Monday, June 22, 2009

Crazy Mama

The peach tree came alive this week. It’s so early, with the late-April heat wave, it caught me by surprise. Just as Hunter did when he jumped on his two wheeler and pedaled away today. When did you learn how to do that? Wasn’t it just yesterday that you were afraid to even try?
But that is precisely how this whole entire spring is going: too fast. All quiet, lonely winter long, I ached for sunshine and green and growth, for sports, and the playground, and planting. And here it is, and it is so here, I am so in it, that I am missing it. I am tired and achy from gardening. I am pulled in many directions. I am trying to round up the sheep, who are out because children have climbed over the gate which I have told them repeatedly NOT to climb over, and the dog is chasing the sheep and the kids are chasing the dog, and between all the baa-ing and barking and giggling, I am quite sure I am going to lose my mind. And I yell at the kids. Too much.
Something my step-mom said one Christmas comes to mind. It was a few years ago, when all the cousins were babies and toddlers and the favorite game was chasing each other around the house and screaming. My step sisters and I were tight-lipped and tired of repeating ourselves. The Dads had escaped to check out Grampy’s new snow blower. Mary waited for a lull in the chaos and cornered the three of us, sipping wine from glasses clutched protectively in two hands, up high, out of the reach of jostling limbs. “Some day you will miss this,” she said simply. “All of it.”
Even on that cacophonous Christmas day, I knew exactly what she meant. You look at your three year old, and can barely imagine that drooling, clapping nine month old you have pictures of. Then he’s 5 and going to kindergarten and you honestly don’t know how you got here. Where did that three year old go? Just a second ago he was upstairs, refusing to use the potty and drawing eggs on the wall with a red sharpie.
So when Hunter asks me to watch him on his bike for the millionth time today, and I have a mountain of laundry waiting for me on my bed, and dinner needs to be started, and eggs need to be collected, and I am tired and dizzy from the passage of time, I remember that he is a child. A loving, generous, bicycle-obsessed child. Who can no more control his locomotor impulses than that nine month old just learning to walk, pulling himself to standing over and over again in his crib. Who has starting saying things like, “If you were wondering where I was all that time, I was upstairs folding laundry.” He really was. Not even his own. And I watch. His hair is growing out and curling up at the ends a bit. It gives him a wild look. As he makes his way in unsteady circles around the yard, I notice how muscular his calves are, how broad his shoulders have become, how the afternoon sun illuminates his golden curls. I catch a glimpse of the lanky teenager he will become, no longer riding in circles, but purposefully away. And that is the best case scenario, my morbid mother mind reminds me.

So when I feel myself ready to go rooster on him, I don’t fluff up my neck feathers, don’t whip out the spurs. I think, What if, for even one second, he listened to you?
He did just what you asked him to. He didn’t fight with his brother, or leave his sneakers out in the rain, or wear that shirt with those pants. What if his fascination with poop jokes ceased abruptly, and he always finished his dinner (even his eggplant), brushed his teeth, and just did his homework right when he got home from school? What if he stopped negotiating for a later bedtime, or more time playing Wii, or a day off from school? And he didn’t do that uncontrollable giggle thing when he was overtired? What if you never heard about another Lego Starwars game in excruciating detail, or one of his silly little made up songs? He stopped asking why, and didn’t talk back? What if he became quiet and still, and stopped bouncing, and wiped that smile off his face, and lost interest in jumping from that place that is WAY. TOO. HIGH.
And wasn’t growing up so god damned fast?

How dare I pretend I can tell him how to be?
He already is.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

You might laugh, you might frown...

You know what sucks? "Springtime" on Martha's Vineyard. I know, I know... Just a few months ago I was asking you to please stop complaining about the snow and the ice and the cold, and here I am, faced with a little rain and mud, whining my hypocritical heart out. But it's just so... fickle, you know? Sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, warm, calm, stormy... And even Miss Pollyanna Farm Blogger is left to stare longingly at the still unmade bed and fantasize about crawling back into that down comforter cave with her cubs until the warm weather is back for real.
Not that the kids are any help. It's all, "Mommy, can I go upstairs and watch cartoons in your bed? Your bed is sooooo cooooozy!" And, "Can we wear our jammies all day today? These jammies are so soooooft and coooooozyyy..." Well, you get the picture. We like our cozy around these parts. And our jammies. This might be the hardest part about parenting for me: the whole motivation, setting a good example thing. And maybe it's a big part of why I have allowed farming to invade my cozy little jammied life. Modern life is too convenient for a lazybones like me. If left to my own devices, I might be one of those people who orders pizza delivery online, or microwaves a plastic container of food by-products and calls it dinner.

Okay, maybe not. But I am lazy. And susceptible to certain seasonal-type afflictions. Last year I had lambing to get me through the April doldrums, but this year I have had to seek distraction elsewhere. Any suggestions? Here's one that worked for me today. I'd better get outside while I've still got these rose colored glasses on...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stinky dog and all

It's the kind of day that necessitates not a walk, but many walks: seaglass hunting at Eastville as the ferry boat toots its hellos; hiking over the bridges at Fulling Mill Brook, opening your heart and ears up to all the new complexities in the birdsong; strolling through the garden, straining your hopeful eyes for a glimpse of a green shoot, even though the peas went in only days ago. There are endless walks I could take today. Even as I sit writing I feel the internal pressure to be out there. In it. Taking my shoes off at the beach, even though its still too cold for that. Skipping the sunscreen I put on my face every morning, just to soak up as much vitamin D as I can, save it for the grey, nasty days April is sure to be full of. Letting the dog wander on our walks, not minding when he comes back panting and triumphantly reeking of a good roll in something quite foul.
Is this spring fever? It doesn't feel feverish. Nor does it feel frantic or frenzied. It's more familiar. A gradual awakening of the earth and the senses. Oh yeah, Spring! I remember you. After all that snow and ice and ice and snow and ice, I almost forgot what you look like, how you smell...
Okay, that's enough musing for today. Time for another walk. And some good, honest gratitude for every single last bit of this magnificent day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And another thing

While I'm prostheletizing about the wonders of cold and snow, here's another one for ya: SNOW DAY!!!
Aw yeah.
Why do I still love snow days, even though it actually makes my day harder, to have the kids home all day long- bickering, demanding snacks and hot cocoa? Hard to say. But I do.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Slip Sliding Away

See how you don't have to be afraid of the snow? Or even complain about it until you're blue in the face? (Oh wait, was your face blue from the cold?) You can just go out there and have some fun in it! Or watch your kids have fun, if you prefer. Like when it starts snowing at night, and instead of putting them to bed, you tell them they have 5 minutes to get their snow gear on if they want to go sledding. Then watch in amazement as snowpants slide on over jammies, jackets are zipped, boots slip on, and hats and mittens are found. If only getting ready for school were this effortless. If you don't have kids, there's always little lambs who were born on Christmas day, who are growing stronger and noisier all the time, who cry for bottles of milk replacer every time they hear the back door open. "Baaah! Bahhhh! BAAH!!!" Yes, Jingles, I see you. I see you climbing on the wooden lambie play structure Brian made for you. I see you chasing after the kids, the dog, me. I see all four feet spring off the ground at once, and how it appears to startle even you when it happens.

No Christmas lamb? Well, the grown up sheep are pretty fun to watch. Although they seem to have worn some paths so they don't slip on the ice so much anymore. Or they're getting smarter. Either way, when you're down there, you can stick your hands way down into their fleece, and imagine what it would be like to wear that around all day. Seems like your feet would be cold, though.

What? You don't have sheep either? You could always go chicken watching. Although, chickens are much less fun in the sub-arctic temperatures, what with all the keeping their water from freezing, and collecting the eggs before they freeze, and freezing your tuckus off all the while. Forget about the chickens, they'll just make you grouchy.

Okay, okay, I get it, you don't have a little farm to distract you. Still, you can wiggle into your long underwear and take a walk with the dog. Listen to all the different kinds of noises your boots can make: on ice, on soft snow, on crunchy snow, on bare earth, on brown leaves, on ice again. I promise, you will be so absorbed in concentrating on not falling that you will completely forget all your worries. Better yet, bundle up before bedtime on a clear night, step outside and look up. You will instantly remember how small you are, how very short this one winter really is. Or if you absolutely can't stand it, fine. Go inside. Make a cup of tea and put on some fuzzy slippers and relive this wonderful moment. Think about how the earth is resting now. How it is storing up all its energy for the explosion of life that will come in a few months. Think about picking wild blueberries in August, and when you were so hot you couldn't even think, let alone move, and you absolutely could NOT wait until winter.
But please, enough with the complaining about the weather, okay? Some of us are trying to enjoy it.