On thursday, I mowed the lawn. Give me weeds to pull or a bed to dig up, but oh, I hate mowing. But the truth is that it took me less than 2 hours. I did have a bit of trouble with the mower at the end and I am not sure why. If I can figure that out, I will be mowing this summer. Maybe next summer, I’ll get someone to do it again, but for now, it is my chore.
Saturday, the weather was lovely. Julia drew on the sidewalk and dug for bugs. I tidied the front garden and we took a long walk. The cherry blossoms are blowzy with ready to wilt blooms. Their light sent is everywhere and my eyes cannot take in enough of them. It is the time of year where flowering plant after plant are budding and blossoming, and it is the time of year that I wish I could slow the parade just a little bit to take in and savor the loveliness. As a kid, we lived on a dead end street that led to Branchbrook park. It was, at the time, the second biggest cherry blossom display in the country, and every year during the week or two when the blooms were at their best, people would crowd the park to enjoy the display. I spent a lot of time in that park but cherry blossom time was the only time that I remember us going there all together -- my parents and siblings and grandparents, and sometimes other relatives or friends, would spend a Sunday afternoon walking the paths, climbing trees, taking pictures and taking in that beauty. I cannot see a cherry tree in bloom without thinking of that time, and I cannot look deep enough to satisfy my lust for such beauty in the Spring.
Ah, beauty. Eye of the beholder? This happened and my vanity caught me up short. At the church Cabaret, I tended bar for an hour. No big deal pouring wine, getting beer and collecting money. I have not gone to this event before and I dressed down with a sweater and jeans, but they were fine. An older man -- at least my age or a bit older -- came up to the bar and ordered wine. We were chatting about the wines offered and another woman came to join me at the bar. She is probably in her late thirties and was wearing a very pretty dress and looked really great. As soon as she came on the scene, the guy turns all, and I mean all, of his attention to her. I had trouble rousing enough attention to give him his change.
I have never believed that I was beautiful. Yes, my loved ones have thought so. Yes, it would have been ever so much more efficient to be beautiful during all that time I wanted to work in theater. Talent or no talent, beauty is an asset like none other. But still, I’ve just never been someone who was interesting or attractive because of my looks, but, but . . . well, geeze, this was an ego blow. I have never had the experience of absolutely disappearing. Fading a little, sure, but disappearing? I read somewhere how little old ladies were so useful because they were practically invisible. Is this my welcome to little old lady-dom?
I sorted pictures again last night and tonight, working on what I have from my parents. Again, the holes are what impresses itself on me. There is only one baby picture of my father, a very few kid pictures and then high school pictures. His pictures pick up during his navy days and then when I was born. My mother’s are the same, but her family took a few more formal pictures during her growing up. I assume that neither family had a camera. There is not one informal picture of my mother until she was a teenager. There are a few of my father but I imagine they were taken by other people and given to my grandmother. That all changes after World War II. There are two photo albums covering the first five or six years of my life and almost the same for David’s family. When I wish that I had some great insight into my grandparents through their pictures or some writing, I have to remember that my parents never saw a picture of their grandparents. I never heard stories of any of the great grandparents and only have a very few from my grandmother about her grandmother. We grew up without that history. How does that shape a family?
Julia and I saw Mirror Mirror on Sunday. Sunday was a strange windy, stormy, but not rainy day. She was able to watch the movie with ear plugs but without headphones. And she really enjoyed the story as well. Silly, warped telling of the fairy tale, but Julia loves those strong, brave, valiant heroines.
This summer’s stress on self care needs to include folding clothes and making her bed in the morning. She can do these things but now to get it into the routine. Maybe a chore chart -- we call the chores that contribute to the easy running of the home, Family Work. We’ve called our work with Marilyn the same, but with Marilyn, the Family Work is about our hearts, at home the Family Work is about learning to “live with care.” So, chart or not? I would expect a chart to be connected to reward, but I don’t really believe in rewarding chores, and for Julia, at least, there are so many other behaviors that she can be rewarded for. Still, I need her help and need to be able to depend on her for self-care and home-care as she grows. Here is another think that I never really attended to with Cheshire. Cheshire grew up without many regular chores and with little expectation of house work. I would rather have her doing school work and practicing her music than washing dishes. And for her, it worked. At the appropriate time, she did take up some household chores and she is always happy to pitch in when she comes home. I am thinking it is different for Julia, but by framing it as work towards making our family strong and happy, possibly it is serving on two fronts. I don’t know what of it she understands, but she does on occasion say as she is bringing grocery bags in from the care, “This is making us a strong family. Right, mom?” Yes, indeed.