About three weeks ago I had a tough Saturday evening. It had been a busy morning and afternoon, we had oodles of family plans and a going-away party and a birthday celebration, too.
At the same time, our son had evening plans to see a concert in Costa Mesa. He had decided to take the train down from Newhall to Union Station and get on another train, and when it was over then he’d take the train back to Union Station, arriving around midnight. His plan was to then Uber home. But my husband told him he’d be happy to pick him up, and so with that plan on the table, Mother Hen Jen’s peace of mind was restored.
It’s not that I’m opposed to everyone having their own plans. It seemed with all the family stuff going on that weekend, I had hoped we could all be in one place. At any rate, with much of the day spent as planned, our son went to the train station to sojourn down to the concert. No sooner did we get back from dropping him off at the train, he texted that it was delayed, and that hopefully it wouldn’t affect the other train he needed to get on at Union Station.
Let me give you a little background here. Before he went off to college at the University of Oregon, I knew that would be one of the hardest adjustments for me. Why, you wonder? Because truth be told, I adore having my family nearby. I love having them in “Jen’s Nest.” I loved it then, I love it now, which is why when our son was looking at colleges, I made sure my husband was the one who would go with him to check it out, because my energy and presence often take up a little too much room. It’s not a flaw, per se, it’s just who I am. So, I knew in my heart both my husband and son would view everything through their eyes and I trusted that. After all, I wasn’t the one who was going away to college.
So off they went, father and son, on a little adventure, a chance to explore and for our son to decide if being an “Oregon Duck” was what he wanted.
And when they returned it was apparent that is where our son wanted to go. Later that week I was putting the suitcases away. I had finally had a chance to get everything done, the laundry, replenish the travel bag toiletries. And it just so happened that I was in the garage getting ready to put the luggage in the area where we kept our travel stuff. And I had the door open and was walking around to the front yard and I saw a woman with a small child in the stroller and being the “Jen” I am, I waved and said, “Hello!” The little boy waved and said something, but I couldn’t hear him, so I walked over to them and introduced myself. And the woman told me her name and her grandson’s name. Then the little boy took his hand and pointed to something, and said, “White duck, white duck.” I looked around a little perplexed and he continued to point to my house and specifically the chimney area. And said, “White duck, white duck.”
I said, “Hmmm, do you mean ‘white dove’?”
And he said, “No, white duck.”
I said I don’t see anything, but thank you for letting me know. I’ll be on the lookout, though. I smiled and turned to go back into the garage to continue sorting the luggage and I wondered about the “white duck.” It was interesting because I had taken the morning off to get all the stuff done, and had I been at work I wouldn’t have seen them walking on the street.
I got to thinking and knew that had been a “God Wink” and the man above was letting me know that “all was well.” With me having this mindset, which I’ve had for many years, I knew to watch for the signs and the God Winks, especially when you needed a little more comfort.
So, the train being delayed, caused the other train to be missed, which caused my son to be a little late for the concert. Ah, but I wasn’t worried, I knew he was going to have fun and then take the train back and my husband would get him and the hecticness of the day would be over.
Ooops, spoke too soon. Lo and behold, after the concert, another train was cancelled and now he was in Santa Ana, and my husband was already on his way to Union Station as all of this was happening. I was home alone and this close to tears. Call it being overtired or call it being overprotective. Whatever it was, I couldn’t hold it in anymore, and I started to cry.
He ended up reaching out to his friends who had been at the Angels game. They were stuck in traffic and were happy to get him, and he went to their house for the night and the next morning got on the train and landed in Newhall around 11:30 a.m.
Let me share one last thing. The word “Guardian” is very symbolic to me. It will appear randomly when I need that gentle reminder that there is someone watching over my loved ones. The number of times I’ve seen that word are too great to mention, but I will say this: When my son was traveling to Joshua Tree, right before the restrictions of COVID-19 were tightening, I had to go to the city for a client. I found myself circling around and couldn’t quite remember where I needed to go. My heart was worried as COVID was becoming worse and I hoped my son would be safe and healthy in Joshua Tree. Just as I turned to go get back on the street I needed to be on, I saw the word Guardian on a sign for a health care facility, and I knew in my heart it would be all right.
Ironically, that Saturday morning, when we were getting ready for our busy day. I was sorting through some paperwork and items on the counter. I grabbed one that was addressed to our son, and it was from Guardian for his dental insurance. I smiled knowing that whatever the plans of the day and evening laid in store for us, that I had the reassurance I needed.
Who knew that the trains would be so chaotic and undependable that day? And while I would have wanted my grownup “duck” home safe and sound that night, I realized something very important, that the man above had a greater plan, I mean what were the chances that my son’s friends happened to be at the Angels game, and to be able to pick him up?
But more importantly I learned that my comfort level is not always the “only way” and that I, too, needed to learn from this experience and understand the word “guardian” means a defender, protector, or keeper and to cherish that “still small voice” always.
Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.