July 20, 2012

Finally her turn

Today is Jubilee's 3rd birthday, though we aren't going to celebrate until tomorrow evening when we gather 'round the fire beside Grandpa and Grandma's RV at our campsite in Ludington.

This might be her 3rd birthday, but it is her 1st birthday with us, and probably her 1st birthday celebration ever.  Because she came to us one month after she turned 2, she has been with us almost a full year with no party in her honor.  Sweet Jubi Sue has watched three brothers and two parents celebrate their birthdays, each time asking, "When my birfday?  When my July come?"

Well, baby girl, it is finally your turn.  Tomorrow we will tape balloons and streamers to our picnic table, provided that it doesn't rain, and presently there is a cocoa fudge cake (a family recipe and a birthday tradition for decades) in Grandma's oven.  I hope the cake doesn't sink in the middle.  I hope you like the wooden beads and string that I will wrap in pretty paper later today.  Your fingers are so nimble and you still have no interest in dolls.

I hope, most of all, that you know how I love you, and that to measure how precious you are to me, I would need all the beads and string in the world.  Your presence in my life, as my daughter, has brought me to the end of myself and back, and your sweet kisses on my cheek are like sprinkles on a cake that the two of us have slaved over for the last 11 months.  God is good, He loves you, we love you, and you are wonderful, Jubilee Sue.

Happy, happy, happy birthday!

July 19, 2012

A few minutes more

I've had no choice but to be off the internet this summer, and in some ways, I feel I am better for it.  My purse would disagree.  The poor thing is now crammed full of "blog posts" scrawled in ink on scrap paper, because I can't go too long without writing something.  It makes me cranky.

I have a minute now while the toddlers are asleep, before Grandma gets back from swimming lessons with the boys, and though I need to assemble a pot pie, there is no one around who I have waited two years to see and in who's presence it would be downright rude to jump online.  So, here I am, saying a quick "hello," and even more quickly I will type out one of those scrap paper posts.

Dated sometime this month.

The water was cold, but I felt compelled anyway.  My bare feet thudded over the hot sand as I ran toward the nipping waves, my 31-year-old thighs jiggling and my 2-year-old daughter hollering after me worriedly, "Mama!  Mama!  Where Mama going?!"

I left it all behind me.

When I had run far enough and deep enough, I dove under, hearing the silent hummmm of the giant lake in my ears.  Surfacing, my breath came to me quickly, and I looked around.  In one direction there was water as far as my eyes could see.  In the other direction the kids were waiting, befumbled, chewing on their hotdogs.

For a few minutes more I kept my back to the shore, letting my eyes feast on the sight of the lazy summer sun reclining in the low blue sky.  I thought of my Great Aunt Pauly, and how she used to recline on this very beach in her low blue beach chair 20 years ago.  She was old and happy, like the sun.

Soon I would return to my family and eat a bratwurst and a s'more, and later, I would clean sand from places on my kids' bodies that I try very hard not to expose myself to on a regular basis.

Lake Michigan and my life have two things in common:  there is no end in sight, but there is an end, none-the-less.  In the mean time, I will run headlong into the waves and pay no mind to who can see my thighs, and as many chances as I can get, I will linger a few minutes more.