There's way too much to be thankful for. The beauty of this earth, of the little valley we are blessed to inhabit. The sunshine and snow, mountains and winding trails. The way my girl loves to explore her surroundings, wants to "hike by myself" meaning she's large and in charge down the path, no stroller, no backpack, just a girl and her dog, stopping only to inquire about another find along the way. Hey, what's this? What about this one, mama? She moves from a hole in a dead tree to thorns on a wayward branch, bear poop, a muddy puddle. We exchange smiles and have trouble grasping when she became this old, this articulate and knowledgeable.
She would hike on and on, but we know that we have to turn around if her little legs are gonna make it. On the way out she succumbs to dad's arms and, later, to a long and snugly sleep. We cook and laugh with an old, visiting friend, ready to share our culinary inspirations with the group later that afternoon. The gathering sees a basement full of little buddies, jumping on an old mattress, hoot hollering, following one another around. Upstairs the adults feast on locally procured appetizers, a recently shot pheasant, trout caught that summer made into a delicious dip, warm brie smothered in cherry chutney from my tree. The mood is open and welcoming, bustling and light. It feels like family, though in a whole new form. These friends recently went from new to old and while we don't see each other as much as we'd like, we can all remember the time before the children, when we were new in this town, when we were carefree in such a different way.
It's a gift to be spending the day so close to home. Since college Thanksgiving has meant travel. This year I decided to change all that. It's time to start our new traditions. This inaugural thankful hike. The kid party in the basement. Guitars and singing, a fire out back, kids up way too late, all our bellies way too full.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The weekends are turning into our precious time. As we settle into the almost bare trees, the silver sky, dusty sunlit snow, I feel so much gratitude for the chance to slow down and be together. The three of us have been inseparable since school got out on Friday. Yesterday we managed to go out to breakfast and lunch (an insanely delectable treat), hike in the leaves and all three take afternoon naps. Amid that splendor, we've don tons of laundry, removed a pound of dust bunnies from behind the sofa and beneath the beds, even organized the boxes of hand me down clothes in the laundry room. Eliana has eagerly helped us both relax and get busy, helped us take care of business and recharge.
I marvel at my girl all the time. But there's really nothing better than the shared marvel.
Did she really just say that?
Did you see how fast she ran down the hill?
Can you believe her feet touch the pedals?
It's this awe that surrounds us as our child continues to bless us with her brilliance, with her physical abilities, with her sense of humor.
Pumpkin carrot bisque is simmering on the stove. Jeff is raking the last of the leaves. The whir of Eliana's sleep machine tells me that she's still quiet. And while I savor these quiet moments, I'm beginning to feel eager to nuzzle those nappy curls, listen to her recount dreams.