9/30/14

My hands are in it

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My hands are in it, squeezing the salt into the cabbage, crushing the squeaky shredds to start the fermentation process when my mind takes a wander. . .or is it my body?  I become aware in that moment, watching the muscles in my own fingers working in the worn stone crock, of the many hands that must have prepared the kapusta for winter storage over the generations of my mother's maternal side of the family.  I can almost picture the hands, all shapes and sizes, working just as I am now.  I enjoy bread making in much the same way, kneading the product with strong hands and love and knowing I am making something that will nourish family.

My grandmother was born in America, of Polish immigrants, farmers, and squeezing cabbage was surely not the hardest work any of those hands had seen.  I wonder for a moment about the generations of family who I will never meet and if they enjoyed this process as a tradition, a promise of a winter feast, or if it was merely a chore, with a 'Cabbage is better than none.' mentality, but that thought passes and I sink back into the work, and press the cabbage firmly, now packing it tight and watching the water rise to the top.  It has begun.  I tuck large clean leaves on top, weight them down and cover the crock with a cloth.

Then, I wait.  My hands no longer in the crock, but still in the family.

9/23/14

The Little Philosopher

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After driving across town to pick up my middle son at school, he runs toward me swinging his backpack and being goofy, big smile on his face.  He is like this every day at the end of school and though he would never admit it, I am sure it is as much to do with his current school as it does that school is over for the day.  He hops in the car, first stopping to be goofy with Lila, then climbing onboard.  As we drive off, he begins talking, "Did you ever think so much, you outsmarted yourself?"  No way to answer that one, and luckily I didn't have to, he kept on talking.  As my mind glanced back at the days of sitting in philosophy class in college, my son continued, "You know when you think so hard about something it gets confusing?  Did you know that everything is made of nothing?  There's these things called atoms that are about eighty percent nothing and when they get close together, we can feel them, like when I put my finger on the dashboard, but this isn't really a dashboard, it's really a bunch of nothing.  And we can't really see things, we just see the light reflecting off the atoms."

A couple hours later, at supper, the conversation resumed with big brother kicking in like they had read the same book.  (As it turns out they did, *snicker*)  Joey turned the conversation, "Yeah and when you read something, it's like you suddenly start seeing it everywhere, like just today Mr. Gifford said. . ." My mind wandered.  I know Mr. Gifford, Joey's sixth grade teacher, said last night at open house, "I appologize in advance for how many times you are going to hear my name this year."  The next thing I knew the conversation had moved on without me. . ."and isn't it cool that powder is explosive if you put it in the air?"

So I have been practicing my questioning skills and asked, "Given what you guys have been talking about with atoms, and air, and objects, what do you think is the reason why powder in the air is explosive?"  (Go. Mama! Go. Mama!---my silent cheer as I ponder my own question.  I am curious to hear how they explain it)  Charlie didn't have an immediate answer, so I encouraged him to keep thinking.  Then Joey decided it had something to do with the surface area of the powder molecules.  Dad pitched in a hint about the burn triangle, and added his own question, "What will there be more of around each particle of flour when it is, here's your word of the day, atomized?" and both boys chimed in, "Oxygen!"

Sometimes the richness of the conversations my kids have, or are capable of amazes me. . .   

9/17/14

A Sweet Memory

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLSC bloggers.(this slice was late, so is not posted on the SOL list this week, but I had to get back into it :)
My last baby started Kindergarten this year.  I can hardly believe how much she has grown in height and as a personality.  I am enjoying watching her become a fantastic little girl.  Tonight I had a rare treat when I went up to kiss her goodnight.  Daddy had already tucked her in for the evening and she asked me, as she does, to lie next to her for a few minutes.  I stretched on the edge of her bed with my arm across her tummy as she rubbed it, then before I knew it the rise and fall of her quiet breath filled my senses and carried me back to a time when she was just a baby, warm and fuzzy headed, smelling new and sweet and faintly of milk.  Then just as quickly, I was back.  Like waking from a dream, I was present and kissing her cheek.  I moved out of her room as she curled cozily onto her side for a good night's slumber.

9/2/14

Conversation beginning with. . . "Graveyard"

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Tonight my almost Halloween baby, almost 6, asked me, "Mommy, what is a graveyard?"

So not wanting to say, "A place to bury dead people." I told her, "It's a place to remember people who have died."

Then Lila, "Like who?"

"Well Super Grampy for one."  I did talk to the kids this spring, but they didn't go to the funeral, and it seemed to have floated over little miss Lila, because she replied, "Super Grampy Died?" (insert quivery voice). . .that's sad."

So onward our conversation traveled, past the Graveyard and up to Heaven! and of course Lila asked "What's heaven?"

I said, "It might be different for different people? If we use our imagination that's what our heaven is. . ." and Lila replied,
"No, it should be the same for everyone."

"Well honey, I do think heaven is a place where the most beautiful parts of our selves go after we die?  remember how we talked about being beautiful inside?"

Lila, "Do we have houses there?"

 Me, "I don't know because I've never been there, but I think we just live on the beach."

"I think we have a long row of houses that goes around and around and is surrounded by the ocean. . . .no it's surrounded by a lake bigger than Sebago Lake."

"Wow, that sounds amazing."

Then she hugged me around the neck and said, "Mom, I love you more than me.  I love you to the edge of outer space and back, and to the edge of outer space and back, and to the edge of outer space and back."

I take that as high complement from an almost 6 :) And about as much sign I got this conversation moderately close to "right" as any parent can expect to get.