Wednesday, August 24, 2011

here we go again

I wonder how many parents wake up on the first day of school to an e-mail like this:

Good Evening: This is Dr. Mumin, Superintendent of Caroline County Public Schools.
As you are aware, today at approximately 2pm, an earthquake struck the area. The earthquake reached 5.8 on the Richter scale and rocked the east coast from The Carolinas to Maine.

After review by our maintenance teams, our buildings are safe for opening schools in the morning. Furthermore, this evening, our maintenance teams will continue to check the buildings to ensure there are no changes to their present all clear, safe status.

We look forward to greeting the students tomorrow for the first day of the 2011-2012 school year!


Of course, we'll be potentially rocking and rolling with hurricane Irene later this week too. Yikes. All this environmental drama (along with a multitude of other reasons) makes me think summer should just stick around a little longer!

Andrew: 11th Grade          Peter: 12th Grade          Ethan: 11th Grade

You would think these guys thought that too but they actually got up on time and left for school EARLY!  (Wonder how long that will last??) 

I know a lot of people who love when their kids go back to school. I am not one of them. I love how carefree and lazy summers are. The thought of homework assignments (or... cough... cough.... incomplete homework assignments) and getting teenaged boys up before dawn just gives me the willies. (It is also a reminder that their days at home are numbered.)

Since my boys have been in school I have had the mindset that summer ends once school begins.  Even though here in Maryland we'll have another couple of months of great (maybe even better than great) weather (minus stuff like earthquakes and hurricanes, of course), it's hard for me to come home from work and relax knowing that I now have school obligations and constraints.  Eating dinner at 8:00 at night isn't as leisurely when you know your alarm clock is going off at 5:00 the next morning and no one has any clean clothes and you forgot to pick-up that poster board on your way home from work. 

BUT I have tried very hard this year to change my thinking about summer.
This year I am trying to maintain my summertime mentality and just take things one day at a time. I am determined to enjoy every day for what it brings (or doesn't bring). So even with mounds of laundry, I am clinging to the notion that there's always time for a glass of wine with Countrymouse on the deck because, really, there's always going to be laundry and when the day is done, I'd much rather drift off to sleep thinking about time spent with him than whether or not my towels are clean.

Friday, August 19, 2011

thinking about my mom today

My mother would have turned 70 today.  Man, do I miss her.  There's times I wonder how that can even be possible. When I reflect on my relationship with her, I remember plenty of times she would frustrate me or even straight-up piss me off.  But she always loved me... unconditionally.  My mother was one of those people who had a hard time telling you what was good about you.  You would always hear from someone else that she was bragging on you or showing off pictures of your kids.  I tell my kids I love them all the time because I want them to hear it from me.

Mom probably circa 1947
(One of my favorite pictures of my mother.  She had a tough childhood but she looks very innocent and happy here.  The photo was probably taken by my grandfather, who was an amateur photographer.)

My mother had a big heart and was happiest when she was hosting some get-together in her home.  There were five of us growing up in that house and every occasion was peppered with a host of girl/boy friends, later followed by spouses and kids, relatives and family friends.  I like to think that hospitality is one of my better qualities and that, if it's possible, I inherited it from my mother.  (Or at the very least, learned by example.) Since I now live in the same house that she raised her family in, I feel a special connection with her when I host a get-together.  When my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, they did a big formal dinner but they also had a huge celebration in their backyard.  The same backyard in which Countrymouse and I celebrated our 25th anniversary.  For us (and for my parents, I suspect), we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than gathered around the people we love in our home.  I only wish she could have been there to share the day with us.
Dad and Mom 25th Anniversary 1984

 (I love this photo of my parents. They look genuinely happy. And I love how tightly my dad is squeezing my mom's arm. Too sweet.)

I suppose most mother-daughter relationship suffer some strain and stress over the years.  (Since I only have sons, I get to dodge that bullet on the mother end of things.)  For as many not-so-perfect memories I have of my mother, I have scads more good ones.  I'm thankful for that.  I am also thankful to have spent 45 years with this wonderful woman and to be the woman she helped shape. 

Goofing around with Mom and my sisters.  Family reunion 2007.

(Sorry about the "Johnny Cash" pose. (I tried to make it nice.) We were being silly.  Alcohol was involved.  Enough said.)

So tonight, I will spend time with people I love and raise a glass to my mom and celebrate all that she was and all that she continues to be for those people whose lives she touched.  And I will remember this...