Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bittersweet


His high school career is drawing to a close. The past couple of months have been filled with accomplishments and "lasts." Tomorrow is his last academics awards assembly, he hasn't missed one, earning honors every year.  About a month ago, the winter drum line participated in their final performance of the season, receiving the highest marks the Ozark High School Winter Drum Line has received since its inception. He played marimba in a wind ensemble that scored a 1+, the highest possible score in a competition a couple of weeks ago. I have been remiss in flagging these events and accomplishments because I feel paralyzed by my mixed emotions. I am thrilled for all he is and all he has done, and I ache because this pride and joy should have been experienced by his mother.
 Ben has a strong sense of who he is. He loves nature, being in it, reading about it, observing it, even worshiping it. He is gentle, a pacifist to his core. He is an introvert -- one who renews himself in solitude. He is a avid learner and an amazing repository of information, especially about insects!
Part of my avoidance in recognizing that his time living with me is coming to an end, is my failure to purchase senior pictures. I know that those posed portraits would utterly fail to capture the essence of this wonderful person just as a pinned insect specimen destroys the essence of a magnificent creature. The photos on this page are some taken this past week and although you don't clearly see his face in the bottom two, they are much better portraits.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Table for One

 My idea of a perfect birthday lunch if my perfect family and perfect friends aren't around: Fresh Dungeness crab shipped from Oregon, fresh sour dough bread from BreadSmith (SF sourdough is better, but not practical and BreadSmith isn't bad), fresh asparagus (unfortunately waterlogged because I let it sit too long in a cooling bath of water), mayonnaise for the crab and asparagus, a glass of Panilonco's Chardonnay/Viognier from Chile, and something good to read on my Kindle (West With the Night by Beryl Markham). It was lovely.
Another birthday treat, the Dogwood is finally coming reluctantly into bloom. The weather is crazier than ever this spring. Three days this week I have run both the air conditioner and the heater. The temperature fluctuates 40 degrees -- 82 yesterday and now at 4 PM it is 42.

 And a little something to spruce up the driveway -- a newish car. This is a 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitari and so far, I really love it. I found nearly all the controls and really like the comfort of it.
Beautiful flowers from my beautiful daughter arrived this morning. They are very fresh and just coming into bloom, so I should be able to enjoy them for a week.

 Friend Andra brought me this cake and although I haven't cut into it, I did locate a couple of large crumbs and a glob of frosting and I can guarantee it is delicious!
I haven't changed much, the years have been kind to me, just as my friends and family have been.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rites of Passage

You know how your write down all the "firsts" of your first-born child for a couple of years? I think the years 16-18 are filled with just as many firsts. As Ben and Logan hit these milestones, I try to celebrate them with the same sense of joy and liberation the boys feel. Sometimes, it's challenging. And I'll try to record some of them here -- at least those the don't violate their privacy too much.

In the last couple of years, I've taught two teen-agers to drive -- one of the toughest tests of the parent/child relationship. God willing, I won't ever have to do that again. Ben and Logan have such completely different learning styles, different approaches to driving, and different relationships to cars; it's hard to believe they grew up in the same household. Where Ben was tentative and cautious, Logan was filled with self-confidence (not always a good thing) and daring. Logan looks for any excuse to get behind the wheel and wouldn't think of riding the school bus. Ben doesn't mind riding the bus at all. Logan bought a car before he had a driver's license (and thought he had waited almost too long). Ben bought a bicycle on his 16th birthday.

And now, I'm getting ready to send a kid off to college. Planning, paper work, packing. So much to consider logistically. And then there's all the emotional stuff. Is he ready? Will he adapt to dorm life? Will he remember to go to class? to eat? to call his grandmother? to shower? to brush his teeth? Should I leave his room ready at home? move to a smaller house? how often will he come home? how often will I go to California to visit him? How can I stand to let him go? How could I stand to keep him from pursuing a dream. This is tough!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter and Many Men


 This will have to be my official birthday portrait this year, I don't think I can get these guys to stand still for a picture all together again. Why do you suppose it's so hard to get them to pose? You'd think it took real effort to stand around trying to look pleasant. And while I'm at it, why do you suppose it's so hard to get them to empty the lint trap in the dryer when they do laundry?
 Julia prepared a nice ham dinner for us on Easter Sunday which we consumed very soon after arriving at noon and then we sat around in a sated soporific state the rest of the afternoon as demonstrated by Logan, Ash, and Nick in the picture above.

Here Jerry and Adam show how it's done. Jerry has reason to be tired. He's been working feverishly to finish his RN program and will graduate in May. He already has a job waiting for him. He started back to school nearly four years ago and has plowed through the program nonstop ever since.  I can't wait to celebrate when he finishes -- imagine how he feels!

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon (until a cold front moved in around 4:00). Not seen in this photo are the women: me, Julia, Krista, Bernice, and Amanda. We're sitting on the porch watching the guys across the yard. I think Steve is refilling his wine glass. It was kind of a small gathering this year, and there were no little kids to hunt Easter eggs. And it may well be Ben's last Easter with the Maples clan for a while. If all goes according to plan, he'll be in California at this time next year.