Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday morning

It's a cool fall day, and I can tell it's breezy even from inside because the hanging bats on our porch (Happy Halloween) are swinging wildly back and forth, and the wind chimes on the back deck are tinkling away. I love days like today: not wet, but cool, crisp, and filled with gorgeous fall colors. Most of the neighborhood trees are still covered in leaves, but the leaves are an amazing array of color.

The weekend at the cabin was wonderful, but all too short. We hot tubbed, listened to music, read, drank wine, prepared a nice dinner, ate way too much, and just enjoyed it overall. Ryan worked on the cabin bike for hours, and appeared to be in nirvana as he puttered and corrected and concentrated on the bike, sitting on the deck of the cabin amidst all that scenery. Tessa got to hike the whole property on her own for the first time, with the promise that she'd stay close enough to hear me if I called her, and she romped in the fields and down the paths, the two dogs close at her side. Marisa and I got some much needed girl-chatting done.

My only complaint was that it seemed as though as soon as we got there it was time to go home. No fair!

On the way home, I got an unexpected treat. As usual, we had to wait a couple of hours in the ferry lineup, and so Tessa and I were reading. Only this time, Tessa read to me! We have a silly book designed for early readers that has perhaps 20-30 words per page, and Tessa read me the first fifteen pages pretty much all on her own. It was startling to me to watch her connect with the language, and to see how many sight words she's picked up in the past few weeks, and how good she's gotten at phonetics. I was giddy with excitement to see how much she has learned recently - it was fabulous. She's read other books with perhaps 10 repeated words, and though this book was quite simple it was still much more complex than that. Hurrah for reading! And best of all....Tessa was as excited as I was, and her eyes sparkled and danced, and she obviously feels great pride an excitement in her progress.

We're a family of readers. Wow. For me, this is a dream come true. I have a daughter who reads....and I can't even explain how this touches my heart. It's another sign of a babyhood long gone, which is hard, but it's also a sign of how incredibly interesting Tessa is - she's interested in the world around her, and she's become such an amazing companion. I deeply enjoy being with her.

And speaking of which.....driving home, we had a deep conversation about houses. Houses? Yes. Tessa started asking about how different houses were constructed, and what materials would be needed, and how people in different countries lived. It became a conversation about how LITTLE one truly "needs" in order to live, and Tessa drew her own conclusions about how amazing our home is, and how little she would require in order to be merely comfortable. Again, we talked about Laura Ingalls and how she had only a corn-cob doll for a toy, and we discussed how many toys we had at our house. And then Tessa came up with multiple ideas about how she could build houses. She decided that she could fill a bucket with mud and straw, and let it sit for a few days until it dried out, and make bricks one at a time like that, and then use the bricks to build. The wheels were turning, and I could see her social conscience building, and I could see her making connections previously not made, and I could see her taking it all in.

It's good to be Tessa's mother. I am so immensely grateful for the experience of having Tessa in my life. Of all of the children in the world, I could have been given anyone...but I was given this amazing daughter who suits me so well, and whose ideas make me think, and whose compassion and kindness make me melt.

Sure, she's a kid, and she can annoy me like no other person on the planet. But even in the midst of the annoyance, I'm pretty amazed by who she is.

And now, this Monday morning, I'm still puttering around the house and putting the morning mess back together: breakfast dishes put away, beds made, toothbrush slop (yuck) wiped up, the weekend mail off the dining room table, and the rest. Laundry is running, Tessa is at school, and I've finished my first big mug of coffee.

And the rest of the day? Today, in addition to chores, I'm trying to organize my thoughts around what I want to accomplish with my day, my week, my month, my life. I'm trying to spend time doing things I won't regret. I'm trying to listen to music while I clean, and I'm trying to stop multi-tasking when I do other things. I'm trying to manage our finances (why is that so hard?!), to manage our nutrition, to tread lightly on the planet (amazingly, this takes a lot of effort), to care for our home, to care for myself, to care for my friends, to care for my family.

It's a big list. Today, I'm working on breaking it down into smaller pieces, and putting it back together in some order. Okay, that's what I'm ALWAYS working on, but today I'm working on it intentionally and with purpose. Wish me luck!

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