This past was my first week of work and like teachers all across the country, I don't sleep well the first few days back. My mind is running with lists to do, filled with anxst about our family getting into a new schedule, sadness about leaving my life of leisure. One early morning, after restless sleep I just got up, and went and sat on the back porch with my coffee. I thought, "I didn't enjoy this enough this summer." But then the still small voice of reason refreshed me with this thought, "I am enjoying it now. Put regret aside...going back to work is not the end of the enjoyment!" Different schedule, varied niceties. Early morning coffee on the back porch.
The summer was filled with lots of fun but lots of hard work. I have to admit being a stay-at-home Mom is not cake. Molly is at a VERY VERY trying stage and I've lost my patience with her more than I like to admit. Through it all, I've realized what a gem I have in Anna Cate. She is so easy, so so special. Could it be that I forgot her terrible twos, that I'll forget Molly's?
So on to catching up on blogging about summer.
For two weeks, we went to Tennessee where we packed as much into those days we could. Generations ago, many families would go to Hickman County to spend summers in the country with their families. Mothers would bring the kids while husbands stayed working...I like feeling old fashioned, but we all missed BJ. Having my children experience the constant presence of my family and enjoy what middle Tennessee has to offer makes precious memories, dear to me, and hopefully to them.
I don't even know where to start to document for posterity those times so I thought I'd start with images of seeing these girls together.
Anna Cate and Kitty in Mom's garden.
The girls at the alter of my childhood church, where Douglas, Becki and Kitty attend.
The night before I left, Douglas joked with me that our schedule wore him out as we wanted to include them on everything we did. Like I said earlier, I like to pack it in. My children having a relationship with him and his family is so important to me, a value I hold because of my relationship with my Aunt, who made the trip down to see us.
In addition to her sweet interest in all of our lives, she came bearing gifts, including a game for Anna Cate.
This is a special scene because my Granny, Anna Cate's namesake, loved games. Family traditions.
It is so nice to have the girls see a bit of my family's life in Centerville.
One evening in Centerville, Douglas and Becki treated me to a fabulous dining experience in their home. Douglas honored me by saying I inspired the theme.
Serving wine and fish is enough to make me feel special, but he used his extravagant attention to detail and culinary taste to put together a meal including wine from Comar France, where we visited the summer of 2004 after he returned from Iraq, and recipes from a book I gave him for his 30th birthday.
Becki and Douglas have more wine glasses for one meal than we have in our entire home.
The glasses, the meal the company...special.
The reason I go home is the same reason I started this blog...my children and my parents.
My blog is a conduit of experiences. I want to share our lives, to connect them to each other. So are these trips.
The girls visit with Daddy Doug, play in Nana's garden,
Or, croquet in the back yard
Play dough in the sunroom
And a bunch of other things not captured on camera.
The girls went to get in bed with Daddy Doug every night and stayed up to watch the Olympics, the last night we cooked smores. We caught lighting bugs in their front yard as well as Kitty's.
We visited where Daddy and Douglas practice law. There are real and pretend pets there.
We went to church.
Nana put on a tea party.
They included Kitty.
but it wasn't her really her "thing" so I got to take her home early with some quality visiting time where the rest of the crew did whatever it is you do at tea parties.
Not every girl likes lipstick and fanciness, but Anna Cate sure does.
Like this blog, on our trip to my home, I may be the conduit but I get much out of it, too. I reflect and realize that this is life...or atleast, this is mine.
While we were in Tennessee, we heard some very sad news, the death of our dear Patti's brother. A few days after our return from Tennessee, we attended his funeral, having my heart wrenched as I witnessed my friend in such pain for losing her young vibrant brother, I was reminded once again of the short yet beautiful opportunities in life to commune with family.
When we were around a breakfast table in my parents home, Daddy said to Anna Cate about the 2 year old lashings of Molly, "Anna Cate, I'm so proud of you for not letting it hurt your feelings when Molly hits you or says mean things." She responded, "Oh it does."
As I head back to work this week, and reflect on our summer I can say that watching my girls together has been so wonderful...as well as trying at times. I find myself feeling guilty and sad for leaving them, going back to work, which is ridiculous. It wastes emotional energy and we are not guaranteed any time with each other, so I vow to try to enjoy the time we do have and let go of the guilt...just like Anna Cate lets go of those hurt feelings.
I have so much more to share and reflect upon in those weeks that we were home, like the experiences of Hickman County's beautiful landscape and sweet people and quality visits with friends, but those will be coming in another post. I find great comfot in looking at this photo as we return to work/school/day care this week. It is a glimpse into my being present with my children,
as we snap beans from the Hickmany county Farmer's market.