“No big house, no big hill. Little rooms, no big thrill. Summer hot, winter chill. I love you, I always will. I think I know what you’re dreaming of: that kind of love.” –Cliff Eberhardt (Album: The Long Road)
It’s a bit after 11 pm and I’m still up. Typical of me. Tonight I’m siting in Erik’s mother and step-father’s new home in Rogue River, Oregon. We’ve had the fire going all day. Olga has cheerfully brought in log after log from the soggy woodpile next to the carport. She can carry two small logs at a time, each no more than six inches in diameter. Madrone and pine. Most of the wood is still green; it sizzles as the sap boils out of it. Sometimes it takes a long while to catch, but the fire place is huge, so it’s not a problem. If you throw enough wood on the pile, the heat from the fire dries the newer logs enough that eventually they’ll burn. It’s not efficient at all, but it’s beautiful.
We came down yesterday. We live just about three and a half hours north of here, which is how we measure distance in Oregon. I don’t know how many miles that is. That’s just the way we do it out here. Three and a half hours is just the right amount of time to watch two movies in the car, drain an iPad battery, and ruin a perfectly good toddler nap time. It is also enough time to decompress after deadline. This issue was hard, but I got smart at the end and asked for help. I can be a little too proud, sometimes. I don’t think it is a bad trait, but sometimes I come close to burning out.
But this weekend we’re burning wet wood to keep warm. There’s no work to be done, aside from keeping the children fed and entertained. I spent a bit of the afternoon helping to arrange furniture and unpack until I was shooed into a rocking chair near the fire to knit. I finished a pair of fingerless mittens, then started a hat. They’re both for me. That has sort of been my theme lately. Me. Not a narcissistic “me” theme. Just some self-preservation. An I-have-got-to-do-something-before-I-forget-how-much-fun-my-life-used-to-be theme. Before I stop being interesting.
So knitting. It isn’t most people’s first choice in rekindling the spark of youthful vigor, but I’ve always been a little odd, so there you go. Before I married Erik, when we were both still in high school, I used to knit in the halls between classes. Back then I did what pleased me and ignored what didn’t, which explains why I was able to knit socks toe-up or top-down with three different types of heel, but not pass many of my algebra exams. Those uninteresting parts of life crept up on me so stealthily that I hadn’t realized they had taken over. Erik saw them years before I could. I stopped writing because I had nothing to write about. But recently I started knitting again. On Wednesday nights I take Olga with me to Stitch Night at the yarn shop. I joined a women’s choir. (I sang all through high school, and was good. An alto.) I’ve spent some time with the parents of Olga and Gavin’s friends. We had a dinner party. (I’ve always wanted to have dinner parties.)
And then there’s this fire, and all the old dreams it rekindles in me. The memories of little-girl-me in a cabin in the woods with a fire and a cat and a hot brick in the foot of my sleeping bag. And I think I’m going to be okay after all.
Olga started the American Girl series this week. She’s reading Felicity first, which is set in 1774. Of course tea plays an important part in the series; Felicity loves learning to serve tea, then the tea party occurs and her father bans it. Olga wanted to serve fancy tea, too, so today we went to the thrift store and bought a fancy English tea pot and two tea cups and saucers so she could serve tea to her friend.
I don’t know how this tiny baby…
… turned into this car-loving, curly-head.
Gavin turned five last week, and although his actual birthday day was full of boring stuff like a meeting with his speech-language pathologist and the autism specialist, the after-party totally rocked!
There were cars. (The red Lightning McQueen is from a supermarket in Utah from our last trip out to see my mom a couple years ago. The green dude is Chick Hicks, whom Gavin has been asking for relentlessly for weeks. Daddy gets the credit for finding the same type of awesome toy.)
There were brownies. (“My brown chocolate! My five!”)
And there were more cars. Nana scored the vintage Hot Wheels City at a yard sale a while back. This little driver is certainly going to keep this town hoppin’.
Gavin had so much fun on his big day. It was fun for us to watch him move from one thing to another, too. So often he has trouble with transitions, too many people, and too much activity, but he did great and got through the entire afternoon with nary a tear. I’m very proud of this big boy.
Love you Gav.
That’s how long it has been since I last wrote. Shameful, isn’t it? So much has transpired in our lives since then.
Baby Clara is growing, healthy, and as happy as can be. My only complaint is that she still doesn’t sleep through the night all the time, but she’s such an agreeable baby otherwise, I can almost forgive her for that.
Gavin turns five tomorrow. It’s hard for me to believe. He is starting to read and loves letters and numbers. A few weeks ago he was diagnosed with autism, so we have a lot to learn so that we can help him learn to cope with this big intense world.
Olga is enjoying every minute of life. She’s in Girl Scouts, and gymnastics, and soon her art classes start up again. She is vivacious and cheerful, and befriends everyone she meets.
Erik started college a couple weeks ago, thanks to the Montgomery GI bill. He’s taking a heavy load, and has to commute to school three days a week. I’ve never seen him work so hard. He’s thinking about getting his teaching credentials, but right now he’s just enjoying his classes.
As for me, I’m pooped. I just got off deadline, so I’m going to try to cool my jets for a few days and catch up on some sleep (baby willing). My sewing machines all went to the shop for a tune up and repairs, so I hope to be back in business soon. I’m hoping to get my garage (aka studio) straightened up a bit. Maybe I’ll even get my little etsy shop back online in the next few weeks.
I’ve missed writing. I’ll be back again.
This morning, early, as the light spilled in and the coffee dwindled, I sat with Erik and Clara at the counter and knit. I love these moments of silence, fleeting as they are in this house. Today I add another notch to my life, and as I look around myself I see so much evidence of dreams fulfilled and passions followed.
I really am so glad I’m here.
Clara Lynn joined our family on June 10th and brought the sunshine with her. She is such an easy going baby. We’re all doing well and adjusting to our new routine.