Back in October, I set an appointment in my calendar to plant tulips – tulips around my home, tulips at school – I put them everywhere. I had hopes of a beautiful spring full of blooms.
A lot has happened since those beautiful fall days, and as I look at those green leaves emerging, I think of that moment, and I am thankful that I took the time. What should I do today for my July or October self?
So many slices this month have included birds. I enjoy many birds on our farm, but vultures are some I just can’t find a place for.
I know vultures are key to the ecosystem as scavengers who are truly cleaners of nature, but they just kind of creep me out.
Vultures are not attractive birds. Our native species with their bright red heads, too small for their bodies, hold their beady eyes, continually scanning for signs of death.
As I drove home today, I noticed the beautiful sunset and the fact that it was still light out! But as I approached the river, I saw them. At least a hundred in seven to ten cauldrons flying those sinister circles, around and around. And more were covering a tree on the hillside as I rounded the corner.
It must be spring because the vultures are back.
Side note: I am interested to see if this large group was the native turkey vulture or the invasive black vulture. I will likely soon see because we have a bent tree that is a vulture hangout below our house.
Thank you to Stephanie Affinito for the inspiration to write to something I am thankful for.
Dear Nightstand Lamp,
When I first saw you in the store, I knew I had to have you. You would serve the same function as my current lamp with your light touch power switch, but you promised so much more.
Your ability to charge my phone without a dedicated cord and cube have been nearly life changing and has reduced my nightly arguments with the boys by a few, as they no longer steal the cords from you.
I love the angles of light you provide and ease at which you turn on, no matter my disarray.
I so enjoy finishing my day each evening and starting each day, too, with you right there by my side.
Is work ever play? Does play often feel like work?
This weekend included a couple of activities that made me contemplate these questions.
The first was on Saturday as we moved from the last basketball game toward the baseball season. I was reminded how much work is involved for my sons to play their many sports – not only the time spent in the commute and during their games and practices, but the work to purchase the gear and wash the gear and find the gear before each game or practice. Most definitely more work than play from one end.
While already in town looking for new baseball cleats, we decided to get a first load of mulch. While most of this load was headed next door to my MIL, I will bring home and spread about 40 bags to keep up my flowers and another 10 or so on my blackberry patch (I have to try something to combat the summer weeds). Many would see this mulch as major work. While it is physical labor, ‘playing’ in my flower gardens is one of my greatest joys.
This two sides of the coin continued as we ‘worked’ on the farm – moving troughs and feeding hay and grain. It is work, but is also something we typically enjoy.
Then there was the cleaning of the house in order to get ready for next weekend’s birthday party for my youngest. All my boys (husband included) see this as ‘helping Mom get the house cleaned up!’ This statement will make me go through the roof, as if I am the one who dirtied the house!! And all the house work is house work, very difficult to turn into house play. But together it typically goes faster and now we can have our play next weekend, even if it cost us a lot of work today.
When he started playing, I was so worried – worried he wouldn’t get any playing time, worried others would make fun of him, and worried that these new friendships would change if his performance on the court was not what they had hoped.
But throughout the season, I learned – he didn’t care about playing time because he was learning how to play, and no one made fun of him because they all make mistakes at times. And his new friends have turned out to be some really incredible boys.
I also learned that I can’t stop my son from trying something because of my insecurity in handling the failures that may occur. Lots of lessons we won’t soon forget from this season.
Her ride was not at the stop. That happens sometimes.
Grandma was called and would come to the school to get her, and so we waited.
She had a collection of stickers that kept her busy and gave us something to talk about.
As we set there with the school doors open feeling the cool breeze, there was suddenly the strangest noise coming through the open door!
Her head whipped to the doorway (I don’t know how she keeps her glasses on most of the time!).
‘What WAS that!’
‘I don’t know, what do you think it is?’
‘Some strange animal.’
‘Partially correct; I think those are geese.’
She now gets up, stickers long forgotten, the outside mesh still stuck on her pants.
‘I can’t see them’, as she strains her eyes in the twilight).
‘No, but we can hear they are there.’
‘Those are some strange geese.’
I agree with a smile.
~~I was reminded tonight by JCareyReads’ post to celebrate kids. I really just wanted to go home tonight, but am glad I got to share this moment with a pretty special girl who typically is just a bit annoying and can be sassy, but is really quite unique in every sense of the word! She should also be celebrated. Here’s to you KL!
I loved reading as a kid and continue to love it. I am rarely found without a book in my hand, in my bag, in my car, or on my desk.
Strive as I may, my boys have yet to catch this love. Sometimes they will stay with me for the Bible adventures – especially when it is a battle scene or special miracle, but getting them to sit relatively still and read and listen is always a chore.
Tonight, there was some urgency in the reading. Why do they wait to the last day, the last hours?? How many times did I remind them of the points and the books? How many times did I offer to help? How many times can something be brought up before it is considered nagging? How do I not want to be a nagging mom!
The oldest son was motivated by his teacher this year and has knocked the points out of the park.
I don’t like to compare . . . but getting the bare minimum is not a comparison, but an expectation for the quarter.
So here we are at the almost final hour reading about the Chincoteague ponies, a story and location I have mentioned that #2 son would love to visit. His interest is piqued.
What? There is another book about the pony, Misty?
Tomorrow is library time. Maybe I can get that book and we can read it.
Maybe I can get a jumpstart on 4th quarter points.
Me: That sounds like a great idea. And yes, I would love to read it with you.
Maybe, just maybe he has found his love in a place I didn’t think to look – to a far off island with a horse named Misty – one of my first loves of a book I treasured.
Today is my Aunt Kathey’s 70th birthday. And I am so glad I chose to take the day off to spend it with her.
She is a very special person to me. She taught me how to play pitch and how to drive (for real do you have any idea how hard it is to have your aunt as your driver’s ed teacher?!). She and my Uncle Bob took my older sister, Emily, and I on our first flight. And that was the trip I fell in love with DC.
She taught me how to coach and to love the game of basketball. She taught me that store-bought stovetop stuffing and pies made by someone else can still show care and be delicious – it’s truly the thoughts and the prep that counts.
As we went to celebrate today, it was not only her birthday, but also the end of this pandemic that we celebrated. We last went out together in January 2020 and this celebratory lunch was much needed by both of us.
And in our true fashion, nothing goes off without a bit of a hitch. As I drove her car, she apologized a couple times – it is really hard for drivers’ ed teachers to stop instructing. But I told her I often still hear her voice as I round a curve, ‘Get into the curve before the curve gets into you.’
As we pulled up to the restaurant and I shut off the car, I thought it was more teacher coming out, as she said there is a warning, and I needed to restart the car. So I did, and shut it off only to get the same warning that the key was not detected. She was ready to get our order to go and not get stuck with a car that would not start, but after a quick call to a dealership, a short visit to the auto parts store across the street, and a changed key fob battery later, we had a car that would shut off and an incredible birthday lunch to enjoy.
The meal and the company were so wonderful. And, in honor of Uncle Bob, I ordered dessert, of which Aunt Kathey ate the strawberry, their typical ‘sharing’ of a dessert.
Even though making arrangements for headstones may seem morbid, for me it is another opportunity to honor those you continue to think about and to help those still here to demonstrate the love and care for those who are gone.
We loss Uncle Bob in December 2019, our whole world was turned upside down before the whole world turned upside down. The void he left in this world cannot be filled, but we try in different ways. He and I shared a love of flowers, something I carry on when I can.
Uncle Bob took great care in selecting flowers for all the headstones in his family plot. Even though some of these ‘relatives’ are only those in name, my Uncle Bob was married to my dad’s sister, Kathey, I knew these people in different ways. I want to continue to honor them, as a tribute to him as well.
On my way home to visit Aunt Kathey, she reminded me of the flowers. I found a great selection and bought more than we might need, but better too many than too few.
As we chatted tonight, I put the arrangements together. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed doing those arrangements. It had been some time since I made silk arrangements, but my fingers and eyes were not at all rusty. I forgot all about this hobby, typically only put to use to help out with wedding flowers or outdoor planters, and even those have been awhile.
It felt good to be doing something that I enjoyed for someone I miss, but who would have been honored by the gesture and the creations.