Wednesday, April 8, 2009


What do I do with the roughly 2 hours to myself when all the kids are in their bedroom having an afternoon rest?

For the month of March, I would be out checking the sap, hauling buckets of faintly sweet clear liquid to pour into the simmering pots on my wood stove, and then on the days I gathered more than 5 gallons, all the surplus into two big plastic storage tubs in the back of the minivan to drive to my parents' house, where their large outdoor stove built of cinder blocks would handle the largest quantities of sap we hauled in.

I loved having the project of making maple syrup to fill the gray March days. Beginning by wading through thigh-deep snow or walking on top when the weather was cold enough to freeze it solid. Finding new obstacles to climb over as the snow melted day by day to reveal fallen trees and pot holes. Tapping trees kept me a daily observer of spring's transformation of our back yard and woods, and the daily compulsion to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine for at least a few minutes had a noticeably cheering affect on my mood. Usually March is a long slow month to suffer through.

I'm glad, though, now, that the time for maple syrup is over for the year, and my nap times once again offer freedom of choice for how to fill them. I still go outside to bring in more firewood, since these rainy April days are chilly and the wood stove keeps us cozy. But now I can choose other things to do as well.

I'm still working on recording In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan onto audio files so I can burn it onto CD for My Hero and my dad and mom to listen to. I have already changed so much of how I shop for food and what I choose to cook because of that book, and I can't wait to have My Hero have the first-hand information for himself.

Sometimes I order pictures for our family photo albums, or read a book for myself, or, once in a while, clean something. Sometimes I organize a closet or cupboard that's much easier to do myself without curious hands fingering each item I pull out.

Yesterday, I took the four white picture frames I bought over a year ago and printed out four pictures of pink cherry blossoms, beautiful, and hung them in a line over our bed. Why did it take me a year to figure out what I wanted to do? I don't know, but I love the result.

I try not to feel disappointed when Christopher Robin trudges sleepily from the bedroom and asks me if I want to color with him, or will I read him a book. It requires an attitude check to switch from a happy solitude project to focusing on the kids again, but the hour after nap time, when there's nothing pressing to get to, is one of the best times of our day...reading, or coloring, or doing some fun, quiet project. So I heard the bedroom door nob turn, and I forced myself to throw away the resentful feelings that leapt up to my throat, and agreed to read him some books, and a couple of minutes later Peanut Butter came out with 3 books of his own, and we sat on the couch and read 6 books together, and then Christopher Robin jumped down from the couch, climbed a stool and got his box of Bob books down from the top of the fridge, and read seven of them to us. I confess I was falling asleep, snuggled warm on the couch being read aloud to, but Christopher Robin didn't notice, since I managed to rouse myself when he had a question or struggled with a word. He probably enjoyed reading uninterrupted by my corrections.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I love the pictures above your bed. Your home (and especially your bedroom) has such a clean, crisp, bright look to it. I love it! The BOB books look cool!