Friday, April 29, 2016

In Bloom

It has only been the past few years that I have learned the names of most garden plants, any plants at all really.

For years, the things in bloom were beautiful, nameless strangers. Worth noting for only the briefest of moments. 

But once I got to know them, to learn their names and what they like,  they started to feel like friends. Now I look forward to their arrivals. I know who to expect and when. And when they go, I miss them. 

This is not my garden. These are my mother's tulips. Her garden, unlike my own, is always picture perfect. Blooming all season long with nary a weed in sight. My own garden, like most of my endeavors, is whimsically disheveled. My goal is actually a witchy, over   cottage garden. Regardless, I sure appreciate my mom's tulips, and I am excited for the riot of clematis that will take over shed soon enough and the echinacea that will follow.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


We left dishes in the sink and piles of laundry to fold.

We filled Mason jars with waters and regretted not bringing any snacks. 

I nursed Alamae to sleep, and put her in her stroller to sleep while I read, peeking up every page or so to count three children at play. 

I laid on the clay stained sand, believing with every ounce of my being in the almost science of grounding. Body to earth feels right. The stresses and the worries of the day sunk into the land beneath me, and I felt lighter when I got up. 

Meanwhile, my children splashed and paddled, looked for snakes, made friends with visiting families over from Northern Virginia for an afternoon adventure. 

I was moved to sentimental cliches. Filled with gratitude.

There are things I know about life and parenting. I know that the house will always need to be cleaned. I know that nature is the best tonic. And yet, almost daily, I forget. I get caught up in what needs to be done, and I lose sight of the things that make it all worth while. 

But never once have I regretted leaving the dirty bathrooms to be cleaned another day while I sat on the beach with my children. Not one time ever. 

I certainly won't regret it today, when I do it all over again. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

This Weekend We // Soccer and Its Trappings

This weekend we were utterly suburban, hanging out on playgrounds and soccer fields almost completely indistinguishable from all the other suburbs dotting the country, except for the presence of crumbling old barns and mother's who lack some of the polish of more affluent housewives.

Gus had two soccer games this weekend, plus team pictures. Although only Alamae and I watched him play on Saturday, a sizable showing came on Sunday to root him on. The point being, soccer was the central to all our plans these past few days.

Like usual, I was far more anxious than I care to admit. Watching my kids perform always does it to me. I desperately want to be the mom who doesn't care. The one who says with all honesty, "The only thing that matters is that they have fun."

Truthfully, I don't care that Gus's team wins as much as I care about how Gus plays. And I don't care because I care, but I care because I worry that the other parents and the coach care. What if they get angry if he misses the ball? If he doesn't stay in position? If he is slow crossing the field?

I try to remind myself that most of these parents, like me, are so focused on their own child that they hardly notice what the other players are doing. It's a cold comfort, indeed. Very little about it feels right. Very little except for Gus's enthusiasm. And that's enough.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Azaleas and Bonsais

If I'm feeling at all anxious, or if generalized sadness starts creeping in, getting outside is almost always all the cure I need.

And if I'm feeling a bit guilty about school days getting cut short in exchange for sunshine and fresh air, I swap out the backyard for a somewhat more exotic locale.

This is how we ended up at the National Arboretum on Wednesday afternoon, walking among the azaleas. Ogling the peonies.

Sena, who as she is getting older is becoming increasingly aware of the fact that her family is solidly middle class, was expressing her concerns about our financial situation. (Which, by the way, is just fine, I assure you. It just doesn't permit for as large of a book budget as she would prefer.)  Gus looked at her in wonder, "Sena, we are rich. Think about all the field trips we go on."

And my boy meant it, which made me ridiculously proud. The richness of the experiences is all he needs. Never mind that the National Arboretum is free, as are almost all of the activities we partake in. He thinks we must be rich to live this well.