A native Southerner gone astray, Megan serves up laughter and inspiration as she shares her meandering thoughts on marriage, parenting, style, food - and pretty much whatever else comes to mind - in words and pictures.
Up for a little girl-time on the front porch? You bring the wine, I'll bring the off-topic parenthetical asides.
Nope, not Dad -- we took care of that yesterday with breakfast out, a trip to the La-Z-Boy store and barbecued chicken hot off the grill last night. As I told Al after dinner when I got up to clear the dishes, "You sit and listen to the music and enjoy the last few minutes of Father's Day in peace. Because tomorrow, it goes back to bein' ALL ABOUT ME AGAIN!" (I was kidding of course. Today it goes right back to bein' all about the kids, as those of you with kids well know.)
Today's post is in honor of the First Day of Summer, even though around here we've been livin' the summer life for twenty gloriously full and fun days. But in honor of this auspicious day, I've been noticing all the things I lo-o-ove about the season, not the least of which is that I actually have TIME to think of things I love instead of running around getting a certain Slow-Pokey Legume ready for school!
1. Slow starts to the days. Veeeery slow starts. Heck, sometimes no official start at all!
2. The screen doors open, front and back, and fresh, cool, FRESH, (did I mention fresh?) air everywhere in between.
3. Sweet, juicy, ripe strawberries, many more than I ever think we'll finish, but we do anyway, and ask for more, washed, cut and plopped in a big bowl for everyone to share. Red juice on chins, running up to elbows, and even down and around a full tummy to a belly button once or twice!
4. Flip-flops that wait right by the door you last came in, like a pair of very good dogs. Someone needs to invent Flip-flop Treats - afterall, who's more loyal and faithful or happier to see you coming than your favorite pair of flip-flops? Just about nobody, I'd submit.
5. Grilled dinners, kids at the picnic table (or wandering around near it, stopping by their plates every now and again to grab a bite). Sweep? Mop? No thanks, I'll just use the hose when I water the flowers.
6. THE FLOWERS.
7. Tending the flowers. Watching them grow, loving the perfect satisfaction and reward of every new bud and bloom. The thrill of seeing perennials rising again and flourishing - nature's surprises.
8. Cheeping of baby birdies from the nest in the flowering plum.
9. Giggles and splashes from the kiddie pool. Teeny wet footprints following a droopy-diapered boy to Mama for a damp hug. Little brown shoulders. Towels spread out on the patio and two kids spooned and giggling in the waning sun.
10. Itty-bitty weekly laundry piles and it's been a full month since I had to search or dig around in the whites to match up a hundred pairs of mini-socks!
11. Fresh herbs in every single thing that I cook.
12. Water beading up and rolling down the side of my glass, parked by the side of a comfy patio chair, parked outside the back door and beside my best friend.
13. Sleeping in a t-shirt and waking up with one leg outside the covers, ceiling fan whirring away overhead, soft cotton sheets cozily rumpled. Not hot, but more importantly, NOT COLD.
14. Kids outside all day, all night. Kids! Outside!
15. Bonfires and s'mores. Smoky hair and clothes and skin next morning.
16. Shady afternoon naps together on the east side of the house, blinds closed, clocks ticking, soft sighs, warm little hands patting and draping possessively over my skin.
17. Ripe tomatoes and sweet corn grown here, picked today, on my plate still sun-warm and lively.
18. Lawnmowers humming out perfect lines, neat edges, rich green, that smell that makes me 5 again, every.single.time.
19. Busy kids in mud, planning, mixing, patting, barefooted splatting, heads together, watering cans in the grass, shovels poised and working.
20. Midnight laughter wafting up, up, up into the sky, to tickle the underbelly of a sleepy summer moon against the blue velvet sky.
What are some of your favorite things about summer?
1. I miss y'all! The summer is gettin' away from me, is it you? I blinked and it's mid-June and we haven't really even DONE anything yet.
2. I blogged over at 5 Minutes for Parenting about Bean's dance recital. I did get to see it, finally, and it was wonderful and beautiful and an undescribable success in my eyes. I am so proud of my little daughter!
3. While I am not getting a lot of spare minutes to blog with both kids at home all the time, I do find time to post thoughts and pictures on Facebook. If you're on there and wanna be friends, I'm Megan Ferree Cobb. Which is not to say I won't ever blog again, just that if you want to keep up with me and let me keep up with you (which I'd love!) on a daily basis, that's the place to do it and I'd love us to connect there!
Last night I wanted to proudly escort my Bean to the dress rehearsal for her very first dance recital. Wanted these moments all about her, yet there I sat, juggling a restless Peabody, trying to keep him appeased with games on my iPhone, both of us squooshed into a fold-down seat with my purse, the camera bag, the ballet bag, snacks, drinks, wipes, a stroller -- a three-ring circus confined in two cubic feet.
The teacher called Bean's class backstage to get ready for their number and baby brother came completely unraveled, watching his heroine walk away from him in a strange, dark place. He bucked and wrestled and screeched and begged to follow her. My heart broke for him, and I tried to hold and comfort him around the enormity of all his fear and anxiety and in the tininess of space and the much-too-long time and under the glaring spotlight of eyes and ears and the shame of my selfishness at being irritated and embarrassed and burned out and fed up.
You simply can't impart peace through gritted teeth. I should know this.
I only saw the first 15 seconds of Bean's performance, and I am crying now to type it although at the time there wasn't room to FEEL anything but hurried, worried and alone, jiggling and swinging Peabody who fell further apart at seeing his familiar, only, cherished sister on stage too far away. I curled a forced-smile grimace to cover up how awful-wretched-bad I felt inside.
Keep the baby quiet. Do Not Disturb. Blink back tears. Miss your daughter Two crazy years.
I awoke in the middle of the night to beat myself up again for not having taken a single photo of her in costume. Not a single shadowy, stark picture against a grey cinderblock wall of my daughter, beautiful and perfect already easily accepting not nearly what I feel she deserves from me, much less the high-quality, thoughtful images that capture everything I love about her in this moment, the ones I wish for in my heart.
Just as I wish for the afternoon back, gone a better way.
So, I took a LOT of pictures this week. And even though I had the camera on MANUAL FOCUS most of the weekend and I have a million blurry, weird shots to cull, I was so prolific that almost completely by accident I still managed to catch some lovely memories of our visit with my sister and her family.
I snapped this photo of my handsome nephew Owen, which, as I look over all of the pictures I took (over and over again, reliving every delightful and delicious moment), my eyes always come back to as my own favorite, with its combination of whimsy and color and interesting (to me) composition, at our local hole-in-the-wall drive-in restaurant, The Dairy Mart. It's a prairie town landmark, so we thought it best not to let the comp'ny get away this time without a trip up there for some, well, DAIRY (of the frozen variety, YUM.) So we all went late Saturday morning and sat outside (only option) around one of the rough old octagonal wooden picnic tables that begrudgingly recounts decades of who-luvs-who and who-wuz-here that've been carved into its top, sides, seats, legs, wherever, and plays host to enough dried-up chewed bubble gum stuck on the bottom to keep this whole county chewing until 2076 (I don't know this for sure because I refuse to even look under there but you can tell by lookin' around at the rest of the establishment that its there, if you know what I mean), crammed up on the awning-covered concrete strip down the middle of all the parked cars, not 100 yards from the main drag positively crawling with traffic - cars, trucks, Harleys, you name it - and we all ate ice cream.
And I'd tell you the rest of the story except a story like that doesn't need telling in words, does it? We've all eaten ice cream with our cousins on Memorial Day weekend, many of us for year after glorious year. I've set the scene, and I bet it'll take no effort at all for your own memories to fill in the rest of the picture-perfect details.
Thanks as always to Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry for hosting these You Capture challenges, which have been an unexpected source of great joy to me these past few months.
I hope y'all had a very enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. It doesn't escape me that for some the weekend (and every day) holds a very real sense of loss or loneliness and sacrifice, and for those of you who are missing soldiers past and present, I pray for the safe return of your loved ones to your arms, or for those who won't hold them again this side of heaven, for continued connection to them through memories and honor. Thank you, all of you, for what you give away so nobly, and for the graceful way you do it.
We've had a visit with my sister Jackie and brother-in-law, Jerry (the one who always makes the cawfee!) and all five of my indescribably loveable and gorgeous nieces and nephews. Bean and Peabody were beside themselves with joy all weekend long (from what I could tell the brief moments I actually lay eyes on them, I mean. They pretty much got sucked up into a cloud of roiling cousin-tude the minute the rental van pulled into the driveway and didn't fall back out until the same van drove off down our street honking and waving on its way back to O'Hare. Which I can't really think about without getting all teary-eyed, by the way. I DO NOT ENJOY THE GOODBYES. At all. UGH.)
Where was I?
Oh yes. The visit. Hopefully later this week I'll post more pictures, but I'll leave y'all with this one because I am short on time. Bean and I have to go to the dentist this morning. (I ALSO DO NOT ENJOY THE DENTIST. At all. Double UGH.)
My sister and me. And my sweet, beautiful-adorable (one of the best parts of tween-hood, don't you think? Kid cuteness one minute, and a glimmer of woman-beauty-to-come the next?) niece, Maura Kate, who I think may have been Peabody's favorite. You can see why. Look at her! And that's just the outside. Duuuuude.
My teeth look fine, don't they? Maybe I could just call and cancel that dental appointment...