It is official, I am getting wiser by the day. My sweet mother started going grey at 18, today, at 42 she is all salt and pepper, it is gorgeous. What a wonderful gift to bring her this weekend on our trip home, a little physical reminder of our bond, and my taking after her. Usually we take the Amtrak, because of my love for public transportation, and our smallsmobile (our charming honda crv from the 90s) has a few wonky things going on, so I'm not cool driving it on the highway. When Julian was only a few months old the train was great, he slept most of the time, while I either read a book or knit a little treasure. Now that he is older it is pretty hit or miss, either he totally content with looking out the window, sitting in my lap, eating snacks and reading books OR he is a total hellion, and runs up and down the train and tries to stand in the vestibule, while screaming at the top of his lungs. Thankfully, my friend Jacob was willing to take the trip with us and we got to drive! It was so convenient, the evidence of my delight is clear in my extremely genuine smile. I never smile in photos, so this is a big deal.
Julian totally looks like he's about to drop the f bomb. Excuse his potential french.
For the most part the weekend was refreshing, it is always nice to spend time with the friends you have had since you were young, hearing the newest blessings in their lives and sharing yours. There is a sense of informality and silent camaraderie that fills my heart. My friend Susan is especially refreshing to me, she has seen me at my worst moments, and still loves me, cares deeply and listens intently when I share with her my struggles, passing no judgement, encouraging with simple gestures that speak more than her words ever could. I want to learn to listen the way she does.
While I was home I as able to attend the wedding shower for two of my oldest friends, Shane and Chelsea, who have been dating since they were about 16. High school sweethearts always make me especially emotional. The shower was nice, although, they are always a bit peculiar for me, I feel bad for the poor couple having to open such intimate gifts in front of so many people. These are the things they will be using to build their lives together, its not just a bakeware set, this is what she will use to make them a warm dinner after a long, cold Michigan winter day, this frame will hold photos of moments they want to remember, perhaps even photos of the children they will have, these sheets will indefinitely be used to drape naked bodies, unashamed. I do understand though, that it is a celebration, and indeed, marriage is something worth celebrating.
There are a lot of things that we received at our wedding shower that were never used, or we had multiples of. I wanted to offer them something that was a practical but thoughtful at the same time. In the end, I came up with a basket of pantry staples, an introduction of sorts, for a young wife, relatively new to the kitchen. I included my favorite vegetarian cookbook, considering Chelsea is also a vegetarian, and an array of practical organic spices like cumin and paprika, sweeteners, flours, and dried goods like lentils and quinoa, along with a few organic cotton dish cloths, knit just for her. I also added a few of the little things that make all the difference in a meal, but you don't want to have to add on to your grocery budget, like anise or lavender flowers, sunflower honey, spanish olive oil. I discovered the greatness of canning jars for storage and refrigerator use just recently, and my mom had a bunch laying around so I thought it would be best to jump start a collection for her. I would have liked to spray paint the tops so that she could use chalk to label them like this but I simply did not have time. I hope they enjoy many luxuriously long and delicious meals, reveling in each other's company.
Mamas kitchen window
The rest of the weekend was spent hearing Julian call my father "Paaaw" and watching him sign for "more cookies please", which is heart melting and adorable. My youngest brother, Collin, who is 12 just got his braces on, and the older one, Devon, 13, is now taller than my mother who is by no means short. Coming home to my mother's cooking is always humbling, I tell her about my latest ventures in curries and vegan deserts while she plops down a hearty and delicious serving of mashed potatoes with gravy, simple and too delicious. I eat it all, because it's how she says, " I love you" when she doesn't know I need to hear it. As much as I love indulging in her southern style of cooking, I always end up feeling, well, heavier by the time I leave. Such feelings call for things like peppermint tea, with leaves I picked from the garden. Have I told you how much I am loving having a garden?!
Peppermint Leaves + Hot Water = A soothed tummy.
Lovley and delicious.
X is for Xavier
I was also delighted to be met by this mind blowingly beautiful and inspiring collection of words and photographs, along with freshly steamed carpets, compliments of my sweet husband. So that was our weekend in a few words, it was lovely and needed. How was your weekend?