Pleasant Hills, PA.
Somewhere in the lower file in my pile of memories.
We had collected enough empty pop bottles along the side of Old Clairton Road to redeem them for a quarter each. A whole quarter! You could buy a lot for a quarter in those days. For some reason I opted, on that particular day, for a long slender cellophane bag of Rain-Blo Bubble Gum; big round colorful balls, dripping with sugary, syrupy yumminess. And for some reason I opted, as well, to stuff the whole bag of balls into my mouth in one fell swoop. My lips pursed over my rotting teeth and I sort of rotated my jaw in a careful chewing motion, trying to inhale and swallow as I worked the sugar rush into a massive wad of yum. I remember thinking this was almost too much goodness to bear at one time.
And so it was.
And so it is.
Three days in June.
June is chock full of wonderfulness. We are trained to feel the pleasures of June from our youth, the anticipation of summer, the end of school…the staying up late, the sleeping in. The chlorine waft of the swimming pool mixed with grilled chicken and freshly mowed grass. June is a muscle soothing rhythmic massage after a marathon of May. It brought me my Annie on its very first day, and my brother in law and nieces and others. Joyful June. But there are three days that wad together so deliciously that the heart can hardly contain the sweetness and it sort of drips out the figurative corners of the mouth and I have to slurp and slurp to keep it with me.
June 24 gave me THIS:
A girl to take my boy’s heart. She cherishes it and keeps it beating properly. This is a meaningful thing to a mother who loves her son and must let him go. At the same time she also took our hearts and keeps them close. Ashley Parker was born to Marsha and Jared Parker, who graciously allowed her to change her last name to Connors about a dozen years and three children ago.
This year June 24th also gave us THIS:
Joseph David Petersen, delivered with grace and dignity by my firstborn daughter, Sarah Connors, who took the last name Petersen about a dozen years ago as well. Isn’t he divine?
June 25 gave me THIS:
My love of loves, the joy of my heart, the most trustworthy and devoted man in human existence. I realize what a rare thing it is to be able to say I have loved this man since I was 18 years old…I still love him…and I anticipate loving him until there is an end to loving (which I don’t believe is in God’s plan). I knelt across the altar from David in the Washing DC Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints thirty five years ago yesterday; his hand clasped in mine. I looked straight into his eyes…straight through the pooling water…and gave him my heart and mind and strength and weakness and body and soul and future and past and all that was and is and will be. And he took it willingly. I adore him. I am grateful to have pushed through doubtful blips which are common to all marriages, because on this end of it there is deep and calm and joyful peace in knowing this man is at my side forever.
June 26 gave me THIS:
The one on the left. I have loved her from the day she was born, fifteen months after I was born. She is my confidant, my advisor, my partner in creative crime. She is my fall-back and my push forward. She will speak truth when I need it, and remain silent when I don’t. She is devotion personified. She is the greatest of human gifts. We share a mother, a darn grand set of siblings, a passel of kids who think of her as their other mother. She is the other corner in the sacred triangle between her house, Gardner’s house and ours. She is completely unaware of how central she is in so many lives and I love that God let me be her sister.
I check the calendar on my iphone. Tomorrow has plenty of responsibilities and joys in it. The days will move on and little baby Joe will grow and bring all sorts of stories and delights to look back upon. And we will, God willing, grow old as the memories move down in the stack of goodness accrued in our lives. But today…this day in late June when I am chewing as fast as I can the sweetness of it all…I pause to swallow slowly and savor the flavor of love.