Consider yourself warned. With a title like that, this post is going to toddle any which way.
I will start by telling you about my birthday, a day my husband only had a four hour shift. We planned to make a double celebration at the park, one facet being birthday cake and the other being all kinds of junk food for the children’s end-of-school party. They only get cheesy balls, cream soda, and gummy sharks after a Tremendous Effort: an entire term of studying culminated in a wonderful bash of cheetle fingers and sticky pop.
We had loaded our trailer with bikes and fishing gear and chairs. I had my new book, the one I bought as a present to the teacher of the children. And I had their year-end presents, always books. Fresh ones, of course. It is the highlight of our year. I put a lot of time into choosing stories they will enjoy. Maybe sometime I can post the list of this year’s picks. They were an exceptional success, according to the boys.
Gabe and the boys fished for hours. I am astounded at the patience that surrounds the art of fishing. While they stayed at one spot, the girls and I went on a walk, then we went to the bathroom. Twice. I took pictures. We rifled through the picnic basket for more snacks. The girls biked and colored and found wild flowers. And the guys just. Fished. Then Rita got into it as well. Gregory was immersed in his book, only surfacing every 10 minutes to ask about when we are going to eat the cake. As long as there are written words and sugary carbs in his life, he is perfectly contented.
I slipped away by myself for a meditating sort of walk, which was lovely. The trees were madly abloom, and riotous with birdsong. I started out feeling kind of complicated. It is bewildering to find that the years between 28 and 38, which feels like very little time at all, have slipped away. How did this happen? This amazingly convoluted life with its intricacies of relationships and making a living and keeping life graceful? Part of being a wife/mother is losing yourself for the sake of other people, and in the shuffle of it all it is easy to become impoverished in soul.
I struggle with the term “me-time” for various reasons, but it is an undeniable fact that life flows much more sweetly when I maintain a quiet heart, whatever it takes to do that. Lakeside reading helps. 🙂
As I was walking, I noticed the Baltimore orioles swaying and drinking nectar out of the blooming trees, then flying to the tip-top to sing their hearts out. There were cardinals doing their dip-dip-dip flight beside the path and bluebirds flashing brilliant blue from bush to bush. I saw herons flapping along and Canada geese bossing everybody who got close. Every one of them was going about the business of family making. The longer I thought about how they just catch their bugs and find the right twigs to reinforce the nest and stand guard over their babies, the more I got the parallels. It appears to be a charmed life, very uncomplicated. I doubt any mother bird goes to bed cogitating about how she got to be 38. She is just grateful to still be alive, wouldn’t you say, as she busily sorts the worms into the right beaks. Gabe thought I may have taken the allegory a little far, but Jesus did tell us to consider the fowls of the air. So I did. 🙂 And it didn’t feel so complicated anymore. Bird-brained. I suggest we begin to use that term for blithesome trust.
I have spent so much time outside in the sun this week that my skin feels crackly. Today I planted ornamentals in the pots on the deck and herbs in my plot in the garden. The baby basil was so little that I will have to coddle it, but it smelled amazing. I can taste Caprese salad already. To my annoyance, the dog deliberately plodded over my parsley plants, but it looks like it will survive. If not, there is a pot of it on the deck, as well as one of mint, lemon balm and yarrow. This is the first year I had the bright idea to fill out my planters with bits of perennials that I already have in my flower beds. I dug out hosta plugs and used the ivy I had kept in the house over winter. All winter my mom babied our geraniums from last year in her sunny windows, so I only needed a few things to round out the containers. Whenever the children get bored this summer I will automatically say, “Go water the plants on the deck.”
They have been swimming in the pond for a week now, these brave little tykes of mine. “It’s not cold! Come on! Join us!” they say. I politely decline and sit on the bank. There are too many fish in there, and too much squishy mud on the bottom.
Yesterday Gabe brought home a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers for an early Mother’s Day, since he is obliged to work tomorrow. The children have industriously followed his lead. Rita practically climbed a tree to break off dogwood branches. She brought me so many that I had to use the juice pitcher for a vase. Gregory found a scarlet trillium and a white one, as well as some pink mallows and other wildflowers that I can’t name. I have lilacs in our bedroom, tulips here and there, a huge jar full of yellow daisies, also gathered by Rita in the woods. I read this progressive article about Mother’s Day, where it was suggested that flowers may not be the most appropriate expression of esteem for a mother. “Here, let me just cut off the reproductive parts of lots of plants and give them to you,” the author stated sarcastically. I am still rolling my inner eyes, but if she prefers chocolate she can have it.
Let me show you what our ornamental tree looks like right now. And of course, that dreamy garden shed that my husband designed and built.
I have a trivia question for you. Take a guess as to how many things you carry in your purse/hand bag/diaper bag/Thirty-one tote if that is how you roll. Then count and see how many items you actually had. I promise I will show you the contents of mine just for fun.