Friday, March 27, 2009

Family Photos and Validation of Love

Where does the time go? My youngest and her mutually adoring dad...

I came across this photo today (behind another more up-t0-date photo in a frame).... and realized this was THE ONE, THE PHOTO I had written about such a long time ago.
Just thought I'd share, I'm sure many of you parents can relate.

A Moment in Time

Once again the photograph was face down, on a table in the living room. The first, and even the second time, I thought maybe it had fallen when one of the kids ran by. Now it is apparent, my youngest has done this intentionally. This particular picture was taken several years ago, when my oldest was only two. It’s is a close up of her with her dad.

Photography is a wonderful hobby, a profession for some. But once children come into your life, taking photos becomes a way for all parents to secure precious moments for a lifetime. Most people, even those with no interest in photography, feel compelled to take photos of their newborn. There is an innate need to document this momentous occasion, the day your son or daughter is born.

Parents have dozens of snapshots of their children… from the moment they were born, until the most recent end of school party. You click away, always looking for that perfectly composed picture. Or at least, to capture the moment before it is gone.

When your first child is born you take photos attempting to preserve every new expression, you never want to forget these precious moments. You develop the film immediately and diligently arrange each picture, just so, in the photo album. Many parents also manage to have up-to-date snapshots, in little photo wallets that they always carry with them. As the baby grows and other children come along, days became busier. You still manage to document special moments -birthdays, holidays- you even manage to develop the film in a timely manner, but you never seem to get the photos into the album. Instead, these photos end up in a drawer, a bin, or a box, to be arranged at a later date.

Before you know it, daily after school activities keep you running from one lesson or sport to another. Most parents still take the pictures, but at this point in life, the film often sits in a drawer, to be developed when you have the time.

My youngest daughter clearly noticed there are no newly framed photos in our house. In her young mind, she felt left out, but at three years old she could not find the appropriate words to express her feelings. She chose to solve the problem herself, by turning the picture face down on the table whenever she saw it. If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

It took a few days before I realized what was happening. Once I did though, I promptly went searching through a bin of photos and found several of her. There were pictures of her alone, with her siblings, with me, with her father, and with her grandparents. I thoughtfully selected a photo of her with her dad and placed it, unframed for the time being, on the same table as the other picture.

Neither of us mentioned this new picture, but each day for a week, she quietly took the new photo of her and her dad, and placed it directly in front of the other one. It became a game that both of us were playing, without ever acknowledging it. At the end of each day I would separate the photos again. After several days of this I got around to buying a frame. For some reason that was all it took. Having a framed picture of her with her dad, prominently displayed, was enough. She hasn’t touched either picture since, she is content.

You have probably heard them over the years, the jokes, the comments from young adults, who were ‘the baby’ in their families: “I swear to God, there are no pictures of me anywhere” or “by the time I came along, my parents didn’t take pictures anymore”. This is not true, there are probably hundreds, or at least dozens, life just got a little too hectic. Organizing them in albums took a backseat to homework, baseball, soccer and dance…everyday life.

For most parents, there is at least some security in knowing there are photographs that have documented the milestones in their children’s lives. It really doesn’t matter, if these photos are organized or framed.

The day will surely come, when the house is ‘quiet’. That will be the time to sit and reminisce, mist-eyed for days gone by, as you arrange the beautiful, often funny, photos you have accumulated over the years. Remembering endearing expressions, now long gone, poignant moments captured forever…a family history in the making.

And from now on, I will always, have at least one photo of each of my children framed and displayed.. ~ August 2000

March 2009
Keeping in tune with the changing times we don't even store photos in bins anymore, nevermind an album. We have all digital photos stored online. And when I happen to think about it I copy them into my photobucket account as well... so these precious moments will always be with with us.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

After the New England Snow...

The Daffodils an Essay

Two ill-mannered teenagers didn’t realize the heartache they would cause. To them it was a game; snap the stems and hold the bouquet.

To the gardener who has been waiting through the sunless days of winter for the appearance of the first leaves and watching each day as they continue to grow…this simple, selfish action is disheartening.

The woman parked in my driveway, got out of her car and chased two girls through a backyard. A few moments later she came back, breathing heavily from running after the two girls. She was near tears and so angry. All the while, she apologized for using my driveway to park. She explained that the two girls had walked up to her doorstep and picked all of her daffodils. To some it may seem ridiculous to get upset about such a thing but I knew exactly how she felt, for any gardener would feel the same way.

After the cold gray days of winter, everyone looks forward to the beginning of spring. But to the gardener- this is a time of renewal. The emergence of green leaves from the little bulbs that were planted the previous fall is a time of excitement. Not many people look forward to planting bulbs, but the promise of beautiful blooms in the spring push us forward. So each fall we dig, in the earth that has begun to harden with the cooler temperatures. On our hands and knees, we prepare the soil, check the bulbs to make sure they are healthy, add some bulb food and refill the hole. As an extra precaution some go as far as sprinkling cayenne pepper on the patted down soil, in hopes that the squirrels will not dine on the bulbs…our future flowers. After mulching for winter protection, in essence, putting the garden to bed until spring, the wait begins.

Through the holidays not much thought is given to the garden but once the dull grayness of January descends upon us, and the bulb catalogs begin to arrive in the mail, the gardener’s mind begins to wander- to the bright, cheery days of spring.

At last, sometimes as early as mid March, the green of spring pokes through the ground. A daily inspection of the garden begins. In late March when the buds begin to form, the gardener cannot help but smile while passing by. By early April the first of several long awaited daffodils is in full bloom. This sight gives the gardener a renewed energy; thoughts form on the garden plan for the coming months. One after another, the buds open up to the sun and display their magical beauty.

One day, years from now, one of those girls may develop a love of gardening. If she remembers this incident, she may feel a tinge of regret, and only then will she understand how the woman felt that day in my driveway.

To some gardening is a chore, to others it is a profession, and to the faithful gardener it is therapeutic. Even after this incident, peace and solace will surely surround this woman in her garden. ~April 2000

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gardening and Cooking

At Footbridge Cove we have many interests that go beyond collectibles and antiquities...

Our typepad blog focuses on the shop and this blog will be more personal a way to share some ideas common interests and stories with others who may interested. The whole world ' blogs ' now it seems. I haven't written much, well at all, since October 2007 (more on that later). But Spring time in New England has a way of rejuvinating the soul. I am so excited at this point in my life (I've decided 44 is the age to be from here on) to live each day to it's fullest, savor each taste of a home cooked meal shared with those I love.

And I love love love to write so I thought ....well, the rest of the world is blogging, I shall too. I would love to get a blog group together. Not sure of how all this works but I am willing to learn as I go. I want to share ideas regarding gardening in my area - zone 6 - just south of Boston. I'd also like to share recipes and news ideas for healthy meals. So I shall do that here too. I may be writing a journal to myself if no one finds this blog, but that's therapeutic I guess.

I love Home efforts this year will be focused on growing a bountiful crop of produce (mainly a KITCHEN GARDEN: Tomatoes, Basil, etc)....for our multi-generational family. I love saying that, it sounds so old fashioned!

I'd love to start a message board here with tips from others in our area. Growing Zone 6.

PLEASE JOIN ME. Living like old the land, as best we can. Cutting back in many ways and finding great joy in doing so. A higher quality of life!

AND I LOVE COOKING... an art form in itself. The colorful dishes, bursts of flavor, the aroma's: nothing like walking thru the door to the smell of fresh baking bread. I hope to get the family involved creating healthy meals that even my toughest critics (three teens and my live in mom-in-law small feat!) My husband, an Irish-American 'meat and potatoes' type of guy is set in his ways, but he's always willing to try new entrees. And my oldest is also one to explore the unknown with new tastes. Great flavors, certainly healthy, but not too crunchy granola if I want to pull this off, meals for all to enjoy. I'm determined to convert them all.... by maximizing flavor and utilizing freshness of ingredients.