Saturday, April 26, 2008

The view from our vacation

The temperature has dropped a good 20 degrees between yesterday and today, but we're still soaking up the sun and living as though we might never again see such a beautiful day. Matt is laying a "rock garden," intended to be a solid foundation for the kids' in-ground sandbox, but truly such a work of art, we're all going to be disappointed when it's covered! I'm on the side porch, appreciating each time the wind blows that the screens haven't yet replaced the glass. Brrr....springtime chill! Our favorite singer-songwriter, Lori McKenna, is pouring her velvety voice out over the scene, and I'm wishing this moment could go on and on and on. (And Lori, favorite singer-songwriter, is coming to OUR TOWN this summer! Truly, OUR TOWN! Have I mentioned how much I love where we live????)

What are the other treasured moments from our vacation?

*Matt and I went to see "The Visitor" while Auntie indulged the kids in some time alone with her at her apartment. Now that they've had regular visits without us, we're seen as spoiling their party to actually come with them and stay! It was a reminder of life both past and future to walk the streets of Boston as we waited for the movie to begin, and conversation with one another that doesn't revolve around work, laundry, or the latest parenting challenge is always a gift. Thank you, Auntie!

*The kids and I were able to partake in our annual tradition, cheering on runners of the Boston Marathon. I've written before about how this event moves me--the pure love of parent and child in the Hoyt father-son pair; the colorful display of our varied skins, flags, and shirts bearing every allegiance under the sun. So many people put their feet to the pavement to raise funds for non-profits, to pay tribute to someone they love, or to memorialize someone they've lost. This year I saw a runner who had pinned a small sign to his back reading, "This one is for you, Mom. We'll miss you. 4/18/2008." His mother had died only three days before, and he was running. I may never run a marathon (though never say never!), but I can relate to the experience of putting the whole of my physical self into an act of personal triumph and tribute to another. Watching the marathon always takes me back to these moments.

*We celebrated Matt's birthday with an excursion to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. Though the three and six year olds were less interested in inductees and the factoids one can learn along the way, they were enthralled with some of the interactive displays and activities, and we all enjoyed ourselves. A thrill? When "Daddy" sunk the very first foul shot in a competition!

*It was a week of picnics! We've been eating meals on the porch (where the chill continues!), ventured out for a barbecue at our pastor's house, and also indulged in a gourmet picnic-bench meal with new friends at a favorite local playground. We met these friends for the first time at the playground, and our four kids took immediately to one another, traipsing from end to end without a backward glance. The youngest in the crowd was 2 1/2 years old, and with a whole extra year under his belt, Lucas was the designated watcher and helper to young Ian. At one point Ian ventured out a gate that would typically have been closed, moving without hesitation into the parking lot. Lucas stayed at the gate, called urgently to the parents, and demonstrated that he has the ability to save the life of a friend. I've never been more proud of him.

*Swimming last night at the "parenting through swimming" program we attend brought break-throughs for both kids. Lucas swam from side to side on his own, bravely letting go of the "parent crutch" we've both been nurturing for too long! And Kyra, at the urging of "Mr. Bob" took off her swim float for the first time, holding herself only with milk jugs in her hands. She's getting ready to take off!

Other pleasures abound--visits with neighbors, breakfast this morning at a favorite local cafe, a tour of the recently renovated library (indeed, our community has an embarrassment of riches!), appearances by new flowers and birds, and the purchase of seeds for the garden. It's been a wonderful week. Thank you God for vacation!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Matt and the kids are in NY for a couple of days; Matt needs to accompany his dad on some medical appointments, and the kids will have a much-wanted Grandma visit. It's always eerily silent when they are away--and the time becomes a rare opportunity to hear what our neighborhood actually sounds like. I hear my teenage neighbor obsessively bouncing his lacrosse ball off the trampoline-like net that springs it back toward him every few seconds. The occasional plane take-off or approach to landing is suddenly audible. And the noises within the house are more prominent, too. The grandfather clock is tick, tock, ticking away. The laptop in the corner of the living room chirps from time to time, questioning why it's been forgotten and allowed to rest so long today!

When I returned home from work tonight (not too, too late, though it is easy to work late when the house is empty--and the next two nights will be work events!), I could still smell the lingering soap/steam scent from Matt's shower, and the kids' sleep smell seemed to hang in their room. I'll snuggle their blankets to me tonight, a nice reminder of them sleeping soundly a state away.

I miss them, all of them. And the gift of this time is how their absence shines a light on how I sometimes miss them when they're all right here. Don't get my wrong...the silence is a gift. But what I learn from it is part of that gift as well. They are such treasures.