Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bridal Shower

(This post was first published August 30, 2006.)

Yesterday was my birthday, and I felt melancholy here and there throughout the day. It was my first since Mom passed away. Every birthday after I left home, Mother and Daddy would call me early in the morning and sing to me--most often the first greeting of the day.Today would have been my Mom and Dad's 65th wedding anniversary. I always felt special, being their "14th anniversary present.

"Mother had a "bride's book," which in no way resembles what we now call a "Wedding Album." Or even what my daughter and daughter-in-law had as a "wedding planner." Two-inch binders with places for cards, ribbons, and other mementos. Mother's was the size of one of those black "composition books," only about a quarter as thick, probably thirty pages or so. It is wonderful because it is handwritten by her--her own memories of her wedding.

She had a wedding shower. I notice that now we have several of them: kitchen, linen, personal, couples...she had *one*. She made quite a haul, mostly with linens. Several sets of "luncheon cloth and napkins"--those fabulous 1940's sets that we snatch up at antique stores. "Embroidered tea towels." "Embroidered pillowslips." Don't I wish I had them now? But, naturally, they were given and received in order to be used, and used UP. (I do have one of a pair of guest towels that she embroidered in the first year of her marriage--so threadbare, but it still says GUEST, with a garland of flowers all around.)

When we buy these vintage linens, we always think about the women who made them and used them. We'd love to feel the connection to another time. Women just like my mother, whose entry under "Our First Home," tells of how, after their wedding night, they just wanted to come home, so they "brought groceries home, and [she] fixed her first meal," the second night of their marriage.So much lay ahead for them--they were married months before Pearl Harbor. They were destined to raise only five of their thirteen children to adulthood. Two cancers. The everyday ups and downs plus the "added dose" of sorrow for their lives, could not be seen when she filled out her "bride's book."

We all share that, in this Sisterhood of women. So many hopes and dreams as we open those wedding shower gifts. Life moves along, humdrum or tragic, year by year. I am so grateful to our Lord that He gave my parents 64 years. A marriage in which their love grew more deeply as every anniversary rolled around. I had a model of How to Do Marriage Well that enabled me to choose a husband wisely, and to be an example for me, for 30 years so far, and is now the model for my children to follow. That is the inheritance I have from them. I would have loved to have the linens from that long-ago bridal shower, but I have the better gift in the example of their LIVES. That gift will never be "used up."

Friday, August 28, 2009

What a Week!

We are now at Friday of the first week of public school. 37 weeks to go--175 more days.

It has meant Big Changes around here. But Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald have stepped up to the plate, and I'm very proud of them.

Homework: they've never had homework before, you know. I had a spasm on Tuesday, when Alvin's World History teacher gave them 40 pages of homework. (especially after football practice got him home at 6pm.) Still don't know what was up with that; but he didn't have history homework the rest of the week. One more homework note: Since I taught the kids algebra and geometry, I am able to help them with their homework. I'm "in the mode" already. How many parents of high schoolers can help their kids with math?

Waking up: a little harder to do every day, but now it is Friday, and they are looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. A good discipline is happening.

Cultural education: Our high school is ranked the fourth most-diverse high school in the nation. Besides many ethnic cultures, we have the "urban" culture, as well. Susan and Alvin have mentioned how this is enriching their classroom life. Susan, especially, likes the discussions in English class, and hearing everyone's thoughts.

Lunch: Susan and Alvin are eating Cafeteria Lunches, out of the four they've had was "worth eating." Oh, well, their alternative is to make a lunch themselves, so complaints are few.

To sum up: They are stepping up to the plate and doin' what needs to be done, with little complaining. They are also finding some new friends, and finding their "place" in a larger community. All in all, I vote the week Successful.

(except for the fact that I was down, in bed, for most of three days with a HUGE cold. So, the "hours to myself everyday" thing kinda fizzled.)

Tonight, to celebrate, we have pizza, homemade brownies, and a new episode of Monk on tv!

Monday, August 24, 2009

And, They're Off!

I dropped Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald off at school this morning...for the very first time.

We spent the last school year coming to the decision that, for this season, public high school would be best for our family. I am completely okay with my head. But, of course, I have mixed feelings, as well.

Because, I've had them to myself. All of their lives so far.

I have a friend who went through this same thing last week--her high school started last Wednesday. She spent the day with these same feelings. She recovered--I will, as well.

Just give me a day.

Or maybe two.

(of course, now I have seven hours to Do Stuff. All that stuff I've put off for, like, twelve years.)

Like Cleaning Closets.

I could get used to this!

Have a blessed week, dear friends!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I've been thinking today, over at Homeschool in the Wildwood. Go take a look!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Stuff is Coming.

So, so busy here.

I have not had children in "real school" (you homeschoolers know what I mean!) for eight years. Over the past year, we made the decision to put Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald in the public high school from which my older six children graduated.

But I had forgotten how crazy August was.

(and December. and May. But we'll cross those bridges when they come.)

I pre-registered Alvin at the eighth-grade orientation in the spring. But early last week I had to register Susan. So I had to gather her transcript and fill out mega-million forms. Later that week was Really-Truly Registration. Standing in lines. Going to places out-of-turn (like, you had to have your schedule before you got your i..d. picture taken--who knew?). More lines. Alvin's schedule wasn't in Mrs. Frank's box, so we had to go to another place and Wait to get another.

Ah, good ol' Mrs. Franks. She is the go-to guidance department secretary, and she has been there since we moved here in 1991. Her comment to me: Yes, Mrs. K*, I saw Susan's schedule earlier, and I thought, "my gosh, does that woman still have children???" Yep. She has guided six of mine through the graduation requirements/SAT tests/scholarship apps, and she'll do it for the last two, as well. I did tell her that Alvin was Absolutely the End Of The Line, though...

And then, of course, the back-to-school sales. Goodwill has their 50% off all clothing yesterday and today. I hit two of them yesterday, and will do at least another one today. Doing better with Alvin than Susan, but she already has more clothing than anyone in the known universe.

So, I am nearing the end of my homeschooling career. We are planning a little celebration this week, before I am declared a Homeschooler Emeritus.

Wistful? A little. Okay, a little more than that. But having a few more hours in my day? This is not a bad thing. Everything in its season. My friend Kaybeautiful is beginning her empty-nest adventure. Charming's mother (100 miles away) is getting older, and I'm looking forward to spending some days with her. My house is gonna love me--Decluttering is going to be my middle name.

Or one of my middle names. How does Barbie-Neo-Empty-Nester-Decluttering-Queen-Homeschooler-Emeritus-Charming's-Last-Name sound to you?

Monday, August 03, 2009

We weren't really looking for an adventure...

....but we had one anyway.

Saturday morning we were getting ready to go to Charming's mother's home, 100 miles away, for her annual summer party, a mini-reunion of her children and their families (and now her grandchildren's families--there are 13-going-on-14 great-grandchildren now). Some of Charming's cousins show up, and sometimes old family friends. It is a wonderful day of food, softball, music, and great fellowship.

We were already running late--our target time was 11 am, and we were finally on the road about 40 minutes later. We stopped for gasoline, and the car's "message center" said to check air pressure in the tires, so Charming filled one that he thought was needful.

Just a couple of miles out of town, we heard a ka-whump sound, and I saw in my sideview mirror a piece of our tire, flying on ahead of us down the highway. Not so good. Blessedly, we were coming right up to a rest stop. Even though the rest stop was closed, it had a two-lane entrance ramp on which to safely change the tire, well away from the cars screaming by at 65 mph.

So many blessings--we had never used the spare in the seven years we've owned the car, and it was still full of air (put this on your annual checklist--check the spares!), we went back to town and found the tire store Open and a tire Available--they didn't even hassle us about not buying a Pair (Charming is out of work and money is tight), so we were back on the road, safely, in a reasonable amount of time. Two hours later we arrived, just in time for dinner!

We had a wonderful time, of course, but too short. Back on the road about 8 pm, we were just Quiet in the car, each with his own thoughts (well, Charming and I with our own thoughts. Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald with their own text-a-phones and iPods...), toolin' on down the road, when what do we spy but a dead cow in the field to our right. How did we know it was dead, you ask?

Did you ever see a roadkill raccoon that had been there for two or three days? It looks like a raccoon-shaped balloon with four little legs sticking out of it. Well, that cow had been there for two or three days, and it was blown up big-time. Looked really funny with those four legs sticking straight out.

My question is: How does a cow go two or three days without someone seeing it? Or missing it? Don't you know how many cows you have? Wouldn't you see it when you let your cows out to pasture the next day?

Maybe we should be looking for the farmer?