Best Things

img_4159I was just thinking that the best thing about today was the sunshine. Blazing, almost blinding at times sunshine.

And the brilliant blue sky.

And the sound of chirping birds filling the air as I stepped out of my car upon arriving at work today…

…Taking a break from a challenging day to enjoy a walk around the pond with a coworker/friend. Sun on our skin. A slight breeze and fresh air. Catching up on one another’s weekend doings and forgetting, for fifteen minutes, about the things going wrong back inside the office.

An email from my oldest with a picture attached. Sharing his past weekend’s adventure.

“I think I want to spend more time at the North Shore,” his message said.

I opened the picture and replied, “Wow. Can I come with next time?”

And, “Is that you in the photo?”

“Yup, that’s me,” he replied. “Fighting a fish. Or a rock.”

Spontaneous cooking at home once I’d left work and picked up Mom. I hadn’t thought tonight was going to be one of my nights. Jack is at work for the evening, so … nothing planned for dinner.

“I’ve been thinking about making your goulash,” I said to Mom as she settled in the living room chair waiting for Wheel of Fortune to begin.

“Oh, that sounds good,” she agreed.

“You’ll have to remind me what all goes in there. It’s been forever since I’ve made it.”

Ground beef, onions and garlic cooking in frying pan. Salt and Pepper. And after the meat had browned and was sizzling, stewed tomatoes and some pasta.

“Put a few tablespoons of ketchup in too,” she reminded me.

Mom wanted a slice of buttered bread to accompany her meal. I said that reminded me of dinners at Grandma’s house, where there was always a plate of sliced white bread and plenty of butter with every meal. I pulled some cantaloupe out of the refrigerator and put that on the table too. Not exactly the healthiest of meals, but it was hot, and it tasted good. Then again, food always tastes better when you’ve got someone to enjoy it with.

Just a really good day…

Celebrating 75

I’ve felt all knotted up lately. I’m not sure why. There never seem to be enough hours in a day, never enough days in a week. And I’ve just felt … I don’t know. Quiet. Moody. Tired. Not sad, but not enthusiastic about much either. I needed something.

I think it was my kids.

Last weekend provided a perfect excuse to call them home. My mom, their Nana turned 75 last Friday. My sis and I planned a party in her honor for Sunday afternoon. I asked the kids (the two not currently living here) if they could come home for the party. Both Jaeger and Chesney said they could. Ryker just needed a reminder to keep his Sunday afternoon free, as I expected him to join us at the party too.

Jaeger came on Friday night. Dacotah, of course, accompanied him. She came barrelling into the foyer after their four-hour drive, leaping around all of us, tail wagging fiercely, and rubbing against legs while looking for attention from anyone willing to give it. Lucy was elated to have a visit from her favorite canine friend as well as her “big brother.”

Jaeger was awfully quiet that night. He said his stomach was bothering him. I worried it had more to do with his recent break-up. It happened right after Christmas, and he hasn’t been in touch with us much since then, other than to let us know it was over. He’s not much of a talker, and in the past few weeks I’ve struggled to find the words or opportunity to offer some comfort. They had dated nearly a year. I know he’s hurting. I hurt for him. But there’s just not much I can do. He just needs time.

Saturday morning, Jaeger surfaced from the spare bedroom and plopped down on the loveseat in the living room. Turning the television on, he surfed channels until he found one of his beloved fishing shows. While he watched pro-fisherman pull Bluegills through holes in the ice, I made bacon and pancakes in the kitchen. We chatted a bit while he waited for the food to be ready. After breakfast and after cleaning up the kitchen, I joined him in the living room, settling into one of the big comfy chairs. He hoisted himself off the loveseat and wandered over to me. He bent over and just hugged me, holding on for some time. I rubbed his back and said, “I love you.” He mumbled into my shoulder, “I love you too, Mama.”

My 27 year-old son is still my little boy sometimes. Maybe he needed me too.

Little Guy from next door rang our doorbell in the afternoon. When Jaeger answered the door, Little Guy’s face lit up.

Hey!” he shouted. “I missed you!”

“You did?” Jaeger laughed.

“Yeah,” Little Guy said. “I didn’t get to see you last time!”

Little Guy’s always been rather shy, so it was fun for all of us to see his raucous display of affection and excitement. He seems to have grown up so much over the past couple of cold months. He turned four years old a few months ago. He’s gaining confidence, and getting pretty comfortable with all of us.

We were leaving to go out to dinner, so we had to send Little Guy back home, but did so with promises from Jaeger to play Wii bowling with him the next day.

Chesney came late Sunday morning. It was good to have my talkative, sunshiney girl back in the house. Jaeger teased her about why she hadn’t yet brought her new boyfriend around. She said she needed a week for mental prep first. I said I needed time to prime her dad to act like a normal human being first. Chesney agreed wholeheartedly. Don’t want to scare the poor guy off!

20150221bThe party on Sunday afternoon was nice. All of Mom’s kids and most of her grandchildren were there, as well as her oldest sister, and family from my dad’s side. The food was good, the presents were nice, and there were some beautifully sentimental birthday cards for Mom. And bonus – everyone managed to get along decently. I think Mom had fun.

We also accomplished a nice family picture, only after several takes in which the brothers made bunny ears, made goofball faces, and each pretended to put a finger in the other’s nose. Some people never grow up. Maybe that’s not always such a bad thing, though. I’ll take fun immaturity over boring and stuffy any day.

It was great to have all of my family together again for a change. I wish we’d had more time. It’s never enough. And it was hard to say goodbye when it was time for Jaeger and Chesney to leave again. It always is. But I’m so grateful to have had a couple of days with them. They were just what I needed.