I leapt over the dishwasher door (not the finally jailed murderous degenerate OJ, but the rental car hawking football phenom OJ.) I plowed into the back door just in time to see the lawn mower shred the tree that Mayor Hickenlooper gave to Ana and that she and I worked together to plant. It was just a pencil thick trunk with only two measly leaves but it was our tree and now it was a two inch stump barely distinguishable from the rest of the weeds around it.
Pandemonium ensued. Arms waved, feet stamped, fingers shook, admonishments were admonished but alas, the tree was toast.
In the aftermath I did my best to hide what were unexpected tears on my part. I’m not sure why this set me off. Maybe it was flash backs to planting my own tree with my father and this being the sentimental next generation of tree planting. It might have been that. Maybe my hormones were off kilter throwing me too close to the abyss.

But what strikes me now is not my tears afterward but rather those seconds before it happened when suddenly my brain could see the future. The moment of clarity that said RUN right before I got there a nanosecond too late. I knew what was going to happen, I knew it with certainty that made me successfully leap over our dishwasher door, careen around the counter, and crash into the back screen door. I knew what was going to happen, with certainty, with clarity, with absolute conviction, I knew.
And I reacted.
I missed.
But it was just a tree. A small Red Maple with a pencil thin trunk and two waving leaves, it was only a tree. Just a tree.

Moms have these dreams sometimes. Nightmares where their child is precariously dangerously poised on the edge of some precipice, and their entire motherly bodies leap into action, and they miss - wake up, sit straight up in bed, heart pounding, breathing heavily and then swinging out of bed to walk down the hall to reassure themselves that it wasn’t real.

But it was just a dream. Only a dream. Just a dream.

We could Thank God at that point and perhaps we should although sometimes, I suspect that when it's real, He’s hoping we get there in time too.

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