Monday August 16th 2010, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Family

Weight bearing exercise.  Steroid-induced osteoporosis.  My stationary bike, though I use it, isn’t the right tool for the job and my bum knee would prefer I be walking briskly anyway thankyoukindly.  Richard suggested something I’d actually been thinking of too, and so I was researching treadmill machines when Michelle came home.

She asked me what I was doing. I told her.

“Mom. You DON’T need more yarn!!”


I suddenly pictured monster hanks of yarn and walking hamster-ball-style in the loop they made.  Red. Big Red Yarn. Really big.  We did the confused look/what on earth are you talking about/you DON’T, Mom! thing a few times around before she laughed, “TREADMILL! I thought you said trade mill, like, you know, maybe, some cooperative for farmers, or…!” You know, to pool their wool or something.

And then perhaps it would all come here?

Where on earth would she get an idea like that?

It was trolley for the best
Sunday August 15th 2010, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,LYS

I got a package in the mail on Friday from my childhood friend Karen of the Water Turtles Shawl.  It turns out Richard was in on what was a total surprise: a kilogram of fawn superfine alpaca on a cone from a place she’d stopped in while visiting her daughter in Maine–a place where local producers sell their output.  Cool!  She thought I might be able to figure out something to do with it.

And you know? I just might. (Thank you, Karen!)

Then that evening Michelle talked about some plans with some friends for the next day, and the easiest way to make it happen was to drop her off in San Francisco and then pick her up from the local train station later.

Note that I mapquested where she wanted to go to Imagiknit and only then back to home again.  My ulterior motives were cheered on by the others.

But I dislike deep-city driving enough that after she got out I decided to bag it after all and just get on the freeway and go. However, while avoiding jaywalkers I missed my street sign and ended up on Market Street and Market Street is a long straight shot west with a whole lot of No Turns signs. You have to juggle constantly between the trolley only/not trolley lanes and I can see why Mapquest dodged it–but it was actually also the most direct route towards exactly where I wanted to go. Finally allowed to turn left? Right where I wanted to.

And wonder of wonders, despite a hugely popular park nearby on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, there was an actual parking place a half block up the street from the store. I was so surprised and still so ready to bail for fear of a long walk in sun exposure that I missed it and had to circle the block.

It was still open.

Well, then. Clearly it was meant to be.

I really really wanted to do baby knitting in Malabrigo softness.  And so with the help of Kurt at Imagiknit, I got to see (in person!) their superwash Sock in the Solis colorway that was on the very top shelf without even having to hold the tip of my cane while waving its curve hopefully around way up there in the air trying to snag skeins and scaring the bejeebers out of everyone around me.

There–that skein. That one’s perfect. No yellow splotches, just the greens and blues playing perfectly, that’s the one.  Malabrigo’s super soft superwash worsted-weight Rios yarn (it has a name now!) isn’t officially out till next month–the baby blanket I want to make is waiting for the day…

I talked to Karen. She won’t mind if I do a little superwash knitting first. I’ve got a good excuse.

And so I’ve got a soft Malabrigo hat going on tiny needles for my grandson (and yes, Mari, you’re right, the Saartjes booties to match it are the only way to go.)

It and he are nearly halfway here so far.

Life encircles us in its arms
Friday August 13th 2010, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I watched the warm glow that came over her as she said it: “Elaine would be so pleased.”

Indeed she would.  And we both knew we both felt Elaine knew as well as we did.

Jean and I were talking Tuesday evening when I told her the news.

It was while I was in Washington DC for my 20th high school reunion that my friend Conway, my uncle’s friend too from WWII, had another heart attack, this time at the swim therapy pool where, on a normal day, he and I would have been chatting together as we exercised.

Someone called his wife Elaine.  The lifeguard did CPR.

Jean was their neighbor and old friend whose children had grown up with their children; she was home when she was struck with the sudden, intense feeling, Elaine needs me!

This was in ’97. There were no cellphones.

She got in her car and drove, first towards the pool, and then no, and turned the car towards Stanford Hospital. All on the strength of that feeling only.

And so it was that Elaine was coming out the door of the hospital at the very moment Jean was coming in to look for her. Conway’s flattened-out vital signs had kicked in briefly when his wife showed up–just long enough for her to feel he was trying to tell her goodbye.

The two women threw their arms around each other. Their children and grandchildren and all who love them will forever be grateful for that moment.

After his death, Elaine packed up and left the house they’d lived in for so long and moved to southern California to be closer to her sons; she passed away not long after.

One of her sons sent his daughter off to BYU, not many years later…

…Where she started going out with this tall kid from, it turned out, the town where her parents had grown up.

And when he mentioned her name to us (we assumed, rightly, that the very fact that he did meant that they were becoming seriously interested in each other) I said to him, not quite daring to think it might be so, Ask her if…

He called today with such a twinkle in his voice.  I’d been so sure it was going to be a girl.   Heh.  Ultrasound says it’s a boy, Mom.

Better go get out that superwash merino in blue after all.  And yes, this is an announcement: our first grandchild is coming. He will be the first grandson on both sides. He should arrive soon after the first of the year, and to tell you we are excited does not even begin to touch the unfathomable degree of love we feel for this new little person on the way.

Conway and Elaine must be so pleased.

And all and I mean all of Whoville sings, rejoicing
Thursday August 12th 2010, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Family,Wildlife

I got permission to post a picture of Rachel, my great-niece.

I took the damaged birdfeeder down yesterday and gave it a good cleaning and disinfecting and let it dry inside overnight.

What was amazing to me is how fast one of the black squirrels figured out, before I did, that it was open season–a couple of hours is all it took: the feeder cage wasn’t going to close down on it now.  Did it make a different sound now when the birds landed? Did it give slightly under their weight and now it didn’t? Did the squirrel remember the short time awhile back when I put it together wrong and they could get at it and what it sounded/looked like then?  I don’t know. But clearly, it had been looking forward to this for a long time and I had made its day. Forget those nuts over there–I’m going in!

Nope. Sorry. Mine.

What made me laugh later was, after thinking how smart the one was for figuring it out so fast, how dumb a sneaking gray one was for trying to gauge jumping distance from the forbidden pole (that they normally really do stay off of)–not quite noticing that, duh, dude, it’s.not.there.now. If your friend takes a flying leap, does that mean you have to take a flying leap? Huh? Huh?

Off to the shop.  They replaced the inner tube, it was under warranty, all taken care of, good to go.  Got it home, set it back in its spot, filled it up, walked in the other room, walked back, and it was–well, let’s just say I was no longer the bad Finch who stole Christmas. *Nah-voo dore-ace to you too, guys.

Meantime, I got some knitting done at Purlescence tonight and my hands were doing okay–I tell you, it feels good to be back in the land of the knitting.


*Richard thinks it’s ah-voo dor-ace. Michelle thinks we’re both not quite right. Wikipedia was no help, but I did find the theme song singing here.

Pushy little guys
Wednesday August 11th 2010, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

(This was a nice even circle.  The squirrels are at it again.)

The ancient mystery is revealed. They worked for peanuts and yet accomplished so much. Tourists now flock to the site to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World:


Had that coming
Tuesday August 10th 2010, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Life

You know? There was a time when we’d been married about a year when we were moving out of an apartment that had landlords who were infamous for treating their tenants poorly. The chances of getting our cleaning deposit back were not high, no matter what condition we left the place in, but we were dirt-poor students who needed what was our money anyway.

Which is how (I think Richard was taking exams) I came to be scrubbing down the place all day on a ferociously hot day with a deadline right on my heels: the electricity was going to be shut off at 5 pm and the utility account switched over to our new apartment in town.

There were outside doors in opposite directions and I had them both open in hopes of getting some kind of breeze going through there as I mopped and swiped and cleaned the tops of doorframes standing on a chair, and on and on.

Everybody in that apartment complex was like us: young, newly married, and students or grad students at BYU. Or had been: a plump woman my mother’s age appeared in my doorway, looking into my kitchen and at me halfway across the place, and asked me, Oh! Are you the cleaning lady? I’m moving in today and thisthisthisandthis were not properly done in my apartment and I’d like you to take care of those now and

And she just went on and on, ignoring my efforts to go Yo! No! I’m not! Sorry, but!  By the time I finally got that through to her, I knew her name, where she was from, her recent divorce, the fact that her kids were all grown, when all I wanted was simply to be left alone doing my thankless-enough task, knowing the landlord would probably stiff us anyway–we were friends with the managers, three sets in one year, two gone because of those owners and the third set trying to make them honor their contract.

She seemed okay with finding out I wasn’t the maid after all, probably glad just to have someone to talk to, but I was young and dumb and my frustrations were such that I truly never wanted to see her again. (The landlords didn’t have faces. She did.)

We went to church on Sunday.

Guess who was there.

One of the leaders at church met her, she being new, and knowing nothing at all of any of that, called me on the phone the next day and asked me if I would go visit this new woman on a regular basis as her Visiting Teacher.

Inwardly, I winced and guffawed all at once–okay, G_d, I hear you. You’re trying to set me straight here, and yeah, I guess I needed that; but, really, do I have to?

I had to.

And you know? We were different generations with different experiences and I tended to feel like just a kid around her at first, but by visiting with her we came around to actually being good friends, one I was sorry to move away from a year later–which would never have happened, I would never have spoken to her again, had not that Relief Society president asked me to do that.  I totally would have missed out. And so would she have, for that matter.

I thought of that today when, for the first time ever–today of all days–my Squirrelbuster birdfeeder refused to do the little bouncy bounce I always give it after screwing the lid back on. Darn thing jammed.  For no reason I could figure out.

Richard looked it over when he got home and said the rubber linings around the seed openings were coming loose.  He would see what he could do once it’s empty, but since I didn’t want to pour all that seed I’d just put in there onto the ground for the squirrels (and I’m sure not going to tell them it’s free for the grabbing up there right now, presently the thing won’t close under their weight like it’s supposed to…)

Yeah, you got it. A cosmic message of, Make peace. Even if we do succeed in fixing it ourselves and don’t have to take it to where that clerk might be on duty when I ask about the lifetime warranty on that thing.

But it just might be the rubber makes me hit the road and I’ll have to make that 50-minute round trip again for the sake of perhaps not just the feeder.

And you know? I think it would prove a very good thing. I’m ready.

Somewhere, a woman thirty years older than me would be smiling…

Eight Nine Ten
Monday August 09th 2010, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Amaryllis,Life,Wildlife

Ya gotta love a date like that. The lazy days of summer… An amaryllis opening up four months early or eight months late, whatever, just because today seemed a good day for it.  A twined-twinned-stemmed avocado plant,  two  for the price of sprouting one.

My arthritis has been flaring for the first time in a long time–too much sun, I guess, and some heavy lifting I shouldn’t have done–and I knit one row today and stopped for fear of doing damage.  Ice and (I hope) tomorrow for that.  But I got day-t0-day stuff done that needed doing, watched the squirrel watching the day, and all the while you could almost see that flower opening up; it looked like the bud above it, this morning.

And I went off to buy birdseed to take good care of my flock.

Where I encountered someone I’ve seen just a few times who, when I said, with no previous conversation, that I’d like the patio mix and the sunflowers, expecting her to ring those up too, tried to tell me, rather tersely, that those three and a half inch square suet cakes I had at the counter were not my 20 pound bags of birdseed.

Wait, come again?

Yeah, that confused me as much as it does you.  What on earth?! I smiled sweetly and said, Yes, I have a suet holder. I feed lots of birds. (I didn’t add, a suet holder plus three kinds of birdfeeders and a giant sugar pine cone the chickadees love to dance on and I have nuttall’s woodpeckers–a male today at last, so there’s a pair now!  And juncos and titmice and house finches and goldfinches and Bewick’s wrens and pine siskins and bluejays and  chestnut-backed chickadees despite being at the edge of their range and drab California towhees that let you in on the secret by seeing they really do have a lot going on when they’re up close and a brightly-colored Eastern towhee going neener neener at its cousins and mourning doves and the occasional brown-headed cowbird that had taken over the bedroom and the fridge at some other bird family’s nest and a yellow warbler and what am I forgetting here, bright erratic hummingbirds, the Cooper’s hawk and a red-tailed hawk, the brief lamented budgie, the Golden Eagle next door–and then a mockingbird, the day after our trip last week, finally showing up on the porch for the first time after all this time to stand there staring me down from right there at the other side of the glass to demand, So where are MY favorites?  And so I’d read the packages and had picked out two suet cakes this time, one, my usual, and one that had dried mealworms in it. Mockingbird? You’re welcome.)

If I can’t be outside, bring the outside to me.

If only I understood why on earth she seemed put out, still, that I was buying that suet.  Huh.  Here, hon, I wanted to tell her, maybe you need to learn to knit. Maybe some feathery lacy patterns would be just the thing.

Or to take some time watching a black squirrel happily birdwatching on a perfect 72 degree Bay Area day.  Eight, nine, ten… And that’s just the ones on the feeders.

(I really needed some knitting time afterwards to bring things back to normal, a book wasn’t enough. I may just push my hands into it tomorrow anyway and maybe it’ll even help them recover.)

Flower and sugar
Sunday August 08th 2010, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

I forgot to add on yesterday’s post: at one point we were in an area of Foothill Park where there was a wide expanse of grass. They decided it might be a good place to let the baby out to run off some energy. I stayed in the car, out of the sun, reading the newspaper, Richard staying too to keep me company; not ideal but it worked. I did mention to them before they got out the rattlesnake we’d seen once over there by the trees, which had a creek hidden behind; umm, might not want to go that far.  Mountain lion country too.  Open is better.

Oh, okay, good to know!

Rachel, however, plunked right down in that grass where they put her and sat playing in great delight with the tiny flowers she found growing there.

Well, hey, that works, they decided.

My niece the flower child. I love it.

In the meantime…

Michelle, who is always looking for a good dairy-free recipe, made rice krispies treats today to take to some friends, leaving some for us.  It brought back memories that I don’t think I’d told her before: my little sister and my dad and I went on a visit to his widowed mother’s in Walnut Creek, California, the summer I was 16 and Anne turned 15. In happy anticipation of our arrival, Grandmother had made a big pan of those for us.

This was the grandmother who lived across the continent from us in an age when both planes and long-distance phone calls were monopoly-owned and hideously expensive. We didn’t get to see or talk to her often, and though I loved her, I didn’t know her well.

I hadn’t had those in ages. To me, it seemed like a little kid’s treat from way back in my childhood: so sugary. So sticky.  So not-Adelle Davis-healthy.  (Davis began the health food movement in the ’50’s and ’60’s; running and checking, my copy of her Let’s Eat Right says 1947.)

I’d been baking a lot of cookies and bread in my mom’s kitchen for awhile by then, often grinding my own wheat for the bread especially, and like a lot of teenagers, thought rather highly of my own skills–and I’d been raised by a mom who thought desserts should be a last chance to get good nutrition into her kids: she would make fruit pies, blueberry cakes, (that was a collective swoon you just heard from all my siblings) Davis’s wheat germ and powdered milk “Butterscotch Brownies” with, ahem, not the slightest hint of chocolate… (I still love them. My friends thought they were the weirdest ever, and probably still would, and they were, and I still do.) Mom’s pear-and-lime pie creation won an award once.

At least with popcorn you get a little fiber, and one year for a birthday cake I got, at my request, a great big tube-pan-shaped popcorn ball for slicing onto your plate. Dyed in green food coloring. I wanted different and I wanted green and by golly I got it and the sense of triumph that my mom had actually created that for me is one of the delights of my childhood.

If it was rice krispies and not popcorn, set me straight, Mom, but my memory is it was popcorn and that the popcorn came out tough, but oh well–it was green! And unique!

Can you say contemporary-art-dealer’s daughter?

Empty-puffs cereal, butter, and melted marshmallows. And yet. Grandmother had made those treats just for us, and I had enough sense to be touched by that and enough of a kid’s craving for sugar to enjoy them.  And so I let myself rediscover rice krispies treats. It wasn’t till writing this just now that I realized how much of an effort it must have been for her to stand and stir that sticky mixture on the stove–Grandmother had rheumatoid arthritis! I don’t make them, so I just never saw clearly before the effort it must have taken her.  (Man, am I slow.)  She was trying so hard to create good memories for us. And she did. Oh, she did.

I did not know it was the last time I would ever see my Grandmother Jeppson.

I told Michelle she’d made my grandmother’s treat and that it had brought back all these memories. She was delighted.

And I ate some of Michelle’s, too. Because I love her, too. (Adding chocolate chips–‘Shelle, you are SO my daughter!)

Being a great aunt
Saturday August 07th 2010, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Family

I got some adorable shots of my niece and her husband and 12-month-old Rachel–but I forgot to ask if I could post any. Diana, your felted turtle was Rachel’s instant favorite: it was bright, it was colorful, it was soft, it was snuggleable.  And it is now back in the toy basket on the hearth wishing for Rachel.

They all enjoyed watching my little flock just outside the glass and the parents thought out loud about getting their own birdfeeder. I quite wish I’d had one when my kids were little, like my parents had had; there’s so much to observe and learn and hold in wonder out there, just waiting to be noticed and cared for, to be seen.

We packed a lot into one day: talking, eating, the Rodin sculpture garden at Stanford University, a trip into the foothills, stopping at an overlook with a view of nearly the entire peninsula with San Francisco lost only to the fog in the far distance… Raptors reaching their wings out in the updraft overhead… Gorgeous.

And then dinner out. A toddler, an old man of about two or so, playing peekaboo with her and flirting shamelessly from the next table.  Directions back to the freeway, hugs goodbye, and a little girl trying to get this waving bye bye thing down pat, rocking her hand slowly side to side, side to side, and then both hands, grinning bigger and bigger to match the motions.

A day far too short. It was wonderful!

p.s. Oh, and–not only did Laura know exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned that smocked dress from two dozen years ago, her mom had saved it for her and she loves it and has it for Rachel now; I was very, very gratified to hear it.  Thank you, Carolyn!

A very niece idea
Friday August 06th 2010, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Family

My older sister and I had our second daughters a week apart from each other. I made them matching smocked dresses–and I still know right where Michelle’s is.

Laura is coming tomorrow with her husband and baby daughter, who would be about the right size now for one of those dresses. (I have no idea if my sister kept hers all these years. White with green pinstripes and green embroidery if you’re remembering it, Carolyn.)  I haven’t seen Laura since she was a young teenager, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to see them tomorrow!

Face-book’em, Danno
Thursday August 05th 2010, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Politics

I wrote a post. I’m still thinking about it.  (Moral of the story: never, ever comment on a politician’s FB page; there, it is not a family discussion.)

Learned my lesson.

(The sound you just heard was my entire extended family snorting in disbelief.)

(p.s. Yeah, I went back and deleted that comment.  There is, literally, no point.)

That animal is ticked off
Wednesday August 04th 2010, 11:24 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

Several times I saw small groups of the most striking black-and-white bird in Utah, all dressed up and formal in  tux and tail (a really long tail!) and I knew that I should know what it was but couldn’t remember. I wished for my new Sibley books.

Curious.  I wonder if the people working on Lyme disease know about magpies eating the ticks right off the deer and moose?

Cabin fever
Tuesday August 03rd 2010, 6:48 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I can finally show some pictures of what I’ve been talking about. Here’s what the elk looks like as you come up the stairs. There’s a game room (ain’t that the truth) up there, and glaring across the room is this moose, held forever in the velvet-antler stage. And then in the bedroom to the right is this nice little cat that got its tail dunked in the Die! pot.

Yeah. All friendly-like.

Downstairs was my motivation for learning that black bears shed their paws in the spring as they grow new ones; this one, and being so thin, too, seems to have been caught right at that point–here, let’s do a closeup. And yes, that snowman in the background is–well, the place was full of kitsch like that, plush and resin snowmen in winter garb with cheerful sayings everywhere. One of my children described it all as painfully rustic.

I looked up at the pointy tips on the antlers on that elk and had the Californian thought, I do not want to be here in an earthquake.

Now, my grandparents bought a small, cozy A-frame cabin up by Brighton ski resort near Salt Lake City maybe 60 years ago or more. I remember seeing it as a kid and being gobsmacked at being told why the wrought-iron rails around the patio above the creek swooped down in scallops like that: it was from the weight of the snow up there. Wow.  I tried to understand how snow could possibly bend metal (well, no, actually, first I had to argue that it was unreasonable to expect me to believe that and that it wasn’t possible.)  I learned what stinging nettles were–and the butterflies! So many butterflies!

We kids were not to splash in that rocky creek: the local drinking water was taken straight from it. We could, though, touch it briefly to see just how cold the newly-melted snow was in the middle of July or August. And the chipmunks! Adorable. And if memory serves, ground squirrels too.  We would feed them peanuts from that small patio.

There was a mounted antlered deerhead that came with the place when my grandparents bought it, across the small room from the fireplace. I remember being eight years old and asking about it and my grandmother kind of shrugging her shoulders, conveying the impression that it was not to her taste but it had been there for many years before them and they had let it stay.

At the cabin (pictured) for last week’s family reunion on my husband’s side, a chipmunk found its way onto the highest wooden porch up there at the one point at the front where it’s near ground level, but the poor thing found itself surrounded by humans near where the person in the red shirt is sitting and the only thing it had to duck under for safety was the bottom of that railing–with a view straight down and no way out.  It kept putting its nose over the edge, checking.  No can do. Yikes!

It brought back so many memories. It was so cute.  I managed to gently, gradually herd it back towards safety. To that side of the house, now turn left, that’s right, little one, go away from me, thataway, get away from all those people, keep going, alright.  There you go. Home free.

Later, at my uncle’s house on Sunday, my daughters mentioned the taxidermied excess where we’d stayed and my cousin grinned and decided to tell a story on her brother.

Now, my husband and I have our skunk story, which we gleefully told her.

Bob had asked if he could borrow the grandparents’ cabin for his honeymoon. I imagine other relatives were discreetly told in no uncertain terms not to show up there unannounced.

So. He and his new bride were snuggling in front of the fireplace, the fire snapping and crackling just past the stony hearth. Summer or no, it’s often cold enough at night up there for it, I can tell you from experience.  The outside would have been very dark in the brisk mountain air, the fire very bright in contrast. They were together at last in their own new world, away and alone at last from all else.

In all its decades there had never been any sign of trouble with the thing. But suddenly that mounted trophy came crashing smashing down behind them unannounced.

Oh deer.

Home in plane sight
Monday August 02nd 2010, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Family

Finally home.  Had a great visit with my parents after the reunion on my husband’s side was over and we got to go to a get-together at my uncle’s.  Too tired to think straight. But the birdfeeder is full again, the tomato plant survived our absence (it’s in a pot) and I’m going to un-load on you a little to say we’ve started the great laundry catch-up.

Now for my own bed to go collapse into.

(Oh, and, I have access to my mail again. Um, let’s say tomorrow.)

Sunday August 01st 2010, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

Imagine looking at a Claude Monet painting up very close, or any other pointilist painter’s, examining all those tiny dots that make up the picture.

Now imagine those dots are all shades of green/graygreen and they’re all moving, constantly moving, shimmering gently in the mountain breeze, countless thousands of individual hanging circles amidst the whole of the trees. Those are the aspens. It was gorgeous up there. We were at a cabin in the Utah mountains at 7950 feet. (Thank you GPS unit!)

I had a good case of altitude sickness–every morning I started to pass out, every single day I got offered to bail if I needed it, but I just didn’t want to miss anything. I googled: if the headache doesn’t respond to the analgesic, get off that mountain! Oh. Okay, then. I could stay.  (Somewhat… But I stayed.)

For the record, I knit really really slowly on low oxygen. On the other hand, what I knitted was done and didn’t have to be done again.

And who knew when we might get to all be together like that again. As I told one nephew, I would have loved more one-on-one moments and it was all so short, but on the other hand, it was better than a wedding for that.

My sister-in-law made her trademark decadent fudge sauce and some brownies and got some ice cream to  go with them for our last night there. Celebrate!  When everyone had been served, there was just a bit left in the pan–you can’t throw away that good stuff, you just can’t. It’s chocolate! I scraped out as much as I could onto the large serving spoon and went looking for someone with a little ice cream left.

I spotted a nephew, a young adult. A victim. I asked him.

Sure! he grinned.

Then instead of trying to pour the mostly-solid-by-then chocolate into his bowl, I simply put the spoon in his bowl; we’re talking a large mound of chocolate over a very small lump of mostly melted ice cream here.

Just then my son came up from behind, having  spotted that spoon in my hand a moment before–but it was gone now.

My nephew grinned up at his cousin and in a singsongy neener neener voice declared, “Your mom loves me more than youuuuu!”

We laughed so hard. SO hard.

And I would have missed that and so would they have.

I’m so glad I stayed!