Monthly Archives: May 2017

feeling nostalgic

MCJA 1

I’m feeling oddly nostalgic these days, although I’ve been busy enough to be able to tamp down those feelings for the most part. E’s middle school years came to an end last week, and now we have a high schooler in our midst. That feels big to me.

Montage 6

I don’t post as many things about the girls on the blog. They are getting older, and we share more than enough on Instagram with close friends and family. When I started this blog ten years ago, a good portion of it was devoted to E – every drawing she made, each book that she read, the funny and sweet things that she said and did. She seems so little when I look back to those early posts – just look at this first blog photo and then the photo below (upper left corner) taken last Friday!

070828_2

Montage 7

It seems like ages ago, but here we are on the sidelines, watching her lead her team to victory with goal after goal after goal, all arms and legs and high fives and smiles.

Montage 8

I think she mastered middle school in a way that I never did. She managed high academic expectations, a busy schedule, clubs and sports and events, and the very real work of navigating these tricky years of early adolescence and group dynamics with a dimpled grin on her face and a heads down work ethic when it was required.

Montage 4

Now that we’re on the flip side of middle school (for the first kid), I’m wondering what I’d tell past-me – the mom of an upcoming sixth grader beyond “it will be fine”? It’s always easier to reflect on experiences once they’re finished, once the nerves are eased and the jitters subside. But I still think it’s a valuable exercise to do as I think about the coming changes over the next four years of high school.

Montage 3

I’d tell past-me to trust these guiding principles – they work. I’d tell her to lean into the new and the different. Look for opportunities that offer new perspectives at the fundamental level, not ones that reinforce the familiar. Sign her up for camps and classes in neighborhoods we rarely hang out in, with people that she’s never met. Drop her off at the door, don’t linger. Read and reread the mission statement of the organization, but ignore how the building looks from the outside (or even the inside). Seek out the scrappy – they are innovative in ways that ample budgets don’t always allow.

Montage 5

Expose her to experiences where she is not the presumed leader, where she might be the odd one out. She will walk quietly into new rooms and listen. She will find her voice and insert it when she wants to. She will become comfortable with the uncomfortable, and then she’ll seek that out on her own. She is the center of the universe in this family, a featherbed to collapse into, spent and spinning. But out there you want it to be different – you want her to assume nothing and test everything. At times this might be trying, but she will know herself to the core.

Montage 2

You have done this for her since the moment she took her first breath, so trust it. You exposed her to an ever-widening circle of people unlike you so that she would understand that love and respect and nurture comes in a million different packages, all vital and important to our collective soul. You wrote it in a letter penned before she broke the surface of the earth. You promised to love her first and fiercely, but to not hoard control of her raising. You swore you’d let her know the love of as many different people as you could, and you’re doing it. Keep doing it.

Montage 1

I cannot slow the days, I know this. That hits me in my core some days; I catch my breath on it. I revel in the time I took to collect these little snapshots of her year and I promise myself to collect more in the coming years. She’s ready for high school, her joy is catching.

saturday morning in the garden

Garden 20

Garden 21

I’m posting these two photos first because they baffle me, and crack me up. The photos were taken about four feet apart. Why in the world are these flowers’ petals down and those flowers’ petals out? Nature is crazy, and flowers never cease to amaze me.

Garden 22

Garden 23

Garden 24

It was just me yesterday morning. F and I collapsed in my bed while reading books Friday night and left half the lights blazing. I sort of woke up when E and M arrived home around 11 pm after a full day at Six Flags. The next thing I remember was the warning message from the smoke detectors speaking loudly around 4 am. My own alarm went off at six, and when I woke up I honestly had no idea where anyone was sleeping. The whole night was a giant blur.

Garden 25

Garden 26

I thought about rolling over and skipping the walk, but I knew I’d regret it. I brushed my teeth, threw on a baseball cap and headed out the door.

Garden 27

Garden 28

Garden 29

Worth it.

Garden 30

Garden 31

Garden 32

I photographed a lot of animals, but only two really worked. It was so quiet this morning that the animals were out everywhere. Another thing I love about the early hours.

Garden 33

Garden 34

I’m sort of giddy when the Japanese iris bloom around the zigzag bridge. It took a few minutes to get a clear shot without any other photographers, but it was worth the wait. It’s always a stunning sight.

Garden 35

Garden 36

The shift from spring flowers to summer plantings is almost done. The sun is higher and hotter, steamy this morning, even before eight. Summer is here, it’s finally here. What a way to celebrate.

Garden 37

wednesday morning in the garden

Garden 2

I’m resurfacing from the end of the school year madness. I just spent the last couple of hours going through photos from the last month – sorting and editing and uploading. Hoping to get back into the swing of things this month – more writing, more reading, more sleeping.

Garden 1

Garden 3

This was definitely the busiest week, but F and I still managed to steal away to the garden on Wednesday. It was supposed to be stormy, but when I woke up the sun was streaming into the room. It was much cooler, but we threw on jackets and headed over.

Garden 5

Garden 8

Garden 7

We usually spend a lot of time in the Woodland Garden, but this morning we decided to visit all the waterfalls. There is a stepping stone walkway to one of them, and as soon as she stepped onto the middle stone she sat down. Please, can I just sit here all morning? I can’t even imagine leaving. I let her sit for a few before she reluctantly joined me for the return trip. I kind of agreed with her.

Garden 9

Garden 6

I always say that I love the overcast mornings in the garden, but the blue skies give me energy, and energy is what I needed the most this week. A three day weekend doesn’t hurt either.

Garden 4

Garden 10