We recorded another hymn this week…
In honor of the first day of Fall: a farewell to a summer of transitions.
The first frame shows my oldest with his siblings, celebrating his high school graduation. After trips to New York City, Cape May, and let’s not forget: Bumpass, we dropped our son off for his first semester of college in Manhattan, a city dear to our hearts because it’s where his dad and I met as graduate students. A short while after, my college friends and I got together for our annual reunion. I like to imagine my son someday in the future getting together with the friends he’ll be making in the next few years. A week after my college mini-reunion, I flew to California to attend the wedding of a childhood friend. I stayed with another mutual dear friend, and together we celebrated a beautiful wedding and a lifelong friendship that has weathered all kinds of life changes – big and small, sad and joyous. The last frame of the video is from this morning. After my second son passed his driver’s test and officially got his driver’s license, he drove me home, and then banged out this song with me. It’s one I used sing to each of my babies as a lullaby…
A few years ago, after another trip away from home, I recorded this song I used to sing to my babies every single night. I was sitting on my back porch and I love that you can hear the birds singing along in the background. I loved being in the city, but it’s good to be home again.
My daughter has been pining for a basketball hoop for ages. I was dithering, mostly because the thought of having to put it together filled me with dread. When I was shopping around, I saw that it was possible to pay someone to do the assembly and I seriously considered it. On Friday I picked my daughter up after her quartet/violin recital practice and we finally went to pick up her long-awaited basketball hoop. I asked the kids for help getting the box out of the back of the car. To my surprise, they not only got it out of the car, they immediately got to work assembling it.
They worked for as long as they could, using flashlights until they finally gave up for the night.
I helped too, obviously…by holding a flashlight.
My daughter spent the morning diligently warming up for her violin recital…
As always, her big brothers did their best to help her keep her eye on the ball.
We were running early, so we killed a few minutes at the library, which happens to be right next door to the church where the recital took place…
We picked up a couple of Pocket Poems on our way out of the library…
Quickie post-recital haircut…
…aaaaand back to work!
I was feeling guilty for letting my kids do all the work putting the hoop together. I knew I should really lend a helping hand. I rolled up my sleeves and started to peel the plastic off the backboard. A gasp of outrage and betrayal stopped me dead in my tracks. I turned around to see my kids staring at me as if I had just kicked a kitten.
“That’s the best part! We’ve been saving that up for last!!”
I went to meet my friend for dinner and a concert to take a break from my labors!
In keeping with the astronomy theme presaged by the Walt Whitman poem I had randomly picked at the library earlier that day, we heard Gustav Holst’s The Planets and Kaija Saariaho’s Orion.
After church it was back to work on the basketball hoop…
The appreciative siblings gave the honor of making the first basket to the boy who did the lion’s share of the work:
And then it was game on!
“True story,” I told my kids. I got my first ‘C’ ever because of basketball. We were doing a basketball unit in P.E. and your grade for the quarter was based on the average of a bunch of different layups. Every time you missed the basket, your grade would go down by a whole letter. So I ended up with a ‘C’.” My daughter sent the ball in my direction. “Here Mama, let’s see if you’ve improved!”
I got a B! I got a B!
This was the weekend I became my mother.
I made the classic rookie mistake. I didn’t check for toilet paper before choosing a bathroom stall and doing my business. Where there should have been two industrial-sized rolls of toilet paper – there was jack squat. I sat there for a few long moments contemplating the unsavory options before me. I was saved when I suddenly remembered the extra, unused napkins I had stashed in my capacious bag when I took the kids out for lunch last weekend. They had snickered when they saw me doing it, just as I used to snicker whenever my mom would put extra napkins, ketchup packets, etc. into her bag.
“Just like Grandma,” they said shaking their heads.
Later that day I was driving my daughter home from a playdate when I spotted some adorable daisies – weeds, really – growing along the side of the road. Daisies always remind me of my mother. They are one of her favorite flowers. She carried them in her wedding bouquet and they had a special place in her flower garden.
I stopped the car and yanked a bunch out to plant in my own garden:
My daughter was shrieking with laughter when I got back into the minivan clutching my daisies with clods of dirt falling from their roots: “You’re becoming just like Grandma!”
The first time my mother visited us when we moved to Charlottesville, we took her for a tour of the campus, (“Grounds”). We stopped to admire a hedge of wild roses that had been planted by the building where my husband’s office was located. My mother methodically picked rose hips off the bushes.
I looked uneasily about to see if anyone was witnessing the plundering of the rosebushes.
“Here!” she said, handing them to me, “Try planting these in your garden. If any come up, give me some!”
Later we walked along the Downtown Mall. At each of the large black planters placed at intervals along the pedestrian walkway she would stop to admire the lush flowers. Whenever she spotted flowers that had gone to seed, she would casually pull them off.
I shrank with embarrassment, but she handed them to me saying, “These will look beautiful in your garden!”
It’s been raining for weeks now. Every morning as I drive to work I think about all the things I’m going to do in my garden the minute I get home. Some days I don’t even bother changing out of my work clothes. I just throw on a pair of garden gloves and rush outside to the garden. I’ve found myself outside in the rain almost every day, sometimes in the pitch black, sometimes dodging lightning bolts…I remember watching my mother do this when I was a child.
“MOM! You’re getting soaked! Come in!” I’d say.
“It’s the best time to plant,” she’d reply, waving me away with her gloved hand.
All the kids’ soccer games were rained out, so we spent the day running errands. We had left a bunch of paint cans for the people who are buying our house, thinking they might like to have them for future touch ups. After the home inspection they asked us to remove them, so I dropped by our old house with my daughter and her friend to gather them up. My heart sank when I heard a crash.
“Uh-oh!” I heard my daughter say, “Mommy?”
I ran upstairs to discover that she had dropped one of the paint cans on the kitchen floor. The paint was oozing all over the tile. After a major freak out, I remembered there was a roll of paper towels in the garage. My elation turned to despair when I realized there were only two sheets left on the roll.
“Now what am I going to do?!” I groaned out loud.
My daughter piped up, “Don’t worry, Mom! You have a million napkins in your bag!” And so I did!
My son’s piano recital.
He was the final performer, so I had a couple hours of high anxiety until it was his turn at last. I’ve listened to him play his two pieces over and over for months. He had never gotten to the point where he was able to play through the pieces flawlessly every single time. I’m glad to report that he played them beautifully.
We went to Crozet Pizza, a Charlottesville landmark, to celebrate:
When we got home at last, my sweet daughter put her arm around me and said, “You should go have a nap now, Mommy, so you can be rested up for your fun night with your friends in Staunton.” (More on that later).
“Now who’s being just like Grandma?” I thought as I gave her a big hug.
My son opened and closed his recital with Bach’s Prelude in C Major and Kern’s All the Things You Are…
A couple hours later we headed to another special concert. It was the 25th Anniversary Concert for a group from Charlottesville…
But unlike the rest of Charlottesville, who were at John Paul Jones Arena for the Dave Matthews Band’s 25th Anniversary Concert, we were at St. Paul’s Memorial to hear my husband sing in Zephyrus‘ 25th Anniversary Concert!
a little obsessed with this song and have been torturing my poor family with it. I’m hereby getting it out of my system:
For the past couple weeks, my son has been playing his own arrangement of Haydn’s Surprise Symphony (Symphony No. 94) on the piano. He was amused to read an account that said Haydn added the dynamic of a startling thunderous chord in an otherwise quiet, flowing movement to wake up a snoring concert goer. The anecdote appealed to his inner pranskter, and it’s been entertaining for me to listen to him work out how to play the piece. I can hear him snickering every time he gets to the surprise chord. One evening he burst out laughing when the antic chord had its intended effect on our dogs, who had hitherto been peacefully snoozing in the library. My weekend ended with this scene…I found him teaching his sister how to play it on her violin: