[A neglected yet wondrous front yard in Cambridge, MA; January 31, 2013]
No paperwhites this year. My pretty, blue-and-white Chinese bowl, ceremoniously filled with smooth, small stones, water, and five or six bulbs on New Year’s Day and then placed on the piano, remains in the basement. My ninety-year old mother, preoccupied by her move into assisted living, didn’t distribute carefully bundled bulbs at Christmas to her children and grandchildren. Didn’t even mention them.
So, naively, I walked to Tagg’s last night, a locally-owned, new-style version of a country store. Hardware and upscale kitchenware and small appliances and nifty umbrellas that don’t collapse in heavy winds and garden supplies? Yup; Tagg’s got them. Paperwhites? Seems you’re supposed to buy paperwhites in November! Oh.
As my daughters would say: “A First -World Problem.” I get that. Believe me, as I sit here, warm and dry and safe, I know that the lack of paperwhites is not a big deal, okay?
And I get this: my mother’s no longer able to mother me; not really. And I get that although I’m a mother and grandmother and much loved, I will always long for that mothering. I’m too much a Quaker to whine about this. Just sad.
But, hey. There’s all kinds of love. At least four, according to the Bible: Storge, the familial love that once upon a time drove my mother to her version of Tagg’s to buy paperwhites; Eros (Yum); Philia (so very present in the halls of Congress these days, right?); and my personal favorite: Agape.
I will always remember my Wow! Does Everybody Know About This But Me? reaction when I first learned about all-loving, unconditional agape, that love that passeth all understanding. Pretty sure I was going through another divorce at the time. Pretty sure I was singin’ “When Will I Be Loved?” a lot. (BTW: did you know that Phil Everly, who died last week, wrote that song after he’d split up from his brother?)
And, hey: the wonder of a precious, living thing unfolds every Monday in my living room when I get to spend several hours with my granddaughter.
I mean, c’mon!