PIE PARTY

And so right down to my core comes breath… clear, free, and pure. Hashed over all summer and before? The origin family, or what’s left of them, and being a part of it. It is (finally) OK.

But first things needed to be said, or written, as that is how my words come, through written form. Don took it well and with a loving response. Seth, quite the opposite. It came to a standstill almost ending altogether. But he came back with a response that lent credence and my armor was put down.

We had a grape pie party from our own grapes on what might have been the last sunny day in the 70’s. Seth, Don, and his wife, along with both dogs, loving the meadow running free. Huge cups of dark rich coffee sipped happily creek side with laughter and ease, coming up to a decadent pie lunch topped with large scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Hours passed on this sunny day, my soul set free, with a heart safe to open.

JOYFUL CHILD-LIKE ABANDON

The wind through my hair, legs pumping round and round, tires crunching over the fallen leaves along the trail by the water.

“This is so much fun!” I exclaim to Samuel more than once, adding, “I feel joy!”

The sun dappling the path, warming my back in the open spaces, a deer skittering across still with its spots. A bike ride after a few good nights of sleep was just the tonic to bring joy, happy memories of childhood rekindled, of which there were some.

In those days, our country road had little traffic so we had free reign, riding our bikes all day everywhere in the neighborhood unperturbed by parental restraint. She was at work. We could hike the hills too exploring the ponds, cow paths, and trails, with no one to say we couldn’t.

Of course, having no adult monitoring the home also had horrific consequences for me- but interspersed between the horror was joyful abandon. Joyful memories didn’t come up out of me until the horrors came too. (writing the book after my mother died 12 years ago)

Samuel and I decided to shorten the usual 1 ½ hour ride to less than an hour so our butts wouldn’t hurt. Now it is fun and not so much work. I want to do it again and again!

SIMPLE THRILLS

Though mother-nature threw a hot sticky week in at the tail end of summer, my skinny dipping days are numbered. After becoming sweaty during meadow walks, it isn’t easy pulling up a bathing suit over my body- so why bother? Neighbors can’t see through all the foliage and trees we planted, so go for it!

And it is heaven, bobbing up and under, feeling the cool water over my skin washing off the stinky mosquito spray needed to fight off those needle nosed poison pokers as big as crocodiles. Glorious.

It is new to almost wish for the first frost weeks, or months away, just to kill those suckers off. After the rains mid-summer, they began hatching thriving more and more after every rain of which there’s been many.

But isn’t that the way of life? Taking the good with the bad, and finding common ground for both. Be steady. Find your peace. And keep your boat afloat.

PIE STORY

After two large kettles of apple sauce, why not pies? Pies? You must be mad, insane, out of your mind. But it sounded so reasonable to me. So away we go.

“Make two,” Samuel said. Two?

“Who is the other one for?” I asked, thinking of who might be the best recipient.

Peeling, slicing, then peeling and slicing some more. When the bowl was full there was way more than enough for two, so it had to be three.

Mentally asking myself, do you really want to spend the day making pies? Sure.

But then the crust.

“Samuel, I’m out of flour,” I said, dismayed that there was exactly enough flour to make just one pie.

“OK,” he said, adding, “I’ll go get more,” already salivating for the imagined apple pie as images swam in his head more desired than sugar plums.

We don’t have sweets around much because I’ll eat them. Though losing my taste for sweet desserts or candy, there is not enough will power within me to resist. And lately, since becoming a calorie counting maniac, this endeavor was madness. Why didn’t I see it?

Happily rolling out crust after crust, it is an art, and one has to be in the right frame of mind. There have been times when it was too wet, or too tough, and just terrible. But this time? Perfection for all three.

One went to friends down the street, one for the freezer, and one for Samuel. And though he had already been to the store once that day for more flour, he swung by again arriving home with ice cream cradled happily in his arm.

“What! Ice cream?” I exclaimed.

Later than evening, Samuel came into the living room with a dinner plate. Not a dessert plate, a large dinner plate with an ample slice of the most perfect pie I’ve ever made swaddled and surrounded by mounds of white cold creamy ice cream.

Happy to have brought such sweetness into Samuel’s life, I went to bed also satisfied that I did not indulge. That lasted until a bit after 8PM, then it was all over. And unfortunately it tasted so good another piece might as well go down. (with ice cream too)

Mentally counting the calories while trying to sleep on a bloated stomach the truth was bitter. Those kitchen trips were a day’s worth of calories. The truth was bitter, but that pie sure was good!

SAY NO!

On my mind all week after speaking up to a ‘friend.’ Friend in quotes because we’ve not been able to really make a friendship although she’s in our little group that meets monthly.

“Is it OK if you pick me up at 10 of?” she emails after asking if she’d like a ride to our first get together in 14 months. We have done monthly gatherings on-line but this is the first in person gathering for me.

She has gone down to the coffee shop every morning for a long while, so quite the social animal. But has no problem making me late so that she can stay after church to chat with her friends. 10 minutes earlier and I wouldn’t be late to Chris’s, and her seemingly innocent question really aggravated me. Then the critic steps in, it is only ten minutes, she’s a widow, blah, blah, blah, my head battered and weary from the critic.

No way could my response be yes. For the first time, not only do my needs matter, but I must and do advocate for them. And it finally registered that in all the past years she has made me late every time so that she could stay longer with her other group of friends. She has been very wily about keeping that to herself, but Samuel goes down for coffee and has seen her there every time.

Saying no is so hard. What will the others think? What will I say when they ask where Rosalie is? But, but, but, what about me? What about wanting to see my friends, hug them, spend a lovely afternoon chatting, playing cards, and wiling away the time pleasurably? Plus the simple fact that I hate being late anywhere and avoid it whenever possible.

That is how hard it is to say no. But in doing it, more self-respect grows. In saying no to the inappropriateness of others I begin to become visible. That is a first. Being invisible is my motes operando.

Hiding because the real me is so detestable. No more.

GRAND-PARENTING

Shane asks, “Can you take the kids while William plays Lacrosse?”

Tear fall while answering, “Of course.”

One long year of having Shane over at a distance masked up. The barrier of a screen between us and his family. Watching them below on the patio while we sat on the screened porch safely.

So two come this morning, mask-less and close-up. Then Cindy comes again later to spend the night. Oh how her overnights have been missed; playing with dolls, combing their hair, the child in me displayed proudly as Cindy’s magical imagination takes me away too.

“We get to be grand-parents again,” I say to Shane.

Listening to him chuckle, I can almost see him smile over the phone.

A Kind Place

Soon we take a trip to see our grand-son who will be one year old later in April. We’ve only known him via the on-line camera, though that has brought much joy, warmth, and laughter. He is almost ready to walk his first steps. We have spent many happy hours with his older sister, now 4. She excitedly counts the days until we come warming my heart with golden love.

Running out of wrapping makes for creativity. Slapping some poster paint on the box of stuffed unicorns for them both looked really chintzy, more was needed. Sparkles! Yes… after that why not painted words in pink and purple with a little more added glitz?

The project took way more time than planned, but it was fun as most crafts are. And now she’ll have a box to treasure and keep. Though it’s the baby’s birthday, she likes hers surprises from Nana too. And I don’t disappoint.

The morning starts thoughtfully wondering at the shear disappearance from myself. Where have the good thoughts gone, the gentleness inside, the warm place to fall? Abandoned, cold, empty. And why?

Because when sleep issues arrive over a too long period of time, the blame falls all on me. I’m too tired to fight the bully who shows up full force. One day good sleep leading to good eating, exercise, and maybe not enough enough beneficial emotional work. Because the next night not falling asleep. Somehow my body and mind split over the day without being aware of why.

Or is it just seasonal due to no fault of my own? Of course it is, the change of seasons messes with brain chemicals making them whacko. Whatever the reason, the kind gentleness learned, albeit a tiny taste of what might be even more possible, is GONE.

That is what will sustain, an interior to depend on. That is where the healing becomes more than just a word. My belief continues that if sleep is not blessed upon me, I must not deserve it or have done something bad or not right.

That makes no sense. It is habit not reality. March into April has been volatile, ups, downs, and moments of calm. As the sun rises pouring onto my face through the blowing wind and paned glass, breathe into the moment, and into my body even if the feelings scare me. Go there, be there, observe, listen, learn, and accept. Once the season settles down so will I. In the meantime, gentle kindness…

SPRINGTIME FUN

What have I done as they started the engine and it purred? My grandson happily moved forward on the new mini-bike, though at 200 cc’s it can carry an adult.

“Don’t open it all the way up,” Samuel tells him, “It’s very touchy.”

My fears increase. Buying something to entertain my eldest grand-son when he comes to visit after a very long year of not having the kids over at all is about to end. We go for our second dose of the vaccine today, so soon we can safely be with family without masks or distancing.

On a chilly sunny day our grand-son came over, and with masks on they assembled the new mini-bike inside the shed.

“I’m going to buy it,” I said to Samuel after he emitted negativity, “I’m using my money.”

But second thoughts invade as William went around the meadow, the worse scenarios popping into my mind like falling breaking an arm, leg, or whatever. My stomach churned with fear finally leaving the patio for the safety of indoors and not having to watch. When it got quiet peeking out to see if everything was alright.

“It’s OK,” Samuel said after expressing my fears and doubts, “You take risks to have fun.”

You sure do, as we both commiserated about our own youthful days of riding motorcycles through the fields. In those days we didn’t even wear helmets. Several times he comforted me and my fears seemingly enjoying this whole process of assembly and riding, even taking a few laps himself. When my son came to pick William up, he rode too. It looks like a good toy to have around for the ‘boys.’ My son gave me the thumbs up all smiles.

My younger grand-daughter and grand-son will soon be able to come and stay. They enjoy the indoor toys, and other outside activities that don’t include motorized vehicles. But my older grand-son found us less and less interesting. We are interesting again, and I love that.

“This was the best day all year,” I said to Samuel, feeling complete and fully joyful after spending a day with William. It has been such a long, long year. This last leg as we near the finish line seems the hardest.