With so much rain and dreary days it hasn’t much felt like summer on the days I’m home. Today, though… today is different. Today is officially a summer day. Hot, sunny, with the sun beating on your back. Finally I could blow up the baby pool and go outside with the Little Mr and play. He wasn’t much interested in sitting in the pool, and that’s probably my fault because I didn’t fill it up this morning for the water to warm until now, but it turns out he really wanted to play in the sprinkler setting on our hose attachment. So we sat there while he ran his hands through and picked up the hose and waved it around, splashing himself in the face and then getting angry about it and throwing it back down on the ground. Then it was back inside for something cold – frozen pureed pear in a mesh feeder for him, and coconut cream pie ice cream for me.
The first house I remember growing up in was this little ranch on a cul-de-sac. The front of the house was lined with hedges, there was a crab apple tree in one part of the front yard and a birch tree, maybe – I don’t remember what it was, actually, in the opposite corner. If you were looking at the house from the street, my bedroom was on the very left corner, with two windows – one looking out to the street, another looking at the white house next to us. All of our yards were fenced in, and if you looked down between our two houses, right in front of the fence, there were these “snowballs” growing. I didn’t know them as anything other than snowballs for the longest time. I remember watching them each year and being fascinated by them and how the ants all loved to climb and eat at them.
We moved houses when I was in middle school and my mom dug up the plant and took them with us. I never really knew why, I just figured she loved them and didn’t want to let them go. For years and years they grew at my mom’s house, right next to the foundation. And then, a few years ago, she decided she didn’t want them anymore. I’m not sure why, other than maybe just wanting to do something different with her flower beds. So we dug them up, and I brought them home with me. I planted them in the front flower bed, not realizing that they needed a lot more sun than the front bed gets. They almost died but I managed to rescue them in just enough time to move them to another location.
A relative of mine is big into genealogy, and she likes to post up stories occasionally about my great grandmother (who I didn’t really know). Do you know why we had white snowballs (peonies)? Because those were my great grandmother’s favorite flower. She’s the one that called them snowballs. Years ago I was determined to plant roses in honor of my grandmother (Her middle name was Rose). I wanted to have something in my garden in honor of her and to remind me of her. I’m not, apparently, the only one who felt planting flowers was a great way of honoring loved ones and my mother had already beaten me to it years ago with these peonies.
We’re quite the pair, my little munchkin and I. He has, apparently, inherited my “I hate naps” trait, which leads to a bit of a tricky day trying to get things done with him in tow. The few times he does nap I catch up on the computer, or I spend it knitting (I have a sweet little Gramps cardigan in the works for him for next winter), or other things that are difficult with a baby. But most days I’m toting him around with me. Upstairs to play while I put away laundry or clean the bedrooms. In the home office/craft room when I need something from there. And, of course, in the kitchen to cook and bake.
I know, ultimately, every room he’s in is interesting – every day there’s new items and sounds he’s noticing. But the kitchen… the kitchen is my favorite place to be with him. The kitchen is where we can go from fussy baby to completely content. He loves to watch me move around the room, opening and closing things, banging spoons on the pots and pans, running the mixer or kneading bread dough. The kitchen is my happy place – watching a few ingredients come together to make something amazingly delicious is like magic. If there’s one thing I hope to pass on to him, it would be a love of the kitchen. Even if all he ever makes is boxed mac and cheese in his adult life (though I really hope he makes more than that. Please, universe, let him be a better cook than that!), I want him to have fond memories of time in the kitchen with his mama. Kneading bread, making jam, canning salsa, etc.
Today I made a double batch of these coconut breakfast bars. I made them last week but didn’t like all that honey in there, so this week I used less. I also skipped the coconut milk and just used water, mostly because I didn’t feel like messing with trying to thaw some coconut milk for it. I’m still not sure I really love these bars, and I feel like they’re missing something, so perhaps next time I’ll make some major modifications to tweak them more for my tastes.
It’s the new year, and I probably should be writing about fresh starts and whatnot. Instead, I’m going to tell you that we faked Christmas pictures this morning. We woke up, put on our holiday pajamas we wore on Christmas morning, and we faked photos. See, we were so in the moment on the 25th that we totally forgot. I’m not sure how we managed to forget, but we did. And I was so, so upset about it – the baby’s first holiday and I didn’t have any photographic evidence of it.
I voiced my frustration online, and several friends told me they’ve done the exact same thing. They’ve just been so busy and overwhelmed with things going on – kids begging to open presents and such – that they totally forgot. I’m not alone, at least, which really does happen to make me feel better.
So we faked them. I’m told that in 15 years I won’t even remember we faked them, but I feel like I’ll still know. I know ultimately it won’t matter, though – I won’t be focused on the fact that we faked them, and I’ll instead be looking at how tiny and sweet my boy is here.
There was a free holiday sing-a-long at the local theater today, so off we went and tucked ourselves into a small side aisle just in case we needed to dash out to the lobby with the baby if he started fussing. The afternoon was a mix of listening to the organists play on the old Wurlitzer and sing-a-long songs. The first one we sang was Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town and I had to fight back tears. I don’t know what, exactly, it was that made it happen, but I hit this super emotional wall and had to fight to maintain control or else I was going to be a sobbing mess and the other people around me would probably think I’m crazy.
I read this today, and I think I’m going to post it somewhere where I might see it a lot. I need to read this over and over again. I need to read it when I’m panicking about things not being perfect and just right. I need to read it when I try to make things perfect and they fail. Over, and over, and over again.
But this year while the world rushes around you, may you hold your sweet baby in your arms and realize that on this first Christmas, your baby will find no greater joy than in you. Because you are Mommy and you make everything beautiful just by being you.
Tomorrow… tomorrow I finish up wrapping presents. They’re not the handmade holiday gifts like I have always imagined I’d give – there’s no time with a job and a little one – but so far I can at least say that the holidays are shaping up, in other ways, just as I had long hoped and dreamed for.