a long strange trip

Of all the troubles that go with moving, with children, with pets, with stuff, it seems I have been able to skirt around many of them.  Only because of family.  Only because of the kind of love that goes without convenience.  Certainly it isn’t convenient to have two nutty little boys and their mama (who may or may not be needy as well) staying at your house while it is under construction and you have only one bathroom and no washing machine.  Certainly it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to have a whole slew of people stay at your house when it is planting season and everyone everyone likes to have  their garden planted by memorial day (at least that is what I am told).  A driveway full of flats of flowers, to the point where the delivery man asks if this is a nursery.  A busy week for all.  But no problem, we are a family.  That is what they do.

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It can’t be easy to be the one who has to drive 18 hours once with two loud children just to turn around and do it with two cats, a dog, a batch of beer, and a batch of kambucha.  Clean the old place in a frenzy, try to set up the new one with gusto.  Study at all hours of the night for a new semester has begun and all the same start a very new, very exciting, brand new job in a town where you know not a soul.  No, this can not be easy.  But, my man does it with grace.  I am have much to learn from these beautiful people I am so lucky to have as mine.

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And most of all it cant be easy to be uprooted from all you know, all you can remember.  See your belongings in boxes, scattered about every room, stepping over things for days.  Dealing with a mama trying (oh so hard) to keep her cool amidst the chaos.  These two remind me to stay on course.  This is fun.  This is an adventure.  This whole entire thing.

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It is exhausting I am sure.

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And I have run out of time.  For now.  There is too much madness, to much stuff behind me of which I intend to ignore, and in front of me I see precisely what is in store for us.  

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Oh yes.  This is our backyard.  An adventure it is.

bleeding hearts

As a northerner reborn I can tell you there are a few things I have noticed so far that have been absent in my life for far too long.  The grass; there is nothing anywhere in the south that compares to the fluffs of cool green grass that grow in the spring here.  Nothing.  The smell; the salty scented skies of cool spring mornings fill my nose with a misty chunk of heaven.  I am constantly craving fish.  And my memories.  My memories.  Each time I turn a corner with my two babies in tote, another memory creeps in feeling like deja vu at first and then becoming a solid real thing as I relive it.  I remember the cracks in the street lining a foursquare court, I remember a branch in a tree being the perfect spot to curl up and read, I remember a patch of moss being precisely where a group of fairies resided once upon a time, long long ago.  It is nothing but super sweet and in the newest phrase of my almost-almost two-year old “special special”, to share these artifacts and stories that make up my life.  And now there’s too.

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This one pictured below came as a most pleasant surprise.  Bleeding hearts; a dainty little chain linking up a hopeful spring reminder.  They have a little story hidden inside each flower.  Spread out for my boys to see, they too now have this little tale they can tell again and again.  

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It goes like this:

Once upon a time there was a man had a wish, the only thing her really truly wanted was to marry this woman he loved.  She wasn’t to keen on the idea and he spent quite of bit of time thinking about how to win her over.  He gave her two swans to show her his dedication.  But she said, “no.”  He gave her two earings to show her his sincerity.  But she said, “no.”  He gave her two slippers to convince her of his compassion.  But she still said, “no”.  He wished on a magic lamp and she finally, finally agreed.  You can push the two earing together like so, to make a heart indicating its the real deal.  My mama told it with the ending being a bottle of perfume, but I had forgotten and replaced it with a magical addition.  I rather like this change anyways.  But either way you wish to tell its cute and a lot of fun.

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Our stories are really all we have.  It is what we live for and what we will be remembered for (if we are so lucky).  They are something to share and something to keep.  They are silent, they are loud, they are life.  Oh, it is so good to be back.

a floral reminder

When I was a little girl our yard was lined with forsythia bushes on one side and a large patch of pussy willows on the other.  My sweet mama would gather some up in the doldrums of the coldest months and plop them in vases of water scattered about the house. Sometimes she would even include a few branches from the magnolia tree which was so kindly planted the day I was born.  Within a few days these beauties would burst into bloom, reminding us that the sun would warm our backs once again.

It is funny to think that when she began doing this, when she was my age with two small babies of her own, she probably felt as lost as I do.  Everyday I wonder if I am doing  all this parenting stuff right.  If I am perhaps screwing these two up so royally they will forever discuss their mother horizontally on a leather chaise lounge to an over payed doctor.  Do I yell too much?  Do I play with them enough?  Do they get enough social interaction?  I have the whole mommy guilt, worrying thing down pat.

These days there is a lot of information about exactly how you should parent.  There is research done on research proving that every word you say, food you touch, diaper you use, school you choose (or don’t choose), clothing you adorn, show you watch, way they sleep… you name it… is just plain old wrong.  Or right.  Or both.

It is terribly overwhelming.

But somehow, these small memories of ritual from my youth give me a sense of normalcy that makes me believe its going to work out.  I think of my mama, digging in the earth in our front lawn all those years ago.  Knowing of roots and stems only from the houseplants she carried from apartment to apartment, and the tomatoes her father dutifully planted each year.  Now, thirty years later, it is a legacy of a garden that draws visitors from afar, and for some reason this alone, comforts me.

Here I am deep in the south.  This variety of magnolia I marveled at as a child is already past bloom and its only February.  But that’s not all that will open in the coming weeks.  We will see every hue of the rainbow.  It seems I have endless choices of things to gather up and force into bloom indoors around here.  So, I started with the pear tree.  Its tiny white flowers look like they should be edible; like I should candy them and decorate a cake.

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Isn’t that nice?  Now quick go try it!

(PS- Don’t put the pussy willows into water, unless you want leaves.  But they will remain soft fuzzy little rabbits feet for an indeterminable amount of time just kept in a dry vase.)