Much like Santa, I’m a list maker and I’ve been checking mine twice and marking things off. Like this North Star quilt that I not only finished before I left but also mailed! Thus the pictures Dragon Island Mama sent me of Dragon Island baby all passed out on Thanksgiving on his new quilt. I was inspired to make this quilt before Sarah even asked if I would. I was so thrilled to be asked to make a quilt for someone who really wanted one. It was a pleasure. And big brother’s quilt is darn close to being finished. I did have to relegate it to the mailed from Utah pile because the time it runneth out.
Meanwhile Hobbes has done very little packing. Slacker.
Today we said goodbye to the girls. Goldie, Will, Bill and Blackhole. The end of the chicken era, they headed off to whence they came, bopping down the road in Ama’s pick up. Home to roost as it were. And who better to take care of them than your grandmother. Even, if as my eight year old pointed out, she is not related to you by DNA.
Sometimes those Grandma’s and Mama’s are the best kind. One of the most poignant moments of my husband’s grandmother’s funeral was the realization that his Grandmother worked hard to meld a diverse family together. My own MIL was 19 when she first met the woman who would marry her father, and give her a sister. My husband never met his biological grandmother she died when my MIL was 18 and yet his grandmother, the only one he knew, melded five diverse children into one fierce clan. They produced Eight Grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Most of whom filled the Church this past Monday.
As we drove home the boys and I talked about what family was, my budding scientist talking about DNA and being corrected by his not so scientific (but I do know a thing or two about DNA) mother. Just like their father’s grandma was not related to him by DNA, I said, Ama is not still their grandmother, even though she is not my biological mother.
She calls me the daughter of her heart and it is one of the most important names I have ever been given. Even though she didn’t have a responsibility to me, she has been like a mother to me through many life changing events, and sorrow I didn’t know I could feel. She was at the birth of both of my children, quietly standing in the corner patting my head. She moves quietly though many people’s lives and is often taken for granted. Yet, she is one of the smartest women I have ever met, and she has the biggest heart.
I think we often take our mother’s for granted, it is only when we look back that we see how they held us up through the hard times and were the happiest for us during the good times. They are happy for you even when they are sad you are leaving them. Now I am a mother and I understand this, and dread the day the boys will leave me and take a little piece of my heart with them.
And it is the mother of my heart who I will miss the most when I leave this place, and that is the way it should be.
*take another piece of my heart-Janis Joplin
She used to go by the name Lady Oliver the Toe biter. But when the kittens came to The Burrow, she became a little cranky. And she never really warmed to them, and then she started to go by the name Mrs. Hissy Pants.
Right before she lay on this quilt, Calvin was there, and she hissed at the quilt (it’s a quilt frame covered in a fleece blanket because hello, cats please stay off my stuff!- never ever works. Cats are like that) for a while before settling down. Obviously she is getting a tad dramatic in her old age.
Me: You can hide all you want, you are getting a snip too. We are moving to an apartment, no kittens for you.
*Dear Prudence-the Beatles
There are so many things I’m going to miss about The Burrow, and they are so ironically all the things that drive me crazy everyday. Like these ladies who have taken to coming up on the porch and staring in the door at us while we are doing school. Cute, except the ‘presents’ they leave behind require us to wash the porch off every day.
Hobbes is going, but I’ll miss hanging laundry outside to dry, because I think that is probably frowned on in apartment complexes. Their loss.
The power outtages. Ongoing, random and always ill timed. But each and every one of them gives me pause. To stop, change directions, move away from the electronics I’m using, be they computer, sewing machine, stove and into a quieter space. Sometimes it seems like a punishment and other times I realize that it is always a creative time for us, a space where we play clue, write stories/movies/comics or just read together. As winter approaches, power outtages are not as overwhelming, the woodstove quickly heats up tea water.
I will miss the whole mess. The chicken mess, the kittens everywhere in boxes, out of boxes and the power outtages. Surely there will be outtages in Utah, maybe not, I don’t know. I know that I won’t have the security of the woodstove to produce warmth and tea in an apartment.
It seems that so much of our life, our blood, sweat and tears is in The Burrow and yet it’s only been ten years that we have spent here. It makes me reflect on those folks on the Oregon Trail who left behind houses they had build from the ground up, left behind families and loved ones that were not a mere hour and a half plane ride away.
I’m not afraid of change, or of going, but I find the waiting to go, draining.
In the spaces in between, those moments when I’m not actively doing something but rather driving to something, waiting for someone or waiting for sleep, I wonder when it is I’m going to do all this moving business. Will I give up school or housework (housework), my job or exercise (always exercise sadly).
I’m all for organization, but sometimes that looks like a relentless march towards Grumpytown. Telling little boys that not only do they have to pack up their toys but get rid of a large portion of them, is not something I’m looking forward to. Getting rid of my own toys and belongings is awfully daunting as well.
And the quilting, let us not forget the stack of UFO’s. Oy. I think I’ll go back to doing the dishes and making list in my head. It’s less productive but there is hardly every crying.
*Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk-Rufus Wainwright
The Mama Gig. It’s a hard one. Knowing the line between between letting them learn on their own, make their own mistakes, face their own dissappointments, and remembering that no matter how well you prepare them they still have to make their way alone. Maybe not today. But someday. Performances (Violin, theater, Herdsmanship) are those moments when I have to breathe deeply and let them be.
I have to learn to take a deep breath and on or two steps back. To keep my face neutral or encouraging, so that when they steal a glance at me they don’t read the inner terror (Introvert alert) of the act for me. They both have the inner self confidence of their dad. They radiate assurance that I have never possessed. And they know it.
I walk the balance beam between encouraging them to their best and reminding them to focus and learn. To respect their elders, and the judges/teachers/masters that are taking part in their journey. I am both amazed and proud of their relentless search for knowledge, friends, conversation. And at the same time mortified (Introvert) when they stop strangers to chat. Rarely do stranger mind…
8 year old to random stranger on hiking trail: BONjour!
Random Stranger: Bonjour (then speaks rapidly in french, because of course)
8 year old: Oh I left my spanish dictionary at home
RS: I’m speaking French, I’m a French immersion teacher
The conversation continues and RS and her Male Companion compliment me on my children and encourage them to study languages.
I would never have stopped. I would have said hello and kept going. People pause to talk to my boys. I have begun to realize this is normal human interaction. I always assumed that my husband just talked a lot, that he was just friendly and gosh darn it people like him. But the boys, they teach me every day, in my struggle to impart some of my knowledge to them, that people are interesting and interested. That to hide from those interaction closes doors to all kinds of adventures and journeys.
Most importantly they teach me that they are going to do just fine. They have their moments, they are young and immature but they can hold their own. I will not send them out into the world tomorrow, I will not stop hounding them to clean their rooms, to get back to their schoolwork, to walk on the right, to wait their turn, to focus, to listen, to not correct their violin teacher during a lesson. But I will remember that when on the spot, or in the moment those boys do just fine.
And maybe they will one day teach their Mama the secret of their success, or at least remember her on the way.
*The Show -Lenka
We’ve been driving back and forth and up and down and to and fro all week as we prepare for THE! FAIR! Which always seems like a good idea until the week it arrives and then you are baking in 90 degree heat and canning blueberry jam and wilting everywhere.
Yesterday was animal drop off and heat soared into the late 90′s. That is pretty harsh or us Pacific Northwesterners, as my Philiadelphian Aunt likes to say ‘it always 55 degrees, summer or winter” It’s not really true but sometimes it feels true.
We have had years of pouring rain at the fair, but this year we have soaring temperatures and unfortunately on drop off day we lost a few of the animals in the small animal barn, luckily none of ours. We didn’t drop off till after dinner. The junior 4h members were busy spritzing the bunnies and chickens when we got there trying to keep the temperatures down. Outside the door the pigs farmers were hosing down their overheated swine.
We are not getting a pig no matter how hard they beg.
Among the hubbub that is everything else. The Kitties are coming into their own. They are official mousers now. I’ve cleaned up half a mouse so far (they are not as adept as Oliver who is the perfect mouser. She eats the whole dang thing and nary a clean up on my behalf.
Hobbes having a post kill cuddle. Luckily The Man was home to dispose of the ‘toy’ as the kittens are more playas at this point. In actuality we have only seen Hobbes with an actual mouse. The ‘presents’ left around the house this weekend went unclaimed.
Although Calvin, sort of implied, with his self satisfied air that he probably had also had a kill. He is practically ready for adult cat food.
*Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta- Geto Boys
We’re spending the day canoeing on the Lewis and Clark trail, in the meantime here are some adorable kitties. They are very rambunctious and hard to find.
Sometimes they sleep behind the quilt on the wall,