It’s slow mud-gravel-snowmelt season, when the roads narrow between the stiff hedges of frozen snow and scattered mud potholes. We very nearly collide with our neighbors around the narrow bends. Once we safely pass each other, we hold up two fingers or a full hand, both a greeting and a salute to a successful driving maneuver.
In that perversely modern way where we plan for distant realities we can barely imagine, it’s also summer camp sign-up season (the extension of it, at least, of course official camp sign-up began crisply in January). So I’m thinking about how parents want new things for their children but they also want the things they had for them. So they want kite sailing sessions and wheel throwing class, but also long bored afternoons when you memorize the wood pattern of the steps out front the porch. We want manners and careful, fair language but also nintendo and pizza nights.
The sinister side of generational inheritance when we pass down our dusty animosities and jealousies. But the vibrant side is when you pull off potlucks and teach them to sing hymns and smoothly shuffle a card deck.
Some of the things I had that I can give my children are unstructured days outside, household jobs, allowance, sleep-in mornings when it doesn’t matter what time you wake up, mosquito bites, sleeping outside in the summer, church on Sunday mornings, lemonade from a frozen canister, squinting in the sun at 4th of July parades, and reading aloud together.
I can’t give them the same chance to tool around on a bicycle, going in circles, letting the handlebars drift to the side, turning the bike as you follow its lead. Our dirt road out front is too hilly and peppered in gravel for that. I can’t give them the constant access to a pool and a hot tub that I had. Instead we troop together to the town pool for an hour or two, and buy a popsicle on the way out, one child insisting she’d stay for another two hours, another begging, near tears, to leave immediately. They won’t be able to bike to their friends’ house whenever they want, the way I did. I hold these small things against myself, wishing they could have all of them. They are able to watch the garden, and stop by for cherry tomato snacks and berries that ripen overnight.
Some other things I want to tell you about this week…
I’m so thankful my friend Nikaela texted me about Rebecca May Johnson’s podcast Dinner Document. I love listening to Rebecca reading through what she calls “recipes and eating notes from the week.” It’s the English accent, it’s the ruminations on household kitchen cooking, its the frequent mention of chips, and the snacks she eats while she’s making dinner, it’s the frank way she braids observations of society with sharing food, it’s the way she mentions where she was sitting while she was eating. Listen on her substack site or any podcast site.
DesignMom posted some tremendously insightful thoughts about oversharing, over-commenting and over-caring in the fraught waters of families that share on social media.
I made this chicken and feta-yogurt dressed salad and found it to be delicious and simple. It even managed to make winter tomatoes taste good! I liked the way the feta just disappeared into yogurt dressing. (gifted article, you should not get a paywall.)
The kids and I watched this free PBS documentary My Garden of a Thousand Bees. I learned all sorts of things I hadn’t known, and I felt it was such a refreshing way to do a nature documentary.