Dear readers of my words,
I didn’t know I needed it. Did you know I needed it? That I needed to hear from YOU? You must have known. I sometimes find myself gulping nostalgic memories of when things felt gentler on the internet. And I also appreciate the challenge to hold steady and true in the midst of so much noise. You gave me and this space a wholesome boost and I am so appreciative. So, THANK YOU. For reaching out and telling me how you are. I wanted to know, and I read your words in solidarity.
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Mama! Come here!
I’m making coffee. She hollers from her bed, under her polka dot comforter, quilt made by Gram. I step over bright, decomposing piles of leggings and leotards. She says
Do you know what I love most in the morning? I like it when I wake up and you are already in the kitchen with the radio on and making breakfast. I like that the best.
I lift her sleepy big sister from the top bunk and she wraps her legs around my waist like she has since her little ankles barely reached my hip bones. Now, she can easily cross her ankles at my tailbone, her elbows hinge over my shoulders, her arms drape halfway down my back. She is heavy. I think I will miss this more than anything as my kids grow. The day I can’t carry them.
Mama? I feel like I will cry. But I don’t think I am going to. I feel sad. I don’t know why. I just do. It’s uncomfortable.
I know that feeling my love. We don’t always know why we feel like we do. We just feel it. And try to help ourselves feel better.
Squishy grapple pours from plum clouds. Ruby says the mountains look like they are sleeping. She says they are tired and just leaned over to take a nap.
We spend spring break at home. Sure, we’d love to go somewhere warm. It seems like most everyone we know is somewhere warm. Maui, Mexico, Moab. All their friends are talking about it so it becomes a thing. We explain it to the kids 12 times and they still ask why we can’t just stop working and write a check for the plane tickets?! I might be overly Pollyanna-esque but my kids are used to it by now. I tell them we must imagine our best week here at home. We all must focus on gratitude and the big adventures that await – if we choose to see them.
There are groans and no fair!. Later that night, Margot disappears into her bedroom to write, as she does. And emerges with a piece of paper, a smile and these words
Mom. I decided we will have a wonderful week. Here you go. Look.
Spring Vacation Ideas!!!
We make the short drive to our friend’s cabin. It takes hours and hours to get out the door, on the road. It is our first trip of the year that requires camping stuff, so I go through all our bins and remember and restock what we need. Just us girls. It is hard work to hike into the cabin with all our gear and food and generator and 27 stuffies. I am impressed with my kids. They hike in and out four times carrying big loads with me. Mabel runs and bounces down the trail that was so familiar to Alice. It feels wonderful and painful at the same instant. Andy joins us the next day. We hike, make food, make fire, stay one more night.
We finish The Long Winter. In addition to the death of Jack and the excitement over candy at Christmas, this episode of the Ingalls’s lives has a great impact on my kids. No warmth, no food, no play. Just gutsy survival and love and hope. When the wheat is low and they run out of firewood, things seem grim. Margot is pensive and then softens with a realization: Laura definitely lives because she wrote these books!!! And there is no way she could live alone as a little kid so I bet her family survives too!
(3) eggs! pante!
(4-6) Quinn’s! picnic! nail polish!
These things don’t happen. Instead I get some work done while the kids watch How to Train Your Dragon on my studio floor. Instead we clean their room and take walks up the hill. Quinn’s is a local hot springs. Here’s a snap from our last visit – the Old Perma Store, a stop we love along the way.
We do several small projects but the favorite for all three of us is Margot’s hoodie. She turns her drawings into clothes.
(8) jump rope!
All day, every day.
(9) friaend dinner!
We do breakfast instead.
(10) new chicks!
Doesn’t happen but will tomorrow.
This last month we gardened in the mornings until the sun warmed the south facing mountain slopes and skied in the afternoons. We kept thinking it would snow again. We skied those faces until the last bits of snow gave into the spring earth. Our last few runs are sunny and slushy and required us to take our skis off to hike down over patches of mud, tiny creeks racing to the valley floor. Margot snowboards for the first time.
They say our snow pack is 80-90% of what it was but that it is only above 7000 feet. They say we are the lucky ones with snow compared to our neighboring states. They say our winters will be a full month shorter and our summers a full month longer in 50 years. My daughters will be 55 and 57 and I wonder how the forests will stand? I wonder where bears will wander and what our favorite swimming hole will look like?
(11a) In an effort to save cash money, we tried to avoid the post-ski beer/shirley temple stop and instead have those things at home. Also I try really hard to be groovy with occasional bits of food dye and corn syrup but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I have been told that my shirley temples are way better than any Shirley Temple anywhere ever. Ahem.
My secret? Soda water + sweetened pomegranate cranberry juice + lime. Boom. Healthish Shirley. To sweeten the juice, pour the entire jar into a pot with 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir until sugar dissolves. To make: 2/3 soda water, 1/3 juice, lime with a cherry on top.
(12) goodwill shopping!
The kids want to spend their money on new wallets at goodwill. We spend 45 minutes right here, choosing and counting money.
Ruby makes coffee. Two mud splashes on her face from the bike ride. Dirty dishes in the sink from dinner, from breakfast. That leaky faucet is like fingernails on a chalkboard. It needs to replaced after the broken deck boards are replaced, before the trim around doors. The kids argue first about the orange bouncy ball and then about the white chair, the purple pony, the pencil sharpener.
I start in on the dishes. I’m tired and I feel a bit lost, like these neverending dishes are a metaphor for the neverending pile of things I want to accomplish. I scrub melted cheese from the knife that cut the quesadilla. I push hard on the cloth, not realizing the knife has shifted in my grip. I slice the tip of my finger right off. Just the very tip. It doesn’t hurt so bad but the mental replaying of doing what I did sends shivers to my brain. It bleeds and bleeds.
At the end of the day on Easter Margot tells me that her favorite part of the day is that I am her mom. She says it’s hard to explain but she just feels it. She then pushes her face to my chest and infuses my body with her words. It’s one of the top compliments I’ve ever been graced with and I hold my breath to remember the way it is said, the place it is said. That is my favorite part of the day too.