Gazing out my window onto a blanket of newly fallen March snow, I found myself staring at my forsythia bush. Looking a bit unkempt, the springtime bloomer, however, seemed so impassioned, waiting in earnest to unveil its inner beauty.
Perhaps, I thought to myself, like so many perennial plants, the forsythia had a “God Clock.” It just KNEW when to bloom.
I laughed as a childhood memory raced into my mind...
“Cathy!” Mom shouted, holding the front door open with one hand and pressing the other to her brow like a visor, in search of her twelve-year-old tomboy in dirty overalls and baseball cap.
“Be right there, Mom!” I yelled from my perch up in our huge maple tree that, to me, was so much more than a giver of shade in summer and a tattletale for the coming of fall.
I climbed down the first few branches and lowered myself to the lowest and most solid of bark-covered arms. In anticipation of hanging by my hands and dropping down the last few inches to the ground, I swung down to my chest to position myself for the final decent.
“Ouch!” I yelled, but pushed off, grabbed the branch in both hands and dropped to the ground like an old pro. Dusting myself off, I headed to the house.
“Wow! That was some dismount!” Mom said, smiling and glancing at the ever present dirt on my play clothes. “What made you say ‘ouch’?”
“Oh, I don’t know, it just hurt when I landed on my chest to push off onto my hands.”
“Oh, I see! Growing up, are we?” Mom smirked, brushed her hand through my windblown hair and directed me into the house.
“What do you mean by that?” I said, a bit tersely, since I felt that twelve was certainly “grown up” at the time.
“You are developing into a beautiful young lady. It’s your time to bloom!” She said in a shaky voice, staring at the buckles on my overalls.
I looked down, and shrugged. “Oh, you mean, well…I guess.”
“It won’t be long before it will hurt to catch a football, too!” My dad laughed, walking in on our conversation.
I started to walk away from the whole embarrassing episode, but something stopped me.
“Mom, how does my body know when to start, well, blossoming?” I stammered.
“You have an internal clock, a ‘God Clock,’ if you will. It knows, right down to the minute, when to make the necessary changes in your body so that you can grow up and become the beautiful and wonderful young woman that you are meant to be.”
“Oh, kind of like the story of the grasshopper that becomes a butterfly after a while.” I smiled, feeling proud that I had figured it out all by myself.
“Sort of,” said daddy, in his attempt to weigh in on a mother-daughter conversation, “except that a butterfly forms wings and flies away, and I mean to keep you close till you are old and grey!”
“Oh, stop it, Allen!” Mom exclaimed, swatting him on the shoulder as he passed by, newspaper in hand, to his recliner.
I just rolled my eyes and went upstairs to my room, hoping to avoid catching my father’s glance.
A few minutes later, my mom came up the stairs.
“Hi honey,” she said, softly, sitting down next to me on my bed, “I hope your daddy didn’t make you feel embarrassed. It was very mature of you to ask questions about your development.”
“No, I laughed, he didn’t. He was just playing.” I tried to hide the fear that suddenly came over me when I thought about bobbling a spiral pass on the playground.
“Just remember, she continued, “no matter how you look on the outside, it is who you are on the inside that counts.” Mom kissed me on the forehead, then took my hand and placed it over my heart.
Shaking my head clear of the last few scenes of that precious memory, I focused my gaze, once again, on my forsythia bush.
“I guess I’ll just have to be patient and wait for God’s timing,” I said to myself.
Just then, a female robin landed on one of the bush’s sturdier twigs and, sporting the most beautiful reddish-brown breast I had ever seen, she stuck out her chest and broke into song.
I laughed and thought, “Wow! She sure is proud of HER development!”
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