Because my high school pep band totally rocked Sweet Caroline back in the day, and because I’m still nostalgic over the night my brother once treated me and my husband to a certain concert in Oklahoma City’s Lloyd Noble Center, a burned copy of The Essential Neil Diamond was playing in the CD player as I was being chauffeured around the West Valley a few days ago. Sadly, I was miffed because I was spending some of my precious “free time” taking Daughter #2 around to pick up job apps. My driver was Daughter #1, and as she steered into the wrong lane approaching a stop light, I lost my composure and succumbed to a mid-life mother meltdown. It was a mother of a meltdown, too. It brought a whole new context to “You hardly talk to me anymore when you come through the door at the end of the day.” If I didn’t shape up, that would soon describe me and my daughters. So…there is a subdued and dimly lit new wing in the gallery of my conscience; it’s filled with scenes depicting a mother begging forgiveness as she traverses a grey phase of parenthood, a phase which demands that she overcome her fears and releaseher babies into the streets and establishments of the big, wide world.
What I need to do is travel down another wing in the gallery of my memory. There I would view scenes of another teenage girl. I would be wise to stand long before the scene where the 18-year-old is merrily driving her Pontiac hatchback alone across the entire state of Kansas – with complete confidence in the goodness of heartland farmers – without a cell phone, without the experience of changing a flat tire, and thankfully without having yet read “In Cold Blood.” The theme of this gallery is unquestionably obvious. No need to muse upon the Artist’s intent here: “Daughters Are Loved by One Much Greater Than Their Mothers.”
This morning, above that intersection where my daughter veered into the wrong lane, the sunrise shone through silhouetted palm trees, and this mother prayed that faith and grace would shine on all untested roads to come.