That was my discovery when my son, an eighth grade language arts teacher sent me an email explaining that they were writing memoirs in class, and, I guess while his students were writing, he was inspired to write a “Slice of Life” piece which was inspired by my style of writing.
Always the wise guy, as all my sons seem to be, he titled it as being from Things My Parents Taught Me. I share it, with a smile. He knows me – not just my style of writing – so well.
There’s a weathered house around the corner from me, where the bushes grow feverishly, aiming to devour the tattered relic.
Where a faded American flag flutters solitarily. It’s a home where a shutter gracefully dangles on paint-chipped cedar shingles. Where cracked windows are marked with the battle scars of childhood rock throwing. Where a gate sways on a hinge, drunkenly guarding the distant memories etched in the house’s history. Where a broken rocking chair sits on time warped planks, grayed by years of weather. It’s the kind of place many passer-bys would miss.
It’s the kind of place my mother would love.
She’s always had a penchant for gentle simplicity and for distinguished houses. The kind of house that needs some work and calls for that special someone to restore the beauty, to realize the potential. I think a dream exists for her – a dream of moving into a house around the corner and accepting the challenges that await, even if they are daunting.
She is not one to shy away from difficulty, to allow the task to leave its mark on her. She would see the house for what it could be – and who knows, maybe she would bring her husband to help, because it seems he’s pretty good with his hands, and I’m sure there would be a leaky roof and damaged walls and worn floorboards.
But I also know that it’s easy to miss that house, if we’re not looking for it. And it seems that often we, as people, don’t see it. We don’t see that we have become like the house around the corner, battered by many storms, grayed by time.
We don’t realize that we have left too many repairs unattended, that we have forgotten to make an investment in ourselves and in others. And as we examine who we are or who we have become, hopefully we see that, in the end, we are worth restoring.
I wish I wrote that.