Friday, May 7, 2010

mother's day

In the morning we leave for my in laws, for the Mother's Day/Birthday Celebration. It's cold and gloomy and might even SNOW. (Awwww, noooo.) We hope not. She's a fairly beautiful woman I dearly love...

Tonight I baked and frosted a big, fat chocolate cake for her, and Julia helped me shop for a gift. We went to the nursery and bought a huge, enormous fuchsia for Mother's Day. Julia was so delighted with that gorgeous thing in the backseat, chattering about the blossoms and the vines.

She helped me at TJ Maxx, help me find gifts. My mother in law's favorite color is blue, and Julia fastened onto that fact and we bought slippers and pajamas and picture frames and soap, and at some point I had to cut her off or my sweet mother in law would have had couch pillows and stationery, and bedsheets and shoes and men's shirts, and blue size 2 gauze tops....

Here's something written Mother's Day, Val

"We spent today with my in-laws, receiving the family boat, celebrating my mother in law’s birthday and Mother’s Day, all rolled into one road trip. We ate ham and salad, birthday cake and licorice and the afternoon passed by in a flash of wild cousins and noise, cold wind, whitecap waves, goofed up boat wiring, and sodas…

The kids interviewed the dog, complete with microphone. (She snarled when they asked her opinion of George Bush. That was too darn funny. Who knew a Lhasa would have an opinion on this?) It was a really nice day.

The boat is old, long, narrow, easy. EASY. Back in the day, back in the 80s Jay and I owned a boat, a beautiful antique cedar-topped wooden boat with cockpit seats and ribbed floor. Our oldest sons used to crawl up in the bow while we water-skied because of the spray and the wind. John remembers being nestled there with Dan in the shadows near my knees as I drove, warm smell of cedar, and pounding water below.

But this other boat, Grandpa’s boat, was all air and sun, not overwhelming, just perfect. I could even land it perfectly at the dock, so crisp was the steering.

Dad no longer wants to deal with it—it’s too heavy and too old; the thing plunged down the grassy hillside when he tried to maneuver it on the trailer this spring, smashed up his shoulder and could have killed him. So we towed it home to our house, full of memories.

Jay’s little brother, Mark, kept going outside, fiddling with it, claimed he was just eating peanuts where he could easily discard the shells, but who is that hungry for peanuts? The boat is just changing address, not leaving the family! As faded as the paint is, as rusty the trailer hitch, we are still honored. As my own dad would say: “If that boat could talk!”

Tim has learned that there are many ways to say I love you, languages besides English. He’s four. And there is probably nothing more endearing in all the world than a four year old boy.

One day this winter when he was mad at me, (probably for insisting he come to a meal during Arthur) he called me a “Dirty Skunk Dog.” I love a creative insult, and this gem from a preschooler, I laughed for weeks.

I told him HE was the Dirty Skunk Dog. He said I was still the Dirty Skunk Mom. Kari volunteered to be the Dirty Skunk Cat and nominated Julia as Dirty Skunk Guinea Pig. Kirsten suggested Dirty Skunk Llhama for herself, and we named Baby t.c. as Dirty Skunk Bunny-Rabbit… on it goes.

And so Skunky has become much a term of endearment…

When a warm fuzzy boy with crazy hair tufts showed up in my bed on Friday morning and said, “Te Amo Skunky,” kissed my cheek, then said, “Skunky, Zhuh-tem,” I knew life was awful good. Payroll taxes? Material bills? Property Taxes? Car insurance? Medical insurance? We’re out of milk? The bills are always on our heels.

But I got a guy makin’ a beeline for me at dawn, tellin’ me, “Te Amo Skunky, Je-t’aime?” Life is very good.
As always, sending my very best wishes, Val"

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