Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Middle

Ironically, I started this post on the days of 100-degree temperatures. The days when you can’t quite put away the swimsuits and flip-flops, yet cozy sweaters and fleece-lined boots seem too far in the distant.

Summer is melting away as we’re welcoming fall, and this is the time of year the weather always throws me. It both drags on as we adjust to a new schedule and erratically changing weather. Last week our days included icy popsicles and tank tops. This week we drink hot tea in the morning and don flannel pj's at night. Next week, the forecast expects more shorts in the future.

A busy summer has meant for us what it likely means for many: full hearts, messy homes. Swimsuits hanging on the bathroom hooks, power tools on the kitchen counter, deflated birthday balloons in the hallway. Summer was good to us: the road-trips and vacations and ice cream in waffle cones. Park walks, bike rides and swim meets. Sidewalk chalk on the soles of our feet. Impromptu lemonade stands with neighborhood friends. Juicy giant tomatoes and sweet strawberries. It was the lightness we needed after a long, hard, challenging spring.

Transitions are hard for me. I want to force them, to speed them up, to snap my fingers and be done with the whole process. Summer to fall, fall to winter, all in a matter of tidy moments. We’ve been back in school and tightening the reins on our routine for nearly eight weeks now. Homework done. Papers graded and lessons planned. Bedtimes adjusted. Soccer games, tennis clinics, and ballet lessons. Summer is melting away. I like summer, I like the heat, I like the long days and the early morning light. I like the spontaneity that the season brings.

This weekend, two of our members have gone on a daddy-daughter campout. So, the big girls and I have nearly the entire weekend to ourselves. We watched Harry Potter, snuggled on the couch under blankets. We read multiple chapters of our current read-aloud, The Indian in the Cupboard. We have plans for an afternoon hike, a Target run to pick up the final pieces for our Halloween costumes and perhaps another round of Monopoly, or a long bike ride to grab dinner.

I look forward to apples, and blankets and leggings and for shorter days in the sun. But, it’s not yet time. The sun is still high in the sky, the leaves still lush. I see the squash popping up at the market, and cucumbers are still in my CSA, but the tomatoes have disappeared. Then, yesterday morning, there was a chill in the air, enough to grab the gloves for the girl’s morning bike ride to school. On my walk home, I picked up a fallen leaf of brightly colored golden orange and red.

It felt a little like acceptance. It felt like an announcement of “and,” like a declaration that life can be both summer and fall, spontaneous and planned, … and everything in-between. It felt like both the mourning of tomatoes and the celebration of apples. The hot, the cold, the wool, the stripes, the summer, the fall, the beginning of the end of the beginning.

Here’s to the season we’re in, and the one to come. Here’s to the middle, the “and,” the both. Here’s to all of it.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Nine and a almost a half: The questionnaire

  1.  What is your favorite color: yellow & gray
  2. What is are you looking forward to in the next year:  going to New York. playing in a tennis tournament.
  3. What is your favorite fruit: watermelon
  4. What is your favorite movie or TV show: Night at the Museum and Jumanji
  5. What is your favorite season: summer
  6. What is your favorite animal: all of them (Mom’s note: I will say, we went to the Oakland Zoo a few weeks ago, and she lingered the longest over the Giraffe exhibit and the Brown Bears).
  7. What is your favorite song: “My House” and “Glourious” (Mom’s note: I would argue that her favorite artists would be Rachel Platten and/or Imagine Dragons since that is always what she will pick first when she is in control of the music).
  8. What is your favorite book: whatever book I am currently reading (Breakout by Kate Messner.) (Mom’s Note: I will say she tends to enjoy most books she encounters, and usually gravitates towards the fractured fairy-tale type reads. She also just finished the Percy Jackson series, as well as the entire Little House series and loved both of those).
  9. Who is your best friend: Adell, Violet and Lily (Cue heart melting).  
  10. What is your favorite thing about school: reading, writing & science
  11. What is your favorite sport: tennis & swim
  12. I am best at: being happy
  13. What is your favorite snack: granola bars & grapes
  14. What is your favorite dessert: brownies or chocolate pudding
  15. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be: Iceland (She has been pushing hard for this trip.) 
  16. What do you want to learn more about:  writing and music (She's excited about learning to play the flute next year) 
  17. What do you want for your birthday dinner: In N Out (Mom's Note: She requested an In-n-Out visit for her birthday dinner. This was a win-win situation since we were just finishing up a kitchen remodel. That being said, if she got to pick any meal to have it would undoubtably be In-N-Out) 
  18. What do you want to be when you grow-up: scientist (Mom’s Note: she talks often of an oceanographer. She also talks about being a musician.) 
  19. Where is your favorite place to go: tennis practice and piano lessons (Mom's Note: I find this answer boring, but she does love tennis and she is pretty happy every Wednesday afternoon). 
  20. What is your favorite game: any board game or tag

Sunday, June 09, 2019

A Birthday Letter: Nine and one quarter

Dear Daisy,

101 days ago, you turned nine years old, and I have been staring at a blinking cursor and blank page looking for the words to craft your perfect birthday letter. Part of the reason for this tardy birthday letter is just the sheer abnormalities of this spring. Our family has been a bit battered from these past few months, just on top of our normally hectic schedule: softball, ballet, piano, swim, end-of-school year festivities. But, more than that, I have been struggling to write this letter because I see you on the cusp of something different. Something bigger. And I cannot articulate what and how, and this frustrates me as I pride myself on being a wordsmith by nature.
Nine is multiplication tables, flash cards and spelling words. Nine is poetry, graphs and geometry. Nine is Roald Dahl, Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie. Nine is softball, tennis and swim team. Nine are major and minor scales and pop songs on the piano. Nine is impossibly funny, incredibly helpful and increasingly independent. Nine is aloof, grumpy and sarcastic. Nine is social. Nine is strong, agile and fast. Nine is forever and always making a playlist. Nine is furiously writing in her journal. Nine is curious and philosophical. Nine is defiant, beautiful and full of surprise.
Truth be told, turning nine has been hard. Nine is moody and temperamental, kind and silly – all with a fierce eyeroll – and in the span of hours before we start the cycle over again. And the back and forth, up and down, makes parenting a bit more emotionally challenging. But, then, during your final weeks of school, due to a sick sister, you asked if you could ride your bike to and from school. Alone. I fretted for a few minutes, silently running through a variety of alternatives, and I agreed. I stood on the driveway while you clipped your helmet, noticing your long legs wobbling for balance, your ponytail sticking out from under your helmet, your battered black backpack hoisted on your back, I understood that nine is hard. You are on the cusp of adolescence – teetering between this little kid and a grown-up girl. You yearn for independence but are a bit unsure how to proceed with it. You are this truly amazing mixture of awkward and elegant, gentle and fiery, self-possessed and petrified.

As your mom, I want to foster this independence. It’s one of the greatest gifts my own parents gave to me, and I am only understanding how hard it can be. I need to learn to give you space. I need to give you room to grow; the chance to make your own mistakes. And so, for your birthday letter, I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite writers: Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road. -Jack Kerouac
I love you more than all the stars in the sky, and all the water in the ocean.

Love, Momma