I knew the day would come when I would be an early riser, for it seemed most “older” people eventually told stories of the unthinkable hour they found themselves awake.

Those of us who are up and about early in the morning know what a peaceful time of day it can be.  

Sometimes the morning moon and I spend time together as I sit at my computer and type. When I notice a bright little spot in the skies, I look to see if the moon really is peeking in through the west window. I find myself saying, “Well, good morning, Moon.” And although I say no more, certainly the moon can feel my thoughts and know it’s looking awfully pretty.  

There it is, hovering in the sky, letting me know it has returned for an early morning show. Sometimes there is a cloud cover – in many shades of grey – moving back and forth and adding to the beauty of the morning skies.   

 Then there is the east window where I know the sunrise will be happening soon. I watch as the early morning skies go from darkness to a shade of blue – sometimes periwinkle blue. Then pink and mauve show up before a golden yellow mixes in, and the sun makes its cameo appearance.

I sometimes remind myself it’s the real thing, not a picture painting.    

It’s a wonderful feeling not knowing which way to look. The sun is in the east, and the moon is in the west. Shall I watch the sun appearing or the moon disappearing? All I know is I am watching some magnificence going on.

 The need to tell my friends that they must take a look out their window overcomes me and the texting to those who are early risers begins. It’s as if I know something they don’t know, and I must share so they do not miss out.

My husband’s Grandma Parnham, like most grandmothers, was an early riser. Those who knew her would tell of her pie baking skills and the fact that a warm pie was something that came out of her oven in the early hours of the morning.

People in the community knew that Grandma was the pie baker at The Yankee Pancake House, a restaurant so close to her home it didn’t matter that she never drove a car.

It was always fun to hear people of her generation tell me they visited the restaurant just to enjoy a piece of her homemade pie. I should have asked them what kind of pie they ordered. Was it butterscotch?

A friend once told me that Grandma Parnham’s name is so cute, it should be on the front of a children’s book. I agree. There is a book waiting for me to write.

When I asked my husband what his favorite childhood memory was, I already knew the answer. I just wanted to hear him say it. He spent many days with his grandmother and many hours in the barn on her farm. He has nothing but good memories of times spent in her little country home.  

Farmers don’t need a text regarding the moon, for without a doubt they already noticed what was up in the skies as they pulled a little morning air deeply into their lungs on their walk to the barn.

Grandma Parnham’s way of life always looked so simple. Doilies in place upon the furniture inside her home.  Heirloom plants in the landscaping outside. A barn that makes you ask what year it was built, for it seems it had been there forever.

I wonder how many kitty cats were born in the barn and claimed it as their home where they tumbled and played with their siblings.

When I turned 50, I remember making a decision that I was going to have the best decade imaginable. I had become a grandmother at the age of 47. My husband and I were empty nesters. The decision to have the best decade ever seemed quite simple. Very logical. I now laugh as I look back at the years behind me and all the changes in the world.

On the morning of my 59th birthday, I was awake early and typing away at my computer. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a bright light peeking through the window at me.

I smiled and asked, “Is that you, Moon?” 

The cloud cover was making the moon appear then disappear, and I felt I should quit typing and pay attention to my first birthday gift of the day.  

My family had sent an arrangement of fresh flowers to me, and they looked quite beautiful on my dining room table. I decided the flowers ought to follow me around for the day. So that’s what I made happen. I set the flowers on my desk and my peripheral vision kept me in awe of the moon and flowers as I typed away.

White roses and white daisies. Red alstroemeria, tiny green mums, and pretty berries. A reminder that God really loved us when He designed the world we live in.

No matter the date and year He chose for our birth, we were put on this earth to live our own life and times – no one else’s. Everyone experiences their own set of sunrises and sunsets. Their own set of problems. Their own set of joys. 

I remember hearing that life on earth was going to pass by quickly, and I would someday know what it is like to be a young girl living in an older body.

Indeed, I found it’s true: The years pass by ever so quickly. We look into the morning mirror, and our reflection is peeking back at us. It’s the real thing, and we would never ask an artist for a picture painting of what we’re seeing.

It may be that our hair has taken on many shades of grey. Or maybe silver or white.

After we ask who that person in the mirror is, we need not say more. We just need to wake up a bit and come to our senses. God is the One Who knows what we are going to look like when we get older, and we ought to be able to feel His thoughts and know He thinks we’re looking awfully pretty.    

During the middle of the day on my 59th birthday, a good friend knocked upon our front door. Inside the gift bag she handed me was a small carved angel with flowers in her hands and just the right words inscribed upon her dress. I set my new little angel girl on my desk, where she will always be in my peripheral vision.

Then my grandchildren called me, and I heard them sing the Happy Birthday song. It made me realize that even the birthday song changes over the years. Long ago they sang to “Marlene.” Then they sang to “Dear Mom,” and now I am “Dear Grandma.”  

My birthday ended on several perfect notes – pun intended – when I opened an email to find yet another note before heading to bed. There within my friend’s email was something I had never received before: A Birthday Prayer written just for me.

As I begin the last year of the decade I will always refer to as my 50s, some things are for certain: I will continue to be a moon watcher. I will buy as many flowers as possible – some for you and some for me. I plan to hug a little longer and hold on a little tighter. My friends and I will take more road trips to find the places that serve the best homemade pie. It might be butterscotch.  

As the person peeking back at us in the morning mirror appears to be taking on changes with each passing year, perhaps all we need to recognize is the magnificence that is going on as God molds us into the older person He intends for us to be.

© Marlene Oxender 2022