My Calendar Speaks

As a young mother, I kept a large calendar on the kitchen wall. The year belonged beside the phone, a pencil tied to a string and hung from a hook.

Baby checkups, co-op preschool, and elementary school activities occupied the months in my life.

During those four brief years in our Berkley bungalow, our firstborn walked to Oxford school and returned home for lunch. One of our favorites was a fried bologna sandwich with mayo, lettuce, and tomato. When the calendar said Mel wasn’t working out of town, he’d joined us.

In summertime, he took a dip in our above ground pool before he drove back to work. Our middle daughter learned to swim with her Daddy.

After the birth of our third daughter in fall 1976, I filled the weeks with doctor’s appointments before and after her emergency surgery at four months old. Be sure I praised God when I later turned October’s page and anticipated celebrating Ruth’s first birthday November 13.

My four fertile sisters produced a total of thirteen nieces and nephews whose names I scribed on my calendar in their birthdates. There was always a baby shower or birthday in cue.

In the peak of our extended family’s population including grandparents and great-grandparents, every month of the year offered one or more birthdays and anniversaries.

All the stars aligned one special Christmas to gather my entire family within our mother’s Kentucky home. She was in her glory to see her offspring safely lodged in every bed and on each sofa.

In hindsight, it seems that summit of family gatherings lasted a minute. Our children grew up overnight and left home. One by one, names and birthdays disappeared from the twelve months displayed in my kitchen.

In fall 1994, I installed my 386 computer on my firstborn’s vanity table in our kitchen and commenced my journalism career and journal writing workshops. I moved my phone and calendar to the computer table.

March 1995 my father passed. Death claimed our firstborn in July 1996, then Granny the following March. I logged this exodus of beloveds best I could in personal journals. My calendars of those stricken years did not survive.

Yet, meaningful ritual is not easily cast away. We yearn for the truth and life it speaks.

I needed the visual year before me as I had for the assignments of three daughters. The daily frames brought tangible duty to each sunrise, rest upon the Sabbath, and experience at month’s end to revise and achieve my goals.

As I review 2017 from January to December, I am reminded that only two uncles and one aunt remain of my Kentucky kin.

Dear Reader, my calendar speaks who and what matters most to me. Sometimes I am rebuked. Even so, I’m encouraged because I have faith and hope in God’s love to guide me through this pilgrimage.

As an older mother, I keep 2018 before me upon my desk. On it I have written birthdays, anniversaries, and appointments.

God’s will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.