Monday, July 30, 2012

Blueberries For Me

Earlier this summer (much earlier) we did some blueberry picking.  (Just file that under the list of posts that never got written.)  You know we love our seasonal pick-your-own outings.  Blueberry picking is especially fun for me.  Blueberries are my "obviously God love me" treat.  The little blue fruit is one of my absolute favorite foods.

A few years ago I got to take a lovely trip to Maine.  I had blueberries with every meal, except one, and that meal was sad indeed.  On the last night of the trip I ordered blueberry pie with my meal, like I had at every other meal during the trip.  Shortly after ordering our waitress came back and told me that they had run out of pie.  I almost started crying.  Seriously.  I love blueberries that much.

Now I admit, a Maine blueberry and a Southern blueberry are two different things.  But each is wonderful in its own way.  If you've never been blueberry picking before you really have to do it at least once.  Though I promise you'll be hooked once you've gone.  There is nothing quite like eating a blueberry picked right from the bush.  Hot from the summer sun, it's a burst of sweet juice in your mouth.  Absolutely delicious.

When we pick blueberries I can't help but quote "Blueberries for Sal" as I move along.  Not only do I love the book, it also turns out that my kids pick blueberries much like Sal.  Three blueberries in the bucket...kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk. And three blueberries in their mouth.  Then they eat the three blueberries that were in their bucket as well.  All the while, I'm working silently, filling my own bucket, thinking about ways to preserve the blueberries so that we can enjoy them for months to come.  I guess Robert McCloskey knew a thing or two about mothers picking blueberries with their children.

Even with the children eating their weight in blueberries, we managed to come home with three gallons of fruit.  It helped that my mom and grandma were helping us pick. One adult per child made the chances of getting home with a decent amount of berries a little greater.  All in all it was a wonderful day with very delicious rewards.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

British Birthday

A few weeks ago, when I approached the boy about his upcoming birthday party, he said, "I just want something simple.  Just a few friends.  Maybe a movie or something."  I told him that sounded great. I asked him if he had an idea of a particular movie that he was thinking about watching.  "What about that one you and dad are always talking about, the one that says something about 'just a flesh wound' or 'just a bunny' or something like that."

Oh my, yes!  I decided it was definitely time to introduce the boy to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  That wonderfully hilarious movie full of the best quotes.  In fact, I judge my friends on whether or not they can quote Holy Grail.  It's kind of a deal breaker.  The boy could see my head spinning.  "Mom just keep it simple, OK?"  So, no fondant formed knights on the cake then?  "No.  No knights.  No theme. Yes cake."  Right.  Absolutely son.  No problem.  Simple it is.

The day of the party arrived.  The boy walked into the kitchen and found me making a Union Jack paper chain.  I had already made little flags for a centerpiece and had purchased Union Jack plates and napkins.  "Mom, you're theme-ing."  No, I'm not.  I'm decorating.  He gave me a wry smile and said, "You're decorating with a theme."  And in true Chris fashion, he just shrugged his shoulders, smiled, and left me to decorate.  He's good to his birthday party loving mama.

So we celebrated with a bit of British flair and some Monty Python.  Good, witty fun.  And I'm proud to report that my son thought the movie was hilarious.  Whew!  That was close.  I would have had to disown him otherwise.  He even thanked me the next morning for "theme-ing".  He's a good kid.  I think I'll keep him.


Today my son turns twelve.

We recently took a trip to meet my little sister's daughter.  I watched my son hold the baby, so small in his large hands.  He was so gentle.  With someone so small cradled in his arms, he looked closer to a man than a boy .  I was transported back to when I could hold that near-man in my own arms.  He was just about her size once and fit snug in a sling wrapped tight to my chest.  Today he would have an easier time carrying me around than the reverse.

I've watched him mature in the past year with growing admiration for the person that he's becoming.  He was born with an old soul, logical and quiet.  He's not openly affectionate or overly emotional.  He carries it all in his inner heart.  There, he sorts through the confusion and anxiety of growing up.  In that quiet heart, he holds a fierce protection for the people he loves.  He shows love rather than tells it.  He is also a pre-teen boy and therefore my quiet, mature twelve year old can also be ridiculously goofy.  He shares my love of British wit but will also quickly laugh at bathroom humor and appreciates some good sarcasm.  He's a bit James Dean, though at the moment he's a rebel without a cause.  His social rebellion has shown itself in the splash of purple he's kept in his hair this year.  While he questions the norms occasionally, he is also one of the most respectful kids I know.  He is perhaps too cynical for his age, but he will often be the first to remind us at the dinner table that we are very blessed.  He thanks me for making dinner after almost every meal, even when he doesn't like the food, and he apologizes when he needs new shoes because of the expense.  He's hard to raise sometimes because he has a stubborn streak like my father and a quick logical tongue like his father.  But he's also easy to raise because he willingly acknowledges right and wrong with little prompting.  He is intelligent and handsome and healthy, things all parents wish for.  Things I am incredibly grateful for.  But it his spirit that I appreciate the most.  Therein lies his greatest potential to be a wonderful man one day.  A man who has the potential to do good in the world.  A man that I will no doubt be very proud to call my son.  Just as I am proud to call him my son today.

It pricks my mother's heart to see the years pass away.  But it is my greatest joy in life to watch this boy become a man.  My Christopher.  My firstborn.  A child poured straight from my soul into the reality of his own.  The depths of my love for him are immeasurable.