Monday, September 17, 2018 and Jason and I find ourselves at home alone without either of our three children! They headed out earlier this afternoon for their long awaited trek to West Virginia without Mommy or Daddy. A gift to them, but actually me cashing in a coupon from my last birthday before the next one comes around in a matter of days! They handled departing with way more composure then I did. I tried hard to let them get out of sight before the tears rolled but did not escape Alida seeing me cry. It was hard to do the lunch dishes through my tears. I love those girls an awful lot! And I knew I couldn't focus on catching up on the blog until I knew they were safely at Grandma and Grandpa's. My whole body relaxed when I got this picture of Terah sacked out in their garage. Yay!
So it feels like a day of firsts and also potentially some lasts. I've longed for this day many times over the past few years - or maybe better said I've longed for the night ahead - a night where I can sleep uninterrupted all night long. Then it comes and like most things it is not quite as neat and clean as what you long for. It's all mixed together with the feelings of change and with change comes some loss too. It was lovely to go for a long walk with Jason this afternoon and to do a wood finishing project together in the garage without interruption - we were able to finish our sentences! We will enjoy the time together. And we will miss the girls a lot! For me, it also could be the end of nearly 15 years of being a lactating mother. Terah was pretty set on the idea of being done nursing. Even today when I offered to nurse her one more time before she left, she eagerly climbed in my arms and nursed unenthusiastically for a few minutes. She was ready to go! Am I ready to let her go?
In many ways it feels like this time apart kind of snuck up on me. It's been on the calendar for months and then this past week had so many things thrown into the mix with wondering how the remnants of the hurricane weather would impact plans and then minor viruses running through our household. The weekend was full with hosting a house concert Saturday evening and then a grape juice making party all day yesterday. So it really wasn't until I was giving my last goodbye hugs that it really hit me. And these things always hit me kind of hard. The tears were not so much about saying goodbye to them for two days. I mean I will miss them but it's more the fear of the horrible what if's that plague me and then my mind going to situations of parents being separated from their children forcefully. I was letting my children go for a fun adventure to West Virginia with loving grandparents who they adore. I cannot imagine having my children taken from me and not knowing what they would face or how they would be treated. I am not quick to use the word "evil," but I want to here. It breaks my heart and makes me feel so angry. Yes, my mind and emotions are pretty full right now and I have some space and time to feel them!
However, I do not plan to spend the vast majority of my time without children here writing about them or sitting in front of this computer screen. So it's time for a quick update so I can sign off this machine for a bit!
We have just enjoyed another stint with Mom and Dad upstairs. We will likely go through withdrawal in October when they won't be around for most of the month - though we look forward to a new Tangly Woods temporary member joining us for a few weeks soon (more on that and if you are reading this post, know that we are looking forward to welcoming you!!). Alida may go through backgammon withdrawal, as it felt like at least half the times I went upstairs, she would have conned Grandma or Grandpa into a game with her. She has gotten some good practice it appears as she has more or less beaten me on every game we played recently!
A few other snippets to accompany the photos below: 1. I'm still always surprised at what shows up on the camera when I download photos. Alida was enjoying getting some cloud shots the other day. 2. I'm being converted into a flower bouquet lover and am enjoying the flowers in front of Mom and Dad's deck immensely! 3. Our two younger kiddos are too cute a pair sometimes! 4. It's cover cropping time and sometimes we find ourselves racing the sun. The recent rains have actually been welcome for germination of lots of new seeds! 5 & 6. Terah is great at shelling dry bean seed and extracting okra seed. She loves the feeling it seems of being a productive and contributing member of our household! 7. Kali continues to pull more than her weight and here is pushing a lot more than here weight - they are moving our pigs from woods to the nut grove and were having a time of it since the pigs were more interested in the clover patches than the process of walking across the yard.
Here's a few photos from our house concert the other night. Last year we went back and forth and back and forth the day of the concert as to whether to risk being outside or go inside. This year it was nice to be very clear that we would be inside. It was our fourth time hosting the Clymer Kurtz band and hopefully not the last. What a great turnout and a fun mix of neighbors, folks from my work, friends, band followers, Ktown neighbors, family, and others that got the invite from one channel or another. We had over 30 seats in our front room but had folks spilling out into the kitchen and porch and back kitchen and lingering around the snack table upstairs or hanging out in my parents' place and hearing music through the windows and then kids running all over the place! What a lot of positive energy!!
It was rainy/drizzly most of the evening but made for beautiful clouds on the mountain and didn't seem to dampen anyone's moods. Terah was a tad more on edge than sometimes due to her cold, but she did well for us welcoming probably 60 or so folks into our home. When the band was packing up to leave she was begging to go to bed. She carted around in the Ergo for awhile and then I took a break from clean up to get her sacked out before moving furniture back in place. When I came out, I found Kali lounging in our living room! She too was a bit under the weather so was enjoying a few moments of peace and quiet after a big day!
By day's end, we had more than 68 quarts (a few jars held more than a quart) of grape juice sealed on the counter, several quarts of unsealed and multiple quarts had been consumed over the course of the day. We also had gallons of grape pulp with seeds and skins strained out. What a delicious second product! The remains after that went to the pigs and they expressed deep and many grunts of gratitude!
As I looked at the pictures, I realized I didn't really take any of the juice. Maybe that points to that being just one of the byproducts of the day. It's a great excuse for spending a wonderful day connecting with neighbors and friends, enjoying a feast at lunch together of things we all contributed and having lots of chances to chat while pulling grapes off stems or waiting for the juicer to finish up a batch. No fingers scalded by hot grape juice this year and lots of good memories of our time together!
I'll end with a short video from lunch today when Terah came up with a new way to ride her bike! That girl is never lacking in ideas: