Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chapter 3 Grapevines
As Elizabeth was heading back into the living room from rescuing Dillon from the little Princess she heard trudging up the stairs. She knew those feet without even looking. It's funny how as a mom you recognize the footsteps of your family without seeing their faces. Sure enough, there he was, giving her a quick glance and heading over to put his book bag on the dining room table. "Hi Mama" came the low greeting from her 15 year old Wayne. "Good morning Wayne" Elizabeth responded.
Wayne made his way to the kitchen to start his morning routine. He opened up all the cupboards to see what had changed in the last 24 hours when it came to food. His hope is that he would stumble across a new sugar cereal or maybe even a real treasure, a honeybun. Alas, no such luck. The cupboards still held the usual cereals; cheerios, kix, life, and some oatmeal both regular and flavored. He closed the cupboards disappointed, opened the fridge and poured himself a monster cup of juice and resigned himself to that. It always amazed Elizabeth that he chose just juice every morning. There was bread and bagels on the counter, eggs in the fridge, bananas and apples almost always in abundance, as well as the aforementioned breakfast foods but he would rather forego eating than eating any of that.
After he swigged his juice he grabbed his book bag. "All right, bye Mama" Wayne said as he headed for the glass sliding doors to go out and wait for the bus which would be there in about 5 minutes or so. "Wayne, it's getting cold out there… Don't you think you should throw a coat on? Seeing as it was December now, winter was upon them and it was really chilly in the mornings, especially standing outside waiting for the bus. "I've told you mama, I'm fine." He responded dully as he walked out the doors in his jeans, sneakers, t shirt, and hoodie. Elizabeth sighed to herself. Not only was Wayne at that age that it wasn't cool to wear a coat, but Wayne was her tough nut. He never really bonded with her and most days acted as though he could care less about whether she was in his life or not. It wasn't all Wayne's fault though.
She had a tough time with both Wayne and her oldest daughter Samantha who was now 18 years old. It was almost as though they tag teamed her at times. Things would be wonderful with one, and the pits with the other. Then they would switch, and things would be rough with the other and great with the opposite one. When Bob and Elizabeth got married years ago, Elizabeth dismissed the fact that they would have any family issue whatsoever… Samantha was 8, Wayne was 5 and Bob had full custody of them for years. They were young enough that she thought it would be a piece of cake to get married and be one big happy family. She had been na├»ve.
When separate lives and families intertwine there always some tangling and mangling. But the fruit in the long run would be beautiful, sweet, and make the most wonderfully flavored wine. Her family was like the grapevines, woven together tightly, almost stifling at times and definitely out of control most days, but the grapes were so large and luscious it was absolutely worth the years of pruning. There may be a year where the fruit is scarce, but then all of a sudden the vines are filled with clusters of beautiful fruit. Those two had been through so much in their brief years. It wears on the heart when your biological mother comes in and out of your life as she chooses. Elizabeth tried to show them that she was there for them no matter what and that she loved them no matter how hard they tried to push her away but sometimes the only thing that heals wounds is time. She knew that someday God would work in their lives and show them how much she cared about them, even when life felt strangling to them.
One of the things Elizabeth had to work on was showing them physical affection. She internally loved them very much, but didn't show them as much as she ought. She came from the upbringing that when you got to be a certain age, it wasn't appropriate to be overly affectionate with your parents. A brief peck on the cheek was enough. Her parents loved her deeply, she knew this, but when you are used to this kind of relationship it's difficult to change. Her daughter Samantha especially craved a physical affection. She always said it's because she didn't get a lot of hugs and kisses when she was tiny. It was a real challenge for Elizabeth to step out from the way she had been raised to hug and kiss her teenage daughter and son. She realized this was one thing that needed pruning in her life and she struggled with it, but she was working on it and hopefully in time it would become easier, before it was too late.
Elizabeth prayed for all of her children regularly. She knew that God was the one in control of each and every one of their lives ultimately. The love she had for each of her children was different but equal. She didn't love one more than the other, but she had very different relationships with each of them. She knew that someday those little grapevines would become big beautiful vineyards and was ever thankful that God allowed her and her husband the opportunity to prune and be vineyard keepers for a time.
Children begging for breakfast brought her back to reality. Time to feed the troops, maybe she would check to see if she had any grapes in the fridge to serve with their breakfast…

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