This is what our day looked like last Saturday. We went clamming. The sun was shining and we were playing in the water and digging in the sand. We had fun together and got a good haul of clams. After the three of us were done, we headed home to cook ‘em up and eat ‘em. Clam chowder was on the menu. We were excited to try a recipe from this cookbook. There was a flurry in the kitchen as we readied for dinner and yet, each of us were fascinated by these creatures and took moments from our other activities to watch them as they moved about in the water, curiously observing their siphons. Finn was especially delighted by the clams and laughed as their siphons waved and squirted water. He hovered over them, reporting all he saw. He even got squirted in the face as Kendall was transferring some of the clams to pot for cooking, causing us all to laugh.
And then, we sat down for a lovely meal together. The chowder was fantastic and we savored every bite. And, while the food was excellent and the day a full and beautiful one, being in each others company was the best part of it.
We broke free from our just made plans and stole away to the beach upon seeing a brilliantly blue sky. It was a long hike for such little legs, but he is a strong and playful hiker and he held his own.
After packing up our stuff and making our way back up a very steep hill, Finn rested in my arms. This mama was more than happy to carry my boy back after he “used up all of his energy” hiking there and playing hard.
Our skin was warm and sun-kissed, our muscles tired. At home we settled in for a nice lunch and some rest. I am so grateful for these times.
A box of books that I ordered arrived the other day. I opened the box, happy to go through and find the little treasures that I knew would be there. When Finn awoke from his nap, he made his way over to the package and dove in, delighted to discover a stack of books for himself. In his pleasant, happy way he expressed his gratitude and joy in the books and squealed with excitement upon finding one in particular that he liked. He spent the remainder of the afternoon on the couch, immersed in those books. And has quietly returned to do the same thing many times since.
This morning, shortly after emerging from our bedrooms, the snow began to fall. Very slowly at first. The flakes coming down a few at a time, melting as they hit the ground. I called Finn over and we opened the door and peeked out. Soon we were pulling snowsuits on over pj’s and running out into the snow. For a moment we stood silently by the pond, listening to the chirps of many baby birds. Their new voices calling out to their mamas. Finn said they were excited to be catching snow while they waited for their mamas to bring them food. I picture them all in their nests, tiny beaks open, faces to the sky, tongues out licking up the snow just like Finn. I think that’s how he sees it too.
In and out we went. Coming in to eat or take a break and then back out again. All the while, the snow kept falling. It didn’t take long before it started sticking and then, accumulating. I love playing in the snow. I love playing in the snow with Finn–getting cold, knowing there is a warm home to come into and the likely possibility that we will enjoy a mug of hot cocoa.
The afternoon brought us outside again. This time to sunshine and melting snow. We played in puddles. Watched as the melting snow formed rivers, which in turn filled the craters in our driveway. We made baseballs out of the remaining snow and threw them at trees. Our snowman melted and turned into a walrus, which turned into a house. We played. It was a great day. And, as the sun set, our boy all tucked in bed, Kendall and I watched from the front porch as the last rays of sunshine peeked through the trees; pink and gold and full of glory. The light reflected off the pond and I thought about our day, my heart warm, full, and content.
The sun shone full upon us as we enjoyed a picnic on our back porch. We talked, ate, and listen as a strong and gentle wind moved among the trees. The trees swayed in the fresh spring air and we found ourselves doing the same. Sitting there swaying, listening, watching; we were glad to be in the sunshine and in each others company on the first day of spring.
The picnic ended. Kendall returned to work, Finn snuggled in for a nap, and I stepped out for a moment to myself. I walked through the woods. The sunshine so intense as it broke through the canopy. The mud on the trail equally intense; thick Springtime mud. As I trekked through it, I found my mind immersed in thought and my eyes to the ground. I would pause often to bring myself back. Pause to remind myself to look up. To allow my eyes to gaze upon the brilliant blue sky and bountiful sunshine. To look to the tops of the trees and allow my spirit to be encouraged and inspired by the graceful dance of something so large and solid. To look up to all that is good in my life.
I leave the woods. The trees, the sky, the sunshine all tucked in my pocket; keepsakes for me to return to later. Memories that I will stumble upon and perhaps, call upon. Another experience woven into the story of my life.
I step through the door, close it and listen. Finn is still asleep. Kendall is still working. The house is quiet. As I walk into the kitchen, the sky darkens with thunderstorm clouds and the rain comes down.
I just returned from a hike through the woods. My face is cool and dewing; my body thoroughly warmed by the movement. While the air remains crisp, it is warmer than it has been. Buds are beginning to adorn branches and the birds are fluttering about with energy. As I walk the trail, tromping through mud, using laid branches to help navigate pools of water, and my steps aiding the decomposition of the few remaining leaves on the ground, my ears hear and my eyes catch the scurrying of animals. The forest is waking up.
Occasionally, amidst all the chocolate and truffles and laughter there is a slip of the hand. It’s a small hand that slips so quickly. And, before it is possible to fully register what has happened, the two of you are on the floor covered in chocolate and truffles and there is one sad boy. The tears are plenty, dripping down his face. So, we hug –chocolate, truffles, and tears– and sit for a moment in all of that mess. We sit and then, we clean up. That chocolate and truffle mess is eaten right off arms and faces. Showers are had. Boats and lizards are played with till our hearts are soothed. Clean clothes are put on. The floor is wiped up. The remaining truffles are finished. There is even singing.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
More has taken place than seems possible within the few weeks that comprise 2013. As the year turned over, the three of us arrived home from a spontaneous, post-Christmas, 10 day road trip through Northern California. We had a blast and reveled in getting to spend so much time together. There was so much we saw, did and still a whole other trip we would gladly fill with things we did not do.
A few days after we were home, Kendall left unexpectedly for Michigan. His grandmother became ill over Christmas and he and his sisters flew out to be with their mom and help love on and care for Grandma and Grandpa. After being gone for a little over a week, Kendall caught a flight home and Finn and I excitedly drove to pick him up from the airport. The little man and I made a date out of it, spending the day at the children’s museum and going out to dinner. It was a pretty late night and Finn passed out on the way home, giving Kendall and I some time together. This time we didn’t mind the ferry wait.
A few days later, Grandma passed away and the three of us got on an airplane to go say goodbye. It was so good to be with everyone, especially Grandpa. While it was difficult to say goodbye, there was joy in celebrating her life and hearing stories I had never heard before, looking at pictures, and taking even more of her in. She was an incredible woman and she lived a great life.
The day after the funeral we drove to Chicago and on the drive it became apparent that I was very ill. I spent the next 3 days on the couch pretty out of it and very grateful that Nona came home and dove into caring for me and playing with Finn. Ready or not we hopped on the plane again to fly to Boulder to take the most poorly timed vacation possible. While we were all exhausted, there was much fun had playing in hot tubs, going on hikes, soaking in day after day of sunshine, and eating one incredible meal at Salt — the company and the food couldn’t have been better.
We have settled down a bit now that we are all home, but change is in the air and I feel its zip. Still, we are taking time to rest and be. To slow ourselves down and find our internal rhythms and our rhythm as a family. It’s good to be back.