For a few months of the year, I'm so lucky to be able to put on my stay-at-home-mom hat! Today I accompanied Finn and fellow fourth-graders on a tour of a local public broadcasting station. Finn interviewed one of his best buddies in a very brief recording session in the set room. Both boys were pretty nervous but really enjoyed seeing themselves in a play-back for the class. The kids learned about how much homework professional dee-jays do for their jobs and how being "on air" compares to the experience of going up to bat in a ballgame. It was a good learning experience for all of us... Plus, I just love little bonus times like these with the kids.
(I also accompanied Molly and fellow 6th graders to the Field Museum in Chicago a couple of weeks ago but have no photos to share, unfortunately!)
Mom at left, Gram at top, Molly on right, and myself at bottom
Not a day goes by that I don't note to myself how fortunate I (and my kids) are to have both my grandmothers as well as my mom all alive and in good health -- still working hard, caring for loved ones, traveling, and learning new things. I am so proud of them and am full of hope that I will live as long and with such vigor.
With each, we have new topics to discuss every time we get together: Grandma's recently returned from a California vacation with Grandpa. Gram's picked up a piece of weaving work she stuffed into a bag during a move half a century ago and just finished reading a book she thinks I would enjoy. Mom's preparing for final exams in the classes she's taking while also exuding some of the joy she's getting out of teaching one of my brothers to tend his own piece of land.
Each has her passions, and indicative of the eras in which they've grown up, I'd say those pursuits have been pretty tightly interwoven with the pursuits of their spouses, but they have still always found ways to satisfy their unique interests.
It was a pleasure to share lunch on Mother's Day with my parents, maternal grandparents, and my own little family -- to make food for the women who have made countless meals for me, to learn how they've been spending their days most recently, to hear their barely-veiled hopes and fears through the hints we give each other.
We are not your "best friends" mother/daughter pairs, as we know some sets to be. We don't call each other daily -- or even weekly. We tend not to consult each other before making (m)any of our big decisions. We live hours apart, and we don't drive the miles often enough for the visits we always enjoy. But we all know that our love for each other runs deep and true. Each generation raised the next with an ability to trust one's instincts and the lessons gained in youth, while also imparting the understanding that we would continue to evolve according to our own experiences in life.
Thank you each for the knowledge you've shared over the decades of my life; the examples of strength, grace, and service that you provide; and the love and affection you share with me, my husband, and children. I think of you all every day -- even though we're not having those frequent conversations and visits. And I hear your voices in my head and my heart, always.
If our little gal Mol had her way, she would subsist nearly entirely on a diet of nuts, fruit, beans, breads, cheeses, seafood, and hot tea. She is a great eater and will try nearly anything, but that list covers her faves. We knew that having braces put on her teeth would put a nix on sticky foods (bye-bye, beloved dried fruit), but we didn't know there would be such an extensive list of no-no's: sugary drinks, nuts & seeds (including popcorn), plus other crunchy foods (e.g. carrots, apples, radishes). Even our homemade bread with its chewy crust is a potential bracket- or band-breaker. Molly was dismayed when we left the orthodontist's office with her mouthful of silver. "WHAT am I going to eat for a year and a half?" she asked plaintively.
We've begun buying soft oatmeal bread at the grocery store for her lunch sandwiches, and the girl is certainly on a smoothie kick this spring. We're also trying to keep nuts in her repertoire by including them in different preparations rather than consumed whole and raw. We found a tasty (soft) walnut bread recipe that we all like. Sometimes I chop nuts finely and cook them on the stove with steel cut oats for breakfast. Pesto is fine. Most recently, we made nut milk. A tasty, blended concoction of soaked/softened nuts, water, vanilla, and a drizzle of honey, Molly likes it straight up, but we think it would also make a fine base for a smoothie. (BH&G offers a recipe for one if you click on the link.) We're planning to try the same technique for making almond milk soon. Molly's realizing that while she can't enjoy all the texture in her food that she typically does, she can still try to get the flavors.
In the end, we hope Molly learns that this experience is just one example of the way we can take what life deals us and make the best of it. Around, under, or through... We don't always get to choose our path, but I think we usually learn the most when we go through.