July 22, 2013
The 7th Monday: Being a mom can be humbling and a wee bit embarrassing.
First, we stopped at our little library in Montague and checked out a fresh stack of books. (Embarrassing moment: Realizing someone had censored a scantily clad photo of a busty woman in one of the books by taping a little scrap of paper over the picture which made my six-year-old all the more curious what was under that little piece of orange paper.)
Next, we took a bike ride along the Hart-Montague bicycle trail. (Humbling moment: Harper throwing a temper tantrum because her bike was “tippy” and having two well-meaning women tell me that I should carry her because she was scared. Ummmm…and how do you suggest I carry her, her bicycle AND keep up with my six-year-old?)
We explored the wetlands where the White River spills into White Lake. We found frogs in the algae and saw mushrooms, trees and cotton candy in the clouds. (No embarrassing moments – -whew!)
Then we stopped at a store to pick up a few things. (Embarrassing moment: Harper asks in her loud whisper voice “Mom, is that a boy or girl?” referring to the lady behind the checkout counter.)
Lastly, we head home for manicures and dress up. (Humbling moment: I let the cat out of the house only to catch a glimpse of his tail which was covered with pink hairdo holders. So, I chase after the cat to extract the bows.)
We ate fresh blueberries that we had picked two days prior. (Humbling moment: Explaining that yes, indeed, eating lots of blueberries does make your poop an interesting purplish color.)
July 15, 2013
The 6th Monday: If I’ve learned anything from being a mom, it’s that you have to be prepared that the day you may have planned isn’t going to turn out the way you had hoped. Mothers have to be spontaneous. You have to go with the flow. You have to sometimes make lemonade out of lemons. And you have to know the right words to say when a six-year-old drops his slushy in the dirt.
Yuri: “Mom! I dropped my slushy in the dirt. You have to buy me another one.”
Me: “Honey, I’m sorry you dropped your slushy but because you were careless doesn’t mean you’re entitled to another one.”
Yuri: “But that’s not fair! Harper now has more slushy than me!”
Harper: “I’ll share with you, Hudda (that’s her made-up word for Yuri)”
So, that was the major part of my “Mondays with Mom.” Trying to teach my son a lesson. Appreciating that my daughter was willing to share. Trying to not let a simple slushy ruin a day that means a lot to me.
And then Dad gets home and joins them in the sprinkler, we found a cicada shell and we picked wildflowers. Yesterday, we made lemonade.
July 1, 2014
The fourth Monday: I shared the fourth Monday with family again. This time at Muskegon State Park near the channel where freighters passing through is the biggest excitement of the day — that is if you ask the adults. If you asked Yuri and Harper it would be running with their cousins up and down the dunes, finding a hidden fort along the shores of Muskegon Lake, eating Ruth Ann’s ice-cream way past bedtime, acting out characters in their makeshift puppet show and sleeping in an old popup Starcraft camper.
Watching Yuri and Harper play with their cousins reminded me of my fond memories with my cousins — from trick-or-treating to balancing across the beam in our Pap’s big New England barn to having arguments. Yes, arguments. Somehow my cousin Eric asked me and my sister what we wanted to be when we grew up. My sister, Leni, answered a bulldozer driver and Eric said a baseball player. I said, “I want to be a mom.” They both told me that wasn’t a real job. The argument ensued and feelings were hurt. Isn’t it reassuring to know that sometimes a disagreement can turn into a fond memory when love is thrown in the mix?
“A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.” – Marion C. Garretty
June 24, 2013
The third Monday: As I made breakfast, I told Yuri and Harper to find something they wanted to do until it was time to eat. Yuri grabbed a book (which he decided to try to read upside down and backwards) and Harper grabbed an animal — so typical and so expected but I love it just the same.
After we ate, I decided to dig out all the photos I could find of my father who passed away last month at a much too young age of 57. I told every story I could remember to tell them about their Pap. You see, my parents divorced when I was too young to even remember. I lived off-and-on with my dad until I was Harper’s age — just ready to start kindergarten. But anyone who knows me, knows that my memories stay with me. I told them how my dad would drape my little legs over the handlebars of his motorcycle and drive down the country roads of Unityville, Pennsylvania. I told them how he would laugh because I was scared of the “eyes” that grew on potatoes when they rested in the bin a little too long. I told them how he indulged my sweet tooth and let me eat sugar cookies for breakfast and how he would let me comb his hair hours at a time. I told them how my dad teased me that, although I didn’t inherit his height or his wild nature, I sure got his ears.
Yuri captured the sweet photo of Harper listening to one of my stories and Harper took the photo of me smiling. As I edited the images for this post, I looked at the photo of my dad dressed as a cowboy in his fifth-grade school picture next to the photo of me smiling and I noticed I inherited a lot more than Danny Kessler’s ears. I see our smiles are the same. My eyes crinkle in the same places. Our chins are identical. A few freckles dot our cheeks. My time with my father was far too short but my memories will stay with me for a lifetime.
June 17th, 2013
The second Monday: They say home is where the heart is. My special day set aside for Yuri and Harper was shared with twenty of my family members that gathered at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, Virginia for a family reunion. They came from New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Missouri and Kentucky. Trust me, a posse of young cousins was much more intriguing to Yuri and Harper than their old mom but I still shot a few images (and Jon shot one too) to document a slice of the day. Then I set the camera down and let it all sink in. I let Yuri and Harper form new relationships. Yuri learned to play chess (well, sort of) with his big cousin, Andrew. Harper rode on her Zanny’s back pretending she was riding a horse as the Virginia sun transformed her freckles. We put together puzzles, hiked, read books and swam. We talked and talked some more. Yes, without a doubt, everyone called Virginia home and we all left with our hearts better for it.