Yesterday the rainy weather held off long enough for us to get in a few outdoor projects. My husband winterized the pool. I dug up the dead green bean plants, the wilty lemon cucumber plants and mountains of weeds that had taken residence all around our yard. I filled our composter. I filled our yard debris can. I gloried in the clean and trim flower beds. I went inside. I washed my hands. I had a panic attack. One of my rings was not on my finger. It was dark outside and my ring was somewhere out in the yard. Or in the composter. Or in the yard debris can.
This ring is 42 years old. My father bought it in New Mexico as a gift for my mother on their 1st anniversary. My mother wore it for years. I remember what her hand looked like with this ring. About ten years ago she gave it to me. My hand looks the same. I wear it because I love my parents, and long marriages, and my husband, and my daughters. I wear it because people ask about it all the time and I love to tell a good love story. I always said that someday, I’d pass the ring on to one of my girls. Now its out in the mud somewhere.
Last night I called my mom and I told her I lost her ring. She said “Oh honey, I’m so glad it wasn’t your wedding ring. I have another ring you can have. Don’t worry. It’s just a ring”. The fact that she is so gracious makes me want to find it more. I know this band of silver and turquoise is just a thing. But it does happen to be one of my favorite things. Lesson from my mama though is simple. People matter. Things don’t.
I spent an hour today in the rain wandering around my yard. I dug through the compost bin. (Ewwww). I emptied and sorted through the yard debris bin. (Twice). I got wet. and muddy. and a tad sad. So I gave up. I grabbed a few green tomatoes off my plants and went and found my eldest daughter. She’s always up for cooking something. Frequently she saves me from great disaster. The resident chef is training her well.
This time though I had a plan. I followed a recipe and I didn’t try to substitute any ingredients. We chopped and dipped and chatted and took pictures. She liked how messy our fingers were.
I liked the smell of the egg and corn meal frying. She liked the little tomatoes. I like the taste of the biggest circles. Fried Green Tomatoes are some pretty amazing rings. The first time I had Fried Green Tomatoes I was in Atlanta, Georgia. Great little cafe. Good ribs. Good tomatoes. The second time I had Fried Green Tomatoes was at book club. Enough said. Anything at book club is divine.
These turned out nicely. Crispy on the outside, tart and juicy on the inside. My daughter and I plan on making them every year. My baby will be old enough to help next year. I love how food entertwines us and circles the year.
I’m not giving up on my mama’s ring. A friend promises to bring his metal detector over and he’s going to comb through my grass. I hope we find it. If not, its okay. I have lots of rings. My life is circled by love.
My eldest daughter is a reader. She comes by it quite naturally. She’s spent the last six years of her life being read to and watching us read. I’m trusting that her baby sister will join in the love of books as she gets older. If not, she’s going to have a rough time getting our attention when all three of us have our noses in books.
The first grader’s school runs a contest all year called Reading Olympics. To participate you just fill out a calendar each month with how much you read each day. I’m worried that this year the people who keep track aren’t going to believe that we filled it in properly. The six-year-old discovered Diary of Wimpy Kid at the library. She can’t put it down. I read part of it with her. We were giggling quite hysterically. I told her if she got any ideas or picked up attitude we were shelving Greg Hefley. I figure I survived reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and didn’t turn out too bad.
She received a set of several more of them for Christmas along with a couple of Baby Mouse books. After she opened her first book on Christmas morning she promptly started reading. We had to tell her to put the book down to open her next gift. She reminds me of me. Really the whole point of this blog was to share this photo. Add a pair of glasses and you have me thirty years ago.
My first grader and I have many similarities. We are both fiercely protective and amazingly proud big sisters. We both don’t shy away from a microphone. We are both learning to stand up for the under dog and love the bully into submission.
There are some ways that my daughter is nothing like me. Ways that I am very proud of her. Ways that she’s a lot like her dad.
She’s way tougher than I ever was at her age. She can do the entire monkey bar circuit at school. She beat a third grader at tether ball. I never beat a kid at tether ball. I think the third graders would still beat me. In fact….I’m pretty sure my first grader could beat me. I asked her how she accomplished this feat. She says that a friend told her the secret tip. According to the first grade girls you wind up the ball, fling it behind your back and then throw it as hard as you can.
She loves science. For Christmas we got her a Snap Circuit set (very cool…check it out here). She can now explain resisters, circuits and the path that electricity follows. I even understood what she was talking about. She and her dad have been spending at least an hour a day since Christmas building simple machines. They just completed a cool art spinning motor. I love girls who love science. I love dads that hang out with their daughters.
My baby girl and I are sitting in front of the fire while the two scientists putter in the other room. I’m blogging. Shocker I know. It’s because my sister-in-law and my sister ganged up on me today and told me it was time. They are probably right. The baby next to me is celebrating the fact that she has a new skill. She knows how to roll over. Life is about to get very interesting. Wonder who she’ll turn out to be like.
My daughter started kindergarten today. It about killed me off.
The heartbreak actually started about a week ago. We went to the back to school ice cream social. There was no ice cream. False advertising. I didnt’ t think this was a very good way to start our relationship with the local elementary school. After we met her teacher and toured the school and confirmed the absence of ice cream at the ice cream social we drove to Burgerville. We all had milkshakes. I figured that something had to keep my child’s trust in the world intact.
Besides I needed a milkshake. One of the activities the teacher had laid out in the classroom was for parents. We were supposed to write a message to our child to be read on their first day of school. I knelt down, picked up a pen, grabbed a heart and started to cry. I couldn’t figure out how to say all that I wanted to on the tiny heart.
I want her to know I’m proud of her. I want her to know that I will always love her. I want her to work hard and play lots and make tons of friends. I want her to stop the class bully and befriend those others won’t. I’d like her to know that she can call me at any time and I’ll drop everything to come. I’d like her to know that her drawings could use some more detail. I’d like to remind her to push her hair behind her ears and her chair in. I’d like her to know that her freckles make me smile.
I love Jeremiah 31:33. It’s a message from a Father to a people in transition. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,”declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
God wants to write lots on my heart too. Big messages about faith and hope and love and justice and joy. I think mostly He wants us to know that He is God and that He loves us.
I went home today at lunch for the big event. My husband and I and the five-year old drove the three blocks to the school. When we arrived we joined the other parents on the lawn in the picture fest. My husband encouraged my daughter to introduce herself to the other students. She met a nice little boy named Noah. She smiled at a little girl she’d met at the ice cream less social. My husband encouraged me to meet the other moms. I hung back.
Her teacher opened the door. My heart skipped a beat. My daughter said “Mom, I gotta go”. And off she went. No hug. No tears. Brave girl. Her teacher asked the kids if they had friends already. My daughter grabbed the hand of the ice cream girl and said “This is my friend”. Noah pointed at her and said “I’m her friend”. I breathed again. Her teacher smiled at all of the parents huddled around. She said “you can all come in and take pictures. It’s your day too.”. I wanted to hug her.
A few minutes later we decided that we better leave before we were black listed as the clingy parents. Our daughter did great. I walked outside with tears again. Right outside the door was a group of six sobbing moms. I grinned and said “Is this where the crying moms stand?”. I took my place with the other moms and introduced myself.
I’m the mom and I love her. I hope it’s written on her heart.
Filed under Faith, Family