I stood in my plot last night, the sun down but the sky still bright with lavender and honey. A doe walked by with her two freckled fawns. We saw her pregnant and then saw the babies brand new. We see them every day, marking the passing of summer with the fading of those white dots.
GIRLS. I whisper yelled to my daughters and they took giant tip toe steps to my side. The fawns nursed, violently pulling and biting at the doe. She steadied herself against the feast, swaying between her two babies, just on the other side of the garden fence. She then jumped straight up and over the fawns. They stumbled and followed after her. She kicked at them. They stopped and waited. She locked eyes with the fawns. She said something with her eyes. She walked, they followed, right at her side up the hill into the night. Good night.
I run in the mornings, usually pushing Ruby while Margot bikes by my side. Sometimes they don’t want to go. Usually, they really don’t want to go. They protest and hold grumpy stares as I tie my shoes and begin. I tell them I need this and we are in it together. I tell myself that they will remember riding creekside as the sun greets the day, they will remember our conversations about the difference between diamonds and crystals, they will remember a strong mama who gives all day and asks for this from them. I hold my tongue when the run is over. I want to say See! Look how awesome we all feel! Look how fun that was! Look at your smiles! I don’t. They know. I believe joy eclipses annoyance, especially when we make it so.
Ruby: Margot, is the end of the world coming?
Margot: No, Ruby. We don’t have the end of the world here. We are just alive.
Ruby, pressing her forehead together into a deep vertical crease: Hey look Margot! I made a vagina on my forehead!
The snow dumped heavy and steady for months. It melted into rivers under the bluest skies for months. Our spring was blooms upon blooms up hillsides, spilling into raging creeks. Everything slowed when the heat sauntered in, except the gardens. Roots snaking deep into the earth, greens sun saluting the warmth, fruit gaining circumference by the hour.
We haven’t had time or space to camp yet this summer and I am itching to get out there. And so we leave tomorrow, just my daughters and me. Not sure where yet; we will pack up and land where we will.
Last week, my daughters and I spent a morning knee-deep in strawberry plants, the air thick with heat and sweetness. The night before we realized Ruby’s vision and slept in the tent on the trampoline. MAMA, she said, so stunned by her own brilliance she was barely able to speak the words. I have THE BEST idea.
I had my usual foraging tunnel vision: my body bent over, my arms sweeping green leaves from side to side, my eyes earnestly in search of the shiny red prize. Despite the fields being somewhat picked over, we managed to gather up 16 pounds.
Margot and Ruby ran the rows and sat in the shade with friends. In between bites of peanut butter sandwiches and games of tag, they joined the mamas in picking.
I remembered last year in this field. I held Ruby much of the time. Margot tired of the experience after about an hour. This year we walked the field for more than two hours and never once was I asked to leave. I took note, appreciating this increasingly autonomous season of parenting. And just a little bit missing the last.
Like this year, last year I stayed up into the dark, quiet hours past midnight making strawberry jam. Listening to music, my hair stuck to my humid neck as I stirred the sticky, jammy mess. Continue reading
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I visited northern California last month for a refueling four days with my two best friends. I met Lindsay when we were 11. We were barefoot in bikinis and our dads’ jobs had brought both of us to suburban Atlanta. Neither of us liked it there and we liked each other a whole lot. She stepped on a giant frog moments after our introduction and we squealed and laughed and that pretty much set the tone for the next 25 years.
I met Paige in my college dorm bathroom when I dyed my hair red. We held hands through our freshman year, drinking too much beer, thinking too much about boys and not enough about school. In a tower of young women vying for sorority placement, we connected over environmental activism, a love of art and desire to travel. Turns out two fish out of water learn to breathe together.
Some of my daughters’ friends will be lifelong friends. They will remember things shared and lost. They will remember firsts and finals. They will grow up and move away. They will save airline miles to travel to their childhood friends’ homes. Continue reading
After swim lessons this morning, I suggested a walk. Without plan or expectation our saunter turned into a hike.
My daughters motored up the switchbacks and I was reminded of how grown and capable they are. Ruby whined only once that she was exhausted and, as always, it was about 12 steps into our walk. And, as always, her recovery came as quickly as her agony had set in.
At the fourth switchback, Margot announced the people below us were surely evil pirates trying to get our treasure and that we best hurry to the M. The hike turned into a game and they ran the rest of the way, pausing to cast spells and take nibbles of a snack. Sticks were wands, rocks were hot lava, grass seeds were fairy dust.
On yesterday’s walk I was a witch. On today’s I was simply a grownup who wasn’t allowed to pass children and had to carry the water and croissant.
We made it to the top ahead of the evil pirates, just in time to claim our treasure: two lightening storm wands.
1. Spontaneous adventure is a luxury. When we free ourselves from forecasting what comes next, all weather is perfect.
2. Hike in whatever shoes you’ve got. Our journey does not depend on gear.
3. Eagerly suggest to take a picture of strangers. The offer will warm their hearts and the documentation will be greatly appreciated.
4. Imagination is a powerful tool. We can flip our perspective from tired to energized, from anxious to empowered, from sad to hopeful – simply by imagining how we want to feel and creating a scenario that supports it.
5. Begin. Rest. Keep Going.