seth’s shoes fit me

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me, the dog, and seth, looking down at our feet

Let me remind you that Rich and I already have three grown-up children.  They are Jacob (21), Ethan (20), and Grace (18).  They are out of state, in college.  We also have two “middle aged” children David (16), and Caleb (13).

Seth and Sarah are the babies.  Seth (9) and Sarah (8).  babies.

I am fine with having grown up children.  I’m okay with having the middle aged ones, too.  But the babies I have to keep.  They’re mine.  They still get pulled onto my lap at least 2-5 times a week.

Last night it was time for football practice when out of the blue I got hit in the heart by a train.  I had gone into the closet to get my shoes on when I looked down at shoes I had just bought for Seth.  They looked strangely big next to mine.  “No.” I thought.  I lifted my bare foot and slipped it right into Seth’s shoe.

“Seth!  Seth! Come here!” I called.  For a moment it was funny and I knew baby boy would sure be surprised to have feet as big as mine.

But as soon as he walked toward me……I looked at his face…..his eyes looked into mine…..and I opened my mouth to say, “look!”…….when the tears came…..

“Seth!  Look at my feet!”

He looked down, Sarah came running.

“Your shoes fit me!  How do your shoes fit my feet!  Seth!  What’s happening!  Seth!”

“Mom…….you’re crying,” he said gazing with wonder (and half a proud smile), at my face.

“Mom, don’t cry,” laughed Sarah.

I stood there, as they cheerfully comforted me as best they could.

“Mom, your feet are just small!”

“You’re still TALLER than me!”

“Your feet are still BIGGER THAN MINE!”

And, finally,

“Take it off.  So you can stop fussing.”  ~Seth

*****

P.S. When he came home from football practice, he ran right over and sat on the couch next to me, making a big show out of taking off his cleats and socks, proudly lifting each foot, wriggling his toes, looking back and forth from his feet to my face, and making sure I was noticing his big feet and trying to get me to cry again.

nancy drew books

When I was around 10 years old my Grandma brightened up my entire world by giving me a set of Nancy Drew books, which I absolutely loved to read.  I got so I would read one a day….all summer long…the summer I was ten.

I love how as an adult you remember things you did as a kid and think, “I still do that!!”  I HATE endings, I hate finishing things that are extra-special.  Most of the time you just have to go ahead and end, but sometimes you have a choice and just can’t.  For example, I read Winnie the Pooh to my son when he was little and I never read him the last chapter because I just couldn’t.  Well, I never read the last Nancy Drew book from Grandma, either………I never will.  It would be over.

I kept them all on a bookshelf in my bedroom,  in an orderly row.  My baby brother Isaac went through a stage when he would deliberately crawl in my bedroom just to pull himself up and pull all big sister’s nice books down in a heap.  I wonder if we have a photo of that.  I would have to put them all back again every single day, half annoyed and half forgiving because he was so cute and I loved him.

I had neglected the books.  I had all but forgotten their existence.

BUT THEN.  My brother David went to a huge antique store in Savannah, Georgia and sent me these photos:

(by the way it feels so good to be seen and known and loved by family–by Grandma years ago, and by Dave in sending me these photos bc he remembered I had them)

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The memory of Nancy Drew books came back to me as I thought of how amazed I was when Grandma gave me the set, how I treasured them and read them.  I would study the titles and the pictures on each cover.  I loved the size and feel of the books in my hands and their nice hard yellow covers.  I thought how I’ve kept them for 32 years now…..but not on shelves.  Shelf space for Nancy Drew had run out years ago and other books had become more important because life was busy with raising seven children and I rarely had time to read anything but children’s books to them, and no time to enjoy my own collection of books, much less the ones from my own childhood.  I like to enjoy my books by looking at them, pulling one out to look through, putting it back, rearranging them, putting them in neat orderly rows.  Feeling that they were mine, all mine.

I texted him back:  “When I was 10 Grandma gave me the whole set.  And I read one every day.  I should put them on shelves instead of in boxes.”

I’ve been cleaning and cleaning the basement for days.  And as I did, I came across some of the books!

Yesterday, Dave (my son) had an appointment and afterwards had to go back to school, but, “It would be WRONG if we were right next to Goodwill and didn’t run inside quick.”

WE FOUND A BOOKCASE!  It was made of pine (light enough for me to carry myself) and only cost 10 dollars.

Once books are on a shelf no one notices the shelf anymore so any ol’ bookcase of any quality (as long as it is sturdy) will do for books.  When I showed it to Rich he asked how much I paid and I said thirty and he said “good” and then I laughed and said “IT WAS TEN!!!!” to surprise him and impress him.

It was wonderful to gather up my old Nancy Drews out of a dark lonely box and put them all in one spot for the first time in 20 years.  I opened them up to see my name written inside.  I admired the covers.

There were a BUNCH MISSING.

This morning I wanted to blog and could not find my computer anywhere.  David uses it more than I do these days so I kept muttering his name as I went from room to room looking for MY computer.  Ugh.  I felt just as annoyed as I did when I found all my books on the floor.  Boys!  Brothers and sons.  cute.  loved.

I remembered that he had gone to the garage where we have a work out room upstairs.  He goes over there every day to exercise and he is very proud of his resulting muscles.  “Maybe he took my computer to the work out room,” I thought.  I don’t like going to the garage and mainly stay away.  But I tromped on over to look and… since I was there… I looked in the storage closet and FOUND A WHOLE BUNCH MORE OF MY BOOKS.

Thanks Dave (1) for inspiring me and thanks Dave (2) for misplacing my computer and forcing me into the garage this morning!  It’s all because of you two that I’m getting this silly little project done!

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I carried them back to the house in this basket.

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Getting ready to add them to the shelf.

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the shelf I bought at goodwill for ten dollars is already filled up

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I wrote down the ones I am still missing.  It’s like a treasure hunt!  I bet they’re around here somewhere!

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the beautiful blue of an autumn sky

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Samantha cat has a sore paw.

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Seth

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David was using this tool to retrieve Seth’s football from the pond.  He wasn’t being nice. He knew he had to do it because he was the one who kicked it in.

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When he saw me up on the porch taking his photo with my zoom lens he did what he loves to do…….

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…..take his shirt off and show off those muscles from his daily work-outs.

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I have three brothers and these five sons. (photo from 8 years ago)

Why am I crying?  I guess it’s because I’m happy and life is beautiful…and fleeting.

15 minutes of bird-watching

I have sorrow in my heart that these photos aren’t great but that can’t stop me from posting them!!  This isn’t National Geographic, this is an ordinary housewife taking photos because when she waved her children off to school she noticed it was a great morning for birdwatching.  I heard the most beautiful morning song calling to me but alas I never did figure out who did the calling.  However, since I was out there anyway (heeding ‘the call’) with my camera, pajamas, & barefoot, I meandered around to see what else I could see.

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At first I was annoyed with the wires but then I thought they added something cool to the photo……and plus it was so neat to see a woodpecker and a nuthatch in the same frame!  The woodpecker was cool and collected, the nuthatch scurried smoothly around the tree like a mouse.

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Thanks to my camera lens, (which is useful like binoculars) I could SEE this bird.  Without the lens it really did look like a mouse.

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…a little bit of red beauty hiding in the bushes…

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mysterious

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This bird doesn’t come to the feeders, I spied it flitting about in the trees behind the house.    It’s a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

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flying away

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gone

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I love morning-glories.

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The rose-bush is doing well.

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A charming juvenile cardinal….

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Chewing on a twig!!!!  It’s so cute.  I love how he uses his tail as a support so he can reach out and chew the twig.

*******

a scripture that meant a lot to me this morning:

“But what happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely………..since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.  That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse.  We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.  Each of us is an original.”  Galations 5

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something of one’s own

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It’s October.  This morning a soft mild breeze brought down 100 yellow leaves, tossing and turning them before they landed with a papery sound on the driveway.  I saw Walter Kitty looking up, up, up, his head turning this way and that, watching the leaves.  His first autumn.

The way water reflects colorful leaves and sunshine, like a stained glass window, is breathtaking.  Every scene is much lovelier than a video, or painting, or a photograph.  There are no smells of earth, or sounds of nature, in a mere picture.

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“Woman’s life today is tending more and more toward the state William James describes so well in the German word, ‘Zerrissenheit–torn-to-pieces-hood.’  She cannot live perpetually in ‘Zerrissenheit.’  She will be shattered into a thousand pieces.  On the contrary, she must consciously encourage those pursuits which oppose the centrifugal forces of today.  Quiet time alone, contemplation, prayer, music, a centering line of thought or reading, of study or work.  It can be physical or intellectual or artistic, any creative life proceeding from oneself.  It need not be an enormous project or a great work.  But it should be something of one’s own.  Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day–like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.  What matters is that one be for a time inwardly attentive.”

Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, page 56

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Like most mothers, my days are busy from start to finish.  Yesterday even more so.  The children didn’t have school so I left a list of chores for David and Sarah to complete while I was gone, and took Caleb, along with Seth, to his orthopedic doctor’s appointment, 45 minutes away through morning rush hour city traffic.  The appointment was over an hour long in a tiny room, mostly waiting, with Caleb leaving twice for xrays.  We left with the orders that he could not throw anymore until his shoulder heals, as he has what’s commonly called “Little League Shoulder”, which means that the growth plate in the shoulder is inflammed by over-use in throwing baseballs and footballs.  Ironically, I was suffering from a stiff neck all day and still am this morning.  We ate lunch,  relieved to finally know why Caleb’s shoulder was hurting and happy that with rest it should heal up nicely.  We did some shopping and came home with just enough time to get ready for music lessons, and then on to football and cheerleading practice.  Then, loud and happy goofing around in the house afterwards as they ate a bedtime snack, took showers, and David chased the family pets around the house, scaring them half to death with his dragon hand puppet.

*********

In the midst of this day of mine,  I took out my camera and enjoyed God’s lovely world in the small green grassy yard by the music building downtown.  Seth and I saw a pretty creek, trees with bright leaves, unusual mushrooms, and we took each other’s picture.

Now I’m taking a quiet moment to write here, feet up on the coffee table and dishwasher running in the kitchen, and I’m quite positive Anne Morrow Lindbergh would approve.

 

 

 

 

little stories

This morning I said, “Seth, I’m putting your snack in your backpack,” and he turned and looked at me with the “oh-no- mom’s- going- to- see-what-I-have-hiding- in-there” expression on his face.  So I did a search and found two strange “squishies” that he had pilfered from his friends.  “I’m just borrowing them.” he quickly explained.  Squishies are all the rage with Seth and his friends and he doesn’t have one but I told him (like I tell all the children) DON’T BORROW YOUR FRIENDS TOYS OR LET THEM “GIVE” YOU THEIRS!!!!

*****

The other day we were getting ready for football practice and I said, “Seth, don’t forget to put on your cup.”  “Oh, I don’t wear a cup to football anymore,” he said.  “You’ll get hit there sooner or later and then you will,” I replied, airily.  He was insulted.  “MOM.  I have GOOD REFLUXES.”

*****

Yesterday we were in the car headed to football practice.  “Mom, why does that truck have chuffy cheeks?” Sarah wanted to know.

*****

“Oh, this is so good, try this, E,” I said, handing Ethan my cup of iced matcha green tea latte to sip.
“It tastes like condensed grass.” he said.

*****

We returned home from an outing an hour ago and I got the mail before coming into the house.  In a stack of junk and catalogues, I found a letter from the local meat market.  My name and address were written out by hand on the envelope.  “Why are they sending me personal mail?” I questioned out loud.  I opened it and read,  “If you shopped here in August, check your bank statement, we believe we owe you money.”  I was completely flummoxed.  I handed the note to Rich, and he in turn checked our online bank statement and found that they charged our credit card 461 dollars.  “Did you spend that much?” “No way, not on meat.” So, he called and spoke to the same lady whose name was signed to the letter and she excitedly told him how she had worked behind the scenes to find me and make the discrepancy correct.   It turned out that the true meat total was 46 and she charged me 461…… and I myself stood there in the store, signed my name, and let it happen.  “I don’t know how I made such a mistake,” I apologized to Rich.  “I wonder if I had kids with me or waiting in the car.”  “You were frazzled,” he agreed.

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“has good refluxes.  doesn’t need a cup.”

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“chuffy cheeks”

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“condensed grass” ……..my beverage of choice

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“I believe we owe you money.”