Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Since last I was here....

somehow it turned to June, and the ninety degree weather that marks southeastern summers has begun.

The boy got well. The puking and the pooping and the miserable yucks stopped in just enough time for us to make a family run northbound to My Beloved Mister's people for Memorial Day, a tradition we try to upkeep even when it means things happen fast, fast, fast and there's not a whole lot of time on the ground.

The travel to and fro included: one too-much-chocolate-milk puke and stripping Ziggy by the side of the road in the dark, surprisingly little to no bickering from anyone and a low quotient of whining, a leg to and from Grand Haven with the grandmother and Ms. Booty both tucked in tightly beside Ziggy's new bigger car seat in the back seat (graciously lent us by Sibyl)--- the better for Ziggy's long long legs for lengthy travel, one cautious trek (with my father in law riding shotgun) to Wyoming's Costco to replace the rear tires where a belt began to break and shred, a trip through the mitten's fruit orchards to White Cloud and a haul back to Allegan on faster roads fueled by good feelings and a Starbucks jolt.

Spring nights, we sleep in the camper, having forsaken our room there in the wonderful old Victorian for the fresh air, sounder sleep. We take short walks a few times a day, sometimes longer ones, too. I cook. We eat together as an expanded family. The boy and his grandmother play blocks and roll out playdough; he helps his grandfather with chores like unfolding and hoisting the flag up the pole. We visit with my Mister's grandmother, now in her nineties, and play croquet and Eenie-Eye-Over with the cousins and aunts and uncles. Having this dear clan with whom to gather, play and visit is a special thing, remininicent of my girlhood spent with my now mostly dead or displaced East Texas family. Diggy, who made the trip with me in Ziggy's first year, thought so too. Ziggy-- who had a desperate moment asking his father in the car "Why am I the only child in your family? Please can you tell me? Tell me? Please, Daddy, tell me why...."-- adores being in the center of all activity, the visiting, the playing.

Home again, the garden grows. There are successes (homegrown lettuce on our burgers a few nights ago) and failures (a dying tomato plant, strawberries that continue to feed the critters and not us.)

Ziggy and I purchased a bale of straw with which to mulch the gardens. We crammed it into the back of the wagon along with his "red fire bike," sand toys, camping chairs, picnic blankets, a Razor scooter, and a kite. In our urban environment, we are so country -- picking the mulberries from our front yard tree, trailing hay from our Taurus, ending each day sweaty-grubby-tired-happy. Alas, I've yet to can anything in years (this year, I promise) and I've sadly let two little baskets of mulberries go bad before we could eat or do anything with them -- the little suckers last no more than a day before they mold and milder.

I clipped a boatload of coupons. I went, Ziggy in tow, to a Kroger in another neighborhood in town to take advantage of triple coupons. I spent $54.75, saved $35.99. For a novice, not so bad.
I continue to think about, dream about, and long for a church family. For a host of reasons, this feels very important to me, yet I haven't been able to reconcile my heart and head in the confines of organized religion. I keep looking for the right part time job. I am considering (again) keeping children here in our home alongside my own. I continue to think about a return to school and how that might be most doable. We acquired, thanks to Ginger's super-scouting skills and delivery, a new-to-us train table! Katherine has generously offered to pass along a Britax Regent for my bigger kid, and I'm wondering if we put the Marathon in the van, or pass it along. These small bits make up the larger picture of days strung into weeks, people into community-- life and life only, as the Mister might say.

I have learned that my Great Aunt Annie Faye is in hospice in East Texas. The baby sister and youngest sibling by far of my late paternal grandfather, Annie Faye sat nights with my mother's mother for years before she died, taking her to the Saturday night music show hayrides in town and always making extra time for us when we were down visiting. My Mister met her the year we got married, and wisely told her that her chicken and dumplings were better than mine. Ziggy met her, too, a couple years ago, when Annie Faye was still in her own home.

Speaking to his grandmother by telephone the day before yesterday, my sweet tender hearted put-it-all-out-there little boy said, "Diggy, I bet you are sad that your aunt is dying." Shortly prior, he'd been sad for her himself, though he hadn't fully understood whether it was her "pet" ant, or her father's sister, who was ill.

Presently, I await the call from my mother (Diggy), who will come through town to meet her cousin Russell and catch a ride to East Texas. Depending on the timing of things, they will either say goodbye to our dear aunt, or they will gather with the straggling remainder of family members and some folks from the community at the funeral home and then at a church to celebrate Annie Faye's life. Sadly, my commitments here render me unable to travel with them at this time.

Ziggy says "It's not OK that I am the only child in our family. But there is just one little problem, Mama. We don't know where to get some more kids to live with us." He has declared, too, that he wants to go to kindergarten, and has prepared a backpack that resides by the front door. "I'm not going to school today, but maybe on Sunday or Monday," he tells me. He wants to be around kids all the time, he says, and that while he is at school, "You can be at home, Mama. And work. Or maybe go out on a date. Like with your friend Kate."

I'm looking into programs to split the difference, knowing that as parents, we all come to the gig with preconceived notions and ideals, but that our best game on absolutely includes the ability to flex it all, and to compromise where necessary. Ziggy is three, coming up on four. He's just figuring some of this stuff out. He is in no way mature enough to know the big picture or the consequences and I'd not ever lay that kind of responsibility on him. But I do listen to him, and let him know he's been heard. Most days, I think I'm a very good mother. And for now, he thinks so, too. I hope and pray each day to do the most right things, by him, by my Mister, by myself, and our community, too. As I've been telling friends, I remain open to the Universe for the answers and most right way. I know we will be provided for.

In the meantime, I feel so fortunate to be able to put my primary energies toward mothering and homemaking. My Mister and I have made choices together, making that a priority. My heart is here. I thank MBM for knowing that and for supporting that through all he does, day after day. I appreciate that his heart, too, is in my being here. In providing something we can not precisely measure, but dually hold in esteem and value. Last night, we talked about this, about the truth in different but equal, about the conflict and the push-pull. About the advantages to being who we are now, as opposed to being who we were sometime back when. He claims wisdom now, rather than an easier ride along with society, had he been a father earlier in life. Me, I'm a bit more led by instinct, but I claim a little bit of wisdom, too. Which includes knowing that we don't know all the answers, or even most of them. Wisdom to me is a lot like courage. Courage is going on ahead and doing a thing even when fear is present. Wisdom is resting in the absence of all answers, and the acknowlegement and willingness to ponder the big questions. It's other things, too.

As the summer is on (though the calendar holds on for many days more to Spring), I've made some promises to Ziggy for greater attentions, less distraction in way of computer and such. More play. Fuller presence. More garden, yard, community. The Y pool is open as of yesterday, and we had our inaugural dip; we'll spend chunks of most days there. We listen to African music daily. We are signed up for the Nashville Public Library's Summer Reading Program -- both for Ziggy, and for me. We can earn a bookbag for him, a book light for me, and also a family fun package to the Nashville Sounds on Library night.

Monetary resources are shyer than ever, as we feel the recession personally and all around us. Many of our loved ones are out of work, times are tough. And yet, they are joyful, too. Our other kinds of resources are big. Family, community, a city with so many things to do for next to nothing: free kid movies Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, movies in the park, Shakespeare in the park, our beloved library and its children's programming, U-Pick farms, Metro Parks and Greenways to explore and their own programming for kids and families, memberships to the Y and the Zoo and Cheekwood and the Adventure Science Center.....

I'll be posting some of our favorite resources for summer fun soon. There is always more to tell, to share, to shed. For now, my boy awaits. My presence is called for here and now.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:55 AM

    busy ms booty and family! loved the pic of the little man and the grandpa man hoisting the flag. glad you all had a lovely trip. love all the details of here and away.