Monday, August 25, 2014

Photo Journal, no. 63 | Endless Summer

Mads gets the full summertime experience by eating grass and moss.

I planted wildflowers in a big ol' pot on the Spring equinox.  They bloomed!

Wolfman tends many a fire.

The Boy and The Dog, always at the window, watching their man shoot arrows and do yard work.

We celebrate the 4th of July with The Chester family.

Many a walk in downtown Apex.

Encounters with wildlife.

They bloom, they bloom!

Mads' hair gets long.

We throw a shin dig (and then don't take photos).

Many a walk in downtown Cary. (Here we are outside Lucky Pie Gallery.)

Taco Tuesdays at Torero's in Cary.

Our friends, Selena and Bryson, get hitched at the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill.

Mads & Papa are best buds.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Photo Journal, no. 62 | A series of photos in which Bubba suddenly looks like his Papa

Here's Big Guy the day after he turned a year old (his Grandpa Bob's birthday, coincidentally; August loves this family).  I pulled out the camera because he had food on his face, as a Mama does, right.  Turned on the flash because of bad, dinner-time, yellow kitchen lighting, snapped a few photos.  It wasn't until I'd finished and reviewed the product in my camera's view screen that I realized, well, geez.... this guy is really starting to look like Wolfman.  Huh.  It took a year, but it happened.  Don't mistake my surprise for anything but that.  I'm pleased as punch.  God knows I love my husband's face and every expression it makes, and I love it all doubly when it's shared by our son.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Birthday Beachin

A few days after our beach trip, I have the post-vacation blues.  Not that I am sad, but just that I miss the ocean, miss standing in it, the waves washing upon me.  I tell Wolfman standing in the ocean felt like returning to my mother's womb.  He says he doesn't feel the same, I think likely because he and his people come from some star, but I and mine come from the ocean.  Maybe we were mermaids, or maybe we were plankton.

Not that Wolfman wasn't different--lighter, happier--at the beach.  The Kid, a beach boy from Martha's Vinyard (who recently told me he feels like a beached whale after living so many years land-locked here in the piedmont of North Carolina), I fully expected to grin and frolic and play.  But, watching my husband do the same, dive into the waves, come out with his long hair down and wild, "looking like a sea otter," he says, a little snot in his mustache and salt in his chest hair--that was an unexpected delight.  He says, "I'm not a beach person," with a shake of his head, would pick a trip to the mountains over sand and surf any day, but he chose Topsail Island (which he pronounces Topsul) because as a kid his parents had a house here, where they spent summer days, sure, but also Thanksgivings and Christmases, until Fran took it away.

We were rained off the beach, and in the parking lot, after showering off a naked and wailing Martigan (to keep grit out of his diaper on the ride home), I asked my usually brooding husband if he enjoyed himself.  He smiled, said yes.  I said, "I saw you having fun."  He asked, "So what would you have said if I answered no."  "I would've called you a liar."

He told me on the ride home he liked seeing me giddy, too, (and a little scared) as the waves washed up around me.  He feigned pushing me into the water several times, but never did, just brushed his hand against mine and wrapped an arm around my waist.

The Family Good


The babies had less fun.  The ocean is a lot to process for a being so new to the world, I suppose.  They were both frightened and complaining.  I took Mads on a walk in the surf, stooping with him to pick up shells and smooth stones, holding them out in the palm of my hand for his examination.  He'd calmed a bit by the time we'd walked back, and I deposited him at our camp, where Grandma promptly began burying his legs in the sand.  I ran out into the ocean then, alone this time, and when I returned, Mads smiled up at me with a look on his face that said, "Oh, now I get it," sand gripped in both fists (he'd have sand between his fingers for much of the night).

We'd traveled to the beach, along scenic little back road high ways, through perfect snowglobe down towns, across farms, the road sandwiched between tobacco crops and corn, for Sierra Dawn's 25th birthday.  She didn't have much by way of birthday wishes, just a new bathing suit and a trip to the beach.  A true Wednesday's child, though, the day was not without its woe.  Aside from the rain, we were stuck in traffic on the island, Sierra suffered a headache, we spent more time in cars than on the beach, and most tragically, we all witnessed a little dog, wearing a collar, be hit by a car on the ride out--it had run onto the high way after a cyclist and was struck by a car moving opposite us.  Sierra, in the car behind Wolfman and me, immediately burst into tears according to The Kid.  I teared up later, on the ride home, ruminating aloud about the day as I imagined that little dog's owner scooping him out of the road after the traffic cleared.  It's a sad thing to witness any time, but especially on one's birthday.  

Before we left the island, we ate not-terrific fried seafood at a cute little crab shack The Kid had spotted on our way in.  The waitress was kind, the atmosphere was funky, the little ladies in the booth next to ours mistook Mads for a girl (happens all the time), and all the adults drank $5 bloody marys with hardly any liquor in them at all.  The gumbo was alright, I think (but then, what do I know about gumbo?).  Most importantly, when The Kid informed the waitress it was Sierra's birthday, nobody clapped and sang to her, which is just the way she wanted it.  It may not have been perfect, but she wore a new bathing suit, she stood with her baby in the Atlantic, and nobody sang her damn Happy Birthday and embarrassed her.  Happy 25th to my baby sister, the surliest, most gorgeous girl I know.

What I want my kitchen to look like.

"Hey Shelly, I don't want to make you mad, but that woman has been staring at me all night," says my husband.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dear Mads | One. Year. Old.

It's our birthday!

Dear Madmartigan Vaughn,

August is abuzz--with cicadas in the trees, hummingbirds at our feeder, the occasional fly at our windowsill--and today is an auspicious one.  It's your 1st birthday, my 30th birthday, and the wedding day of a friend of mine whom I've known since childhood.  Knowing this wedding was today and that we'd be joyously attending, we threw a little party to celebrate you and me (but, let's be honest, mostly you) last weekend.  A room full of people sang you the birthday song, and though you reached out to touch the burning dinosaur candles on your cake, you weren't all that interested in digging into the cake itself.  Ella, on the other hand, was thrilled to see that big mound of homemade banana/applesauce cakey goodness and cream cheese frosting.  She stood at the base of the high chair, stretched on her tip toes, and dug her fingers into as much of the cake as she could reach.

If you become a father one day, you may understand when I tell you I'm having difficulty processing this year and the very fact of you, in all your presence, your You-ness.  A couple years into my marriage with your Papa, the longing for a baby began to take hold of me.  I found myself awash with a white hot jealousy, an envy that would leave me light-headed and over-heated, every time I learned an acquaintance of mine was expecting--or even celebrities.  (I announced dramatically one evening in the car, "Beyonce is pregnant," and your dad glanced over at me, confused, as if I'd suddenly spoken Latin or Klingon.)  My mind had no way of fully grasping what it was my heart desired.  I didn't even understand what I was getting myself into, how my life would change, what a gift I was being given The Night of the Pee Stick, or the eight months of waiting that followed.  But now you are here, and the world looks different--better, brighter, sweeter, infinitely more precious.

Can you believe I didn't know if I even wanted to have a kid before I met your dad?  He knew, of course.  Your Great-Grandma Clacher always wanted to be a grandma, your father always wanted to be a father.  I, however, had all sorts of ideas about what I might be, but Mama wasn't always at the top of the list.  Now, of course, even on difficult days, being your mother feels like a role I was always meant to play, the most natural thing in the world.  A little over a year ago, your father told me his purpose on this planet is to create.  Mine is to nourish.  You've taught me so much about the world, it's wonder, and about me, about my sheer capacity for love. I can't thank you enough.

I'm completely in love with you, every day, more and more, ad infinitum dot com,

48 Weeks, Seedless Watermelon
49 Weeks, Misfit
50 Weeks, climbing on everything
51 Weeks, Extremely apathetic about the whole birthday cake thing.
52 Weeks!

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