Growing up, Ansley and I spent a week or two every summer at my grandmother's house in the almost non-existent town of Coats, NC. This one-stop-light town in Eastern, NC epitomizes all that is good and bad of the rural south - safety, community, faith, farming, poverty and racism.
But for us, it was heaven for those two weeks. Mama Lib's house was full of love and healthy discipline. The weeks were a balance between work in their very large vegetable garden and fun days at the Moose Lodge pool, vacation bible school and drives to larger towns for their bowling alleys and water slides. I learned all about picking peas, shucking corn (and the little nasty worms that sometimes accompany it), shelling pecans, even digging up potatoes. We were allowed to pick whatever cereal we wanted from the grocery store for that week. What a treat this was as we were only non-sugar cereal like Cheerios in my house. I always went for Lucky Charms, while Ansley, the sugar addict that she was, went for Frankenberry or BooBerry with all of its food coloring and cups of sugar.
Our only cousin, Alan, lived with my grandmother for a few years and he is an integral part of my wonderfully fond memories there.
One summer, Mama Lib took us to a fish farm to hear about how they raised the fish. At the end, we were allowed to take a tadpole home with us. They lived in a bucket outside her carport and we named them. We watched in anticipation nearly hourly as they slowly grew legs, tails disappearing. One morning we checked on them and there were only two left. One had jumped the bucket, setting out for his new adult life. Later that day, the other two disappeared. We were sad as it had been a fun adventure and lesson in nature.
This all came to mind to me yesterday. Jay took the cub scouts on a hike around Pilot Mountain. Sadie tagged along as well. They came home happy, but worn out. Sadie found some friends to bring home, too. As you can probably predict, I now have a bucket on my back deck full of little tadpoles. Already this morning, they have been checked on by their Mother Sadie at least four times before leaving for church.
What a lesson for me now, as a mom. I watch my own children so closely with anticipation, love. They are growing faster than I would like, each day bringing new changes and challenges, laughter on new levels and conversations with more depth. Suddenly, I know, they will be adults, ready for the world. And, I am sure, I will be filled with much more sadness when the fun adventure of having them under my roof and under my watchful eyes is over.