The Gold Dress

I bought a gold, sequined dress and sky high heels for our anniversary three years ago.  We went to Vegas, had a fabulous time, and took one of my favorite photos of us–tipsy and happy in our beautiful hotel room after one of the best nights out we’d ever had.  Six months later and three months pregnant, I packed that dress away feeling fairly sure I would never wear it again, but still loving it too much to let it go.

Carl graduated, we sold my truck, I had a baby, and our next anniversary we spent apart while he started a new job in a new world.

We moved across the country, bought a house and an SUV, and spent our next anniversary together but pretty low-key as we were still learning the area and I was still afraid to try on most of my pre-baby clothes.

We built stalls and fencing and moved our horses. Our pipes to the barn froze and we spent a whole winter hauling buckets of water from the house, and when spring came, we started major renovations on our home. Then it was our anniversary again, and wouldn’t you know it?  That gold dress and those sky high heels fit like a dream.  : )

We didn’t go to Vegas, but fireflies and stars will always hold more glitter and shine for me than any city lights.  There was no expensive hotel room, but I sang my daughter to sleep while she ran her finger over my red lipstick and tried to put it on her own lips.  And when she was out, I turned on the monitor, slipped back outside, and danced by the fire, whiskey in hand, with my man thinking to myself that I’ve never had so much to celebrate.

I love you, Lew.  Thank you for everything.  : )

Gold dress

Spring 2017: The Flurry

Spring came late that year.  It was still bitter cold and snowing in late March.  The family had been making regular visits after that first and every time she heard them coming up the walk, she hoped that maybe, just maybe, that day would be the day they stayed.  In the meantime, she treasured each moment they spent with her, mostly sitting in the kitchen together, talking quietly, and dreaming their dreams.

She began to file away the feeling and sounds of their lives–the slight weight of the baby (it was a girl!) when they laid her in her little bed to nap, the old dogs turning their circles to lay down after running around outside awhile, the woman’s soft voice murmuring about ocean colors, and the firm step of the man checking this or that.  She didn’t want to waste any opportunity to know them better, if they were going to be hers, and it would seem that they were . . . (She was still sometimes struck with terrible bouts of anxiety that they would not come back and she would be alone again, uncertain of her fate.).

One night, shortly after they arrived for an early evening visit, she felt a slight tug and heard a pinging sound.  It was coming from the window over the kitchen sink . . . with no further warning, she felt the last of the day’s sunlight flood in, pure and bright, pouring onto her counter tops, her walls, and her floor!  Oh, to be touched by the sun again!  It had been years since the plastic was stapled there, to keep the heat in through cold winters and to keep the heat out through hot summers.  She appreciated it, since there was no one inside to look after her, it offered some protection from the elements and changing seasons, but it was also terribly suffocating.

She had heard the phrase, the eyes are the windows to the soul many times in her life and had decided, in turn that her windows were the “eyes” to her soul.  A house could not see, of course that would be silly, but through her windows, she could feel the sunlight warming her everywhere it fell, no matter how cold it was outside; when they were opened she could feel fresh breezes and hear the birds and the people outside; and with the plastic gone, her body was filled with light–just as it was meant to be.

Windows were also a point of pride.  At her birth, she’d had only three, but after a few updates and additions somewhere in her first hundred or so years she was blessed with forty two!  And every last one of them had the shade pulled down and thick plastic stapled over it.  Well, every one but the one over the kitchen sink, that is . . . if she could have sighed, she would have, it felt so lovely.

That was how it began–The Flurry, as she would later think of it.  They peeled the plastic off that one window and watched the sun set, then began bringing in bags and setting them in the pantry.  They pulled up the old carpet in the living room, they scrubbed the sinks, counter tops, and the cupboards, and when they left late that night, she gleefully noted that they did not take any of the bags with them.

Over the following days, more and more boxes would come, they brought friends and proudly showed her off, they vacuumed and they bleached, they drug out the old kitchen shelves that the mice had ruined, and the man came one night by himself and stayed very late painting the living room floor.   The day after the floor-painting, they didn’t come in the morning or in the afternoon and as the day wore on, she found herself afraid again, even after all of their cleaning and care, even as she held boxes and boxes of their things.  It is hard for an old house, one that has held and loved so many over the years, to be alone.

That particular day was sometime early-spring, though she couldn’t have given an exact date for houses do not mark such things.  The last of the winter snow still lingered, but the sun had been staying longer and longer, and she was lost in her fretful thoughts when she felt the key wiggle in the deadbolt. She could tell by their shuffling steps that they were tired.  Moving quietly, they placed the baby in her little bed in the downstairs bedroom, brushed their teeth, made their way to their bed (which they’d set up in the living room of all places!) . . . and went to sleep.  It was the night she’d dreamed of for so long and she spent the whole of it listening to the sounds of their soft and steady breathing and dreaming dreams of her own.

That night would have been the highlight of her year if it weren’t for a few weeks later when she felt a small and strange thump, thump, thump, WUMP in the kitchen followed by the woman’s squeal of delight.  It had been so long since she felt such a thing, she didn’t recognize it for what it was until the woman spoke.  “Oh honey!  You did it! My sweet Sunshine, papa is going to be so excited!”

The baby had taken her very first steps: three of them!  Thump, thump, thump!  Before falling on her bottom with a WUMP!  A house cannot cry, and that is good, because she would have absolutely flooded herself so moved was she by the feeling of those tiny feet and the sweet sound of a mother’s joy.

The Flurry continued all through spring; furniture and appliances came, electrical and some plumbing were updated, old shelves were torn down and new ones put up in their place and it was glorious.  After spending years wondering if she would molder right back into the earth from whence she came, she delighted in all the activity . . . but it was just a touch more than delight.

That spring, the perfect season for such a change, her dread and loneliness were replaced with joy and the bright energy of a new beginning.  As they moved in, placing all of their possessions along with themselves in her care, she felt her sense of purpose swell, filling every dusty corner of her being.  And at the rate they were cleaning, soon there wouldn’t be any dusty corners at all!

Despite her age and current state of disrepair, she took great pride in the fact that even after hundreds of years, she still stood strong under and around them.  She may have lost much of her outer beauty to peeling wallpaper, chipping paint, worn out floors, and broken windows, but inside she was as sturdy as the day she was made–with wood hewn from the forest she stood beside, hand-forged and driven nails, and horsehair plaster.

After so long standing empty, she felt deeply the precious weight of their life–something only a house could truly grasp.  And knowing, as she did, how quickly lives came and went, it was a gift she meant to cherish.IMG_4195

Your Daddy

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He is a strong hand to hold when you’re nervous.

A flip in the air that makes mama nervous.

He is crooked diapers and all the best snacks,

adventures at the hardware store,

and getting to swing a real hammer instead of  just your plastic one.

He is books read in the funniest voices

and silly sounds whenever you touch his face.

He is your rescuer when you cry in the middle of the night

and tucks you back in when all is well again.

He is tall towers made of just about anything that will stack,

broad shoulders that never seem to tire,

and big bounces on your little trampoline.

He is safety, confidence, fun, and big love.

He is yours forever:

your daddy.

 

 

 

A List is all I have in Me

  1. The last time I felt this tired, it was due to a life-threatening, medical condition.  Motherhood and loving horses are not for the faint of heart!
  2. Nothing went as I planned when I planned this trip.  I thought it would be too long, and yet I find myself scrambling.
  3. I am so afraid for my horses–moving like jellyfish in the ocean of my life, at the mercy of currents they cannot control.
  4. Tris put his two front feet in the trailer of his own accord for the first time in the fifteen years I’ve known him and I cried.
  5. The first time my sweet Sunshine rode a horse, it was in the same driveway where I first rode a horse when I was three years old.  Best of all, my dad was there to watch and help, just as he watched and helped me nearly thirty years ago.  Tristan was every bit as good to her as Missy was to a very little me.  : )
  6. I am looking forward to a long, dark, quiet winter full of coffee, momming, writing, coffee, knitting, horses, coffee, dogs, and more snowy, northeast adventures.
  7. I have so much more to write it’s silly, but not one more millimeter of head or heart space to give to words until my horses are safely on the other side of their incredible journey.  Please keep them in your thoughts, by early October we should all be safely together again where we belong.  : )

My Heart is Full . . .

and so is my dirty laundry basket, but I’m going to continue ignoring it for just one more nap time so I can get a post written.  : )

My parents were here for two, magical weeks and after saying goodbye and safe travels I walked through the airport ugly crying while strangers politely looked away.  We are making a home here in Massachusetts and have been luckier than I could have imagined in finding the most wonderful neighbors and friends, but there’s just something about having your mom and dad around that takes home to a different level.
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While they were here, my mom cleaned everything (meaning everything is now cleaner than I will ever be able to make anything in my entire life), my dad sanded the crib (a project I desperately wanted done, but was likely never going to actually do in time for my sweet Sunshine to sleep in it again), I got the pantry table primed and painted (there are many mistakes but I am ridiculously proud of my handiwork!), and I got the changing table/dresser primed.  We also ate a lot of food, talked until our voices went hoarse, laughed like hyenas, and drank a number of mimosas (what number, I’m not exactly sure, our counting got a bit iffy.)  Needless to say, I was not ready to see them go and I cannot wait to see them again.

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In the midst of that visit, my little love and I jetted down to Pensacola and spent a couple (literally two) days on the beach with a few of her namesakes.  That little stretch of the Gulf is, without question, my favorite slice of water on this earth.  My dad grew up in that area and we’ve been going back to spend time with family in beach houses there since I can remember.   I have no accurate description for how good it felt to watch her love and be loved by the people I love most or how happy it made me when she grabbed my finger and walked straight into the Gulf like they were old friends.  So I’ll just leave it at that.  : )
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Now, we are facing the monumental task (which is actually what feels like 10,000 smaller tasks that equal the one, big one) of getting my horses from Idaho to Massachusetts.  I’m worried about everything.  I’m worried about getting the barn ready.  I’m worried about putting them in a barn when two of the three of them have never really had that experience.  I’m worried about the trip and how they’ll handle it physically.  I’m worried about getting a good enough fence up.  I’m worried about getting water to the barn in a way that it won’t burst pipes during the long, cold winters and I’m worried about what will happen when (not if, mind you, but when) Tristan somehow escapes (as he has from EVERY SINGLE ENCLOSURE we have ever put him in).  I’m just plain worried.

Yet again, in the midst of all my fears, we are surrounded by incredible people.  The neighbors have all offered to help and rustled up people they know to help us as well.  Our friend Doug flew in from Oregon this week to help us out.  And, I’ve recruited two of my closest horse-girl posse to help me figure out how in the heck I’m going to get them from point A to point B as safely, happily, and inexpensively as possible.  Bottom line: I could not do this alone and I count myself beyond blessed that I don’t even have to try.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love my friends and family?  Probably not, because I don’t have words for that either.  <3<3<3
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So that’s what July-September are all about: horses, horses, horses!  I’ll do my best to keep sharing updates about what we find in the barn and how progress is going.  As always, wish us luck!  We have a long way to go and a short time to get there.  : )