Separating the curds from the whey

This morning, I logged into a private Facebook group and found my first free-write prompt. I'll be doing this every weekday for the next fortnight, and I'm burning with anticipation. I've cleared much of my calendar during this time, so that I can fully immerse myself in this small group session entitled Blossom. 

The name seems so apropos of everything right now. Of the determined flowers budding and blooming despite an elusive spring. Of the clouds of pet hair swirling at my ankles no matter how often I vacuum, winter coats shedding away in preparation of warmer temperatures to come. Of the bubbles of promise I see atop many a vista and even in the challenges that motherhood so often pitches forward.

This time of year is so busy. School is starting to draw to a close -just over a month left!- and it seems we've been celebrating something for weeks now and have weeks of the same ahead. Celebrations are the best sort of living, so I certainly don't begrudge any of that happy goodness, but they do keep the dance card full.

In such a whirlwind, I feel indulgent taking -making!- this time for a pursuit without an end goal, and yet, maybe that's all the more reason to simply say yes to an opportunity that spoke deeply to my soul.

Yesterday, on the way home from the boys' swimming lessons, we tried to visit a farmers market off our usual course. We were foiled from every angle- no parking, a bathroom emergency, two broken ATMs. I gave up and drove us home in a frustrated snit, irritated that something the boys both wanted to do with me was being snatched from reach.

But once home, Jack decided he'd rather go on a bike ride with Tom, and Tom had just gone to the ATM so could give me some money, and Oliver said he really wanted to go back to the farmers market. So we all did all that, each what we wanted, and it was wonderful.

As Oliver and I approached an impressive cheese stall, he said, in between giant bites of croissant, "Let's get a weally stinky cheese here!" Everyone around us smiled and softened, warmed by a little boy loudly crying out for a relatively unusual six-year-old's snack.

I burst with pride, and we tasted with abandon, ultimately buying four hunks of lusciousness with varying degrees of stink.

Last night, I grated some atop a bowl of sauteed greens, warm tomatoes and roasted asparagus just grown and picked at a friend's parents' farm (A of the tubs of tomatoes last summer fame). A and her husband came for dinner Friday night, to talk tomato canning (because how better to deal with a billion pounds of freshly-picked tomatoes) and catch up, and brought with them said asparagus. 

We shared a meal, some wine, stories and tips. I served dessert, her husband the next day left a shade-loving plant on our porch because I'd mentioned our yard was not on the receiving end of rays.

Kindness and connection blossom and spread in the friendliest sort of viral ways. In unexpected ways and in unexpected places. Especially if you let them.

beauty and growth in unexpected places   

beauty and growth in unexpected places

 

Time

The glorious, sockless day we had on Monday gave way yesterday to the longest rain I’ve experienced in months. Today, purported to be partly sunny and with temperatures in the 60s(!), is presently neither, and I’m shivering inside on my couch. I just can’t bear to put on another sweater.

I’m worrying about the boys as, under the premise of warmth, they both wore short-sleeved shirts today. Fortunately they have their fleece-lined coats, and I do hope they have them on. Nutmeg peed in my US Presidents puzzle box, so I imagine he’s been struck by another UTI, a dear friend is sad, and my list of to-dos is miles long.

Because of all that, I’m quite happy to stay inside today. I am vexed as to why there seems to be so much going on right now. Did I get behind during the snow- and conference days? Is no season calm in this day and age?

I’ve been working like a beast in preparation for Em-i-lis 2.0 to go live in the very near future (hint: weekend). That’s surely part of this busyness, and it’s all been a complete pleasure. T and I have been trying to see friends and go out more regularly which is fun too. The boys, largely activity-free, stay up a bit later these days which I know is the normal progression of child development, but it does take back some of the quiet, alone time at night before I must go to bed too.

Oliver’s birthday and party are quickly approaching, and I’ve got swim noodles to transform into light sabers and foam-core and paper lantern Star Wars aircraft to spray paint gray and then detail. T and I have Ol’s “Roots” presentation to give at school this Friday, so I need to bake a related snack for that and then also remember to send cupcakes in next Tuesday for Ol’s birthday treat. Jack is heading on an overnight field trip to Jamestown, so I must remember to get his sleeping bag and gear ready and a bag lunch packed.

Then on to Oliver’s annual well-child exam and some school events before spring break commences a week from this Friday. Why on earth after long winters full of snow days the school doesn’t hold classes the Friday before break begins is beyond me.

In the midst of all this scurrying about, I start to fret. I don’t want to run solely on this wheel-for-others quite so often and for quite so long. I love tending to my family, and I take pride in my home. I enjoy grocery shopping, delight in crafting homemade birthdays for my boys, and don’t even mind doing the laundry because T is so great about folding it all when he gets home from work. But I haven’t seen the off-ramp to Self Time much in recent weeks, and I’m struggling to fit in the cooking and writing I miss.

There are so many things I want to do in this life. I have an abundance of interests, places I want to see, subjects about which I want to learn. I panic sometimes that I won’t get to them all, that if I let things slide, I’ll miss opportunities now and in the future.

Meanwhile, I know how fleeting the present is. My baby is about to turn SIX and will head to first grade in September. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around that one and am grateful he still wants to hold my hand when we walk. My big boy is so capable and sturdy; I mean, what has happened to his feet and legs? All of a sudden, they feel different. I swear. His feet have no pudge, no softness anywhere except for the smooth skin covering them. His calves are young man calves now, muscles and sinew of a completely different kind that remain in Ol’s younger legs. He still tells me publicly that he loves me, and I hold on to those with both hands and a whole heart because even if he doesn’t feel himself growing up, I see and feel it.

It’s tough to hold these disparate truths in the balance I try to strike each day. To appreciate the past, remain in the present and look forward to and plan for the future.