laura packardSpring has sprung.

         Then clocks were flung – when some of us realized we’d lost an hour’s worth of sleep.

         Where does the time go, really?

         If only I could find it, I’d like to get some of it back, please.  And it’s not like I’m asking for too much. It’s only time, after all . . . not carb-free calzones, roomier airplane seats, or world peace.

         My oldest daughter, who refuses, like me, to grow up, always seems to have the right answer for questions such as these.

         Her: “We need magic beans. Are magic beans in season?”

         Me: “I don’t know.  Let’s Google it.”

         See, my daughter, because she is so acutely aware of her surroundings, is in no hurry to hurl herself directly into the harm’s way of life.

         If you were to tell her, “go on, the world is waiting for you,” she’d ask if it’s some sort of trap.  You know, a place filled with heartbreak, hunger, unrealistic health care premiums, and 5 dollar gallons of unleaded gasoline.

         I get you, sister.

         I, like you, want to live in a slice of space where joy is eating Chick-Fil–A Polynesian sauce with your finger, love is unconditional, and freedom is sleeping in and watching Saturday morning cartoons while eating buckets of Captain Crunch topped with whipped cream.

         Sometimes when I watch my daughter turning cartwheels barefoot in the grass, her long wavy hair trailing behind her, she reminds me so much of my Aunt Beverly. I adored her as a child. 

         I adore her still. 

         As the wife of my mom’s youngest brother, Beverly seemed more like a cousin than an aunt, even though she was 19 years older. On the weekends we would drive to Colbert, GA; I couldn’t wait to see her, making the hour and a half drive seem twice as long. As soon as you were sprung free from the car, she would chase you around and around the house, tickle you until you were utterly exhausted, and let you brush her lush long, blonde hair for hours on end without complaint.

         Beverly was light and air and pixie dust.

         She was beautiful.

         She loved daisies, too. I remember them in vases at her house, loosely arranged and lovingly picked. They embodied her, as well, with their simple elegance and innocent beauty. Like Beverly, they signified kindness, patience, loyalty, and love.

         I still think of her whenever I see a daisy.  And if I were to close my eyes, I can picture her running through the woods, laughing, her long blonde hair flowing behind her, forever young. 

         See, I never did get to see her grow old. She lost her battle with breast cancer at 38, when I was a freshman at Georgia.

         She never got to see her two young kids, Kimberly, then 11, and Chris, 9, grow into adulthood, either.

         Time, that tick tock span of inevitability, can be cruel, sometimes too. Well, a lot of times . . . if we’re honest.

         But what if that makes the young at heart, the youthful spirits, the Beverly’s of this world the wisest of us all?

         What can we learn from those who have the insight and sensitivity to know the heartaches and pains of life, but instead embrace the joys and small wonders of the world all the same?

         If I could say anything to all of the up and coming bulbs as you sprout from the earth and grow towards the sun I would say this: live your life with the same wild abandonment, love of life and curiosity as Beverly.

         I’m reminded of the song ‘Forever Young’ written by Bob Dylan around the time Beverly was 18. He wrote this after taking a break from touring and had become a father: 

“May God bless you and keep you always

May your wishes all come true

May you always do for others

And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars

And climb on every rung

May you stay forever young.”

“May you grow up to be righteous

May you grow up to be true

May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you

May you always be courageous

Stand upright and be strong

May you stay forever young.”

 May your song always be sound as “you build your ladder to the stars.” Stay honest, stay pure and stay forever young.