Life has been so busy that I have been ignoring the blog completely. But I’ve recently been reminded of one of the main reasons to have this blog: to share photos with my family, who may or may not have actively prodded me to return to doing same.
But first, I have to thank Ruralmama for giving me a Lovely Blog Award. Her blog is Homeschool on the Edge of Nowhere, which sounds lovely some days, as I sit here and stare out into 3 neighbors’ yards at once and listen to the buses roll by. But mostly we like our Homeschool in the Middle of Town.
This year has felt hard. There are lots of reasons for that, but none that I want to write about now. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving and soon I need to spring to life and start making pies and scalloped greens and mashed potatoes (I’m trying the Pioneer Woman recipe, which allegedly holds overnight) — not to mention wrestling the giant bird into brine– let’s get straight to the pictures and all that we have to be thankful for.
I’m thankful for my crazy family. Here they are pretending to ignore dad while he enthusiastically shares his passion for the outdoors. At least I think they were pretending. We were on an early fall camping trip with friends, for whom I am also very thankful. My friends put up with my many neuroses, which is great because my family can only do that for so long before they start to look kind of like the kids do here. 🙂
I’m thankful for the Beatles. Beatlemania has totally taken hold in our home, and if I could keep up with life I would be writing about it more often. It’s become the thing through which all kinds of connections have been made lately, the ground out of which so many other things have grown. Who knew? Violet plucks out the tunes on her guitar; Victoria does that too for about 5 minutes and then sees something shiny. 😉 We’re all becoming better listeners and asking lots of questions about music, ideas, and life.
This picture, as you can see, is from Strawberry Fields in Central Park. Victoria’s melancholic, contemplative humor has drawn her to be very interested in John Lennon and things like this, a memorial and a reminder of the place where young John escaped to find what she wants most days — “a peaceful place” to be alone and think. How I happened to be in New York for 5 wonderful days in late October is a long story, but it was very much a highlight of my year, and makes me thankful for good friends all over again.
I would like to tell you that I am thankful for my girl growing up, but I can’t tell you that wholeheartedly. For God’s sake, look at the child! She’s huge! Do you know that she wears the same size shoe as me now? I’ve given her a pair of black wedgie sandals that she is clomping around the house in — my wide old feet don’t like to squeeze into the toes anymore, but they are fine for her, and they make her even taller.
The downsides of having a near teenager are well established, so I won’t go into them now. The upsides, however, are that sometimes you see a lovely young woman peeking out at you through the dirty bangs. There are signs that your inadequate parenting has not disfigured your child completely, and she instead may surprise you by sometimes being unusually thoughtful or helpful. You may receive reports from strangers that make you say, “Really? My child did that?” and you may start to believe that you could someday send her off into the world without too much fear. Which is an occasion for thankfulness, yes, but also for a tissue and a little cry now and then.
I am very thankful that I stumble across things like this in my daily life. Parenting and homeschooling are really about as tough as it gets sometimes, and then your 7yo disappears into her room for a while and then calls you back in all excited, and you see that she has made a doll’s bedroom (in which the doll eats hot fudge sundaes, lucky girl). Or she may head outside for a while and then call you to bring the camera to show you something like this . . .
. . . and she is so excited and proud and frickin’ adorable that you can’t believe that you considered military boarding reform school for her even for a second. When she shows you these things, you see that much of family life is like panning for gold. There is so much exhausting labor, a lot of heartache and disappointment, and then there is that flash and you forget that you ever considered packing it in.
Which is good, because one thing that becomes crystal clear after a certain number of “I can’t stand this anymore!” moments is that you have to stand them. There is no place on earth or in heaven that you are not you — wife, mother, confused citizen of the world — and they are not your family, depending on you.
There is no packing it in. So back to the stream, and keep sifting. The vein is deep, but it is rich. Can you forgive me for pointing out, as I realized just now, that it is the Mother Lode?