Ice Cream

Dear Augustine,

Tonight as I was talking to Aunt Audora on the phone, rehashing how her poor twin daughter was thrown-up on during her second day of kindergarten which required a complete hair washing by the school nurse, you came downstairs and told me you could not sleep. I told you it was late and with your father out of town and me scrubbing the floor, there really wasn’t anything I could do at the moment and please just try to close your eyes. Ten minutes later, this time I was cleaning the bathroom, you popped back down to tell me you were still wide awake (yes I know, you are standing right in front of me) and you think it has something to do with the “comfy-ness” factor of your bed. Moms all over the world internally roll their eyes upon hearing this type of language because we know there is absolutely nothing within our power to fix the comfy-ness factor of any bed of any 8 year old anywhere who can’t fall asleep.

I thought about how you usually stay up and talk star wars or baseball with Dad and how we had two galloons of ice cream in the freezer and so I suggested in a very nonchalant way that maybe a bowl of Aldi’s vanilla would help cure your horrible and unexpected insomnia.

“Oh yes mom, this is a great idea,” matching my calm and off handed tone. “The coldness of the ice cream will absolutely make me want to jump into my covers and fall asleep when I’m done!” And really, who can argue that?

And so I scooped us each a generous bowl of the good stuff, you looked at me very serious and said: “So, you do this every night??”

Your father always says in jest that every night after we put you all to bed, we come down stairs and throw a big party and eat as much ice cream as we want, and this statement is not entirely untrue. A lot of times while I’m folding laundry your dad will say, “want some ice cream?” and I’ll say, “oh no I’m fine”, and he will say “vanilla or cookies and cream?” and then he just scoops us both a small-ish, large-ish bowl. He’s always been the designated scooper and I have always been the  designated cleaner-upper. I’ve often times debated if this is a problem or just a habit (maybe both) but to answer your question: yes, we pretty much do this every night.

We ate our ice cream at the kitchen table and talked about the ginormous yellow spider you found today and identified as a Venusta Orchard . You recounted how it’s web was hanging in the milkweed that is growing adjacent to the creek and how you almost walked right into the yellow and black creature while showing me the way the water has found a new path around your damn. You were very animated as you spoke with your hands just like your father and all the other northern Italians that I know.

We talked about golf and how grandpa was a real famous golfer and how his pictures are in newspapers and magazines and isn’t that amazing? You asked me if I ever wanted to be anything else, besides a nurse, when I was growing up and so I told you I spent my first year away at college studying to become an English teacher . I was about to tell you I switched to nursing before I was able to learn about run-on sentences and proper placement of punctuation, but you interrupted me and asked, “what’s an English teacher?”  And then I quickly wrote myself a note to order more homeschooling grammar books on amazon prime tomorrow.

After you licked your bowl clean and slowly swallowed the last creamy vanilla drops you stopped and hesitated for a brief moment before saying:

“Hey mom, I really feel like I want some pretzels.”

And in that moment, it was never more evident that you were my son.

You see Auggie, before your Dad and I go to bed, but after I put our ice cream party bowls in the sink, I almost always grab a handful of pretzels…because you absolutely cannot have the sweet without the salty.

And this is just one of the many truths of life.

xoxoxoxo ,

Mom

 

 

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To the six children sleeping upstairs

To the six children sleeping upstairs in the one large room, late in the month of august 2017,

                Your father asked me the other day why I had abandoned the blog I was so eager to start back at the beginning of summer. I told him I felt like I could not find my blogging niche, “all the real bloggers have some unbelievable talent to share,” I said. “There are the mother/chefs , the mother/photographers, the mother/artists, the mother/decorators, the mother/stylists, the mother/athletes, the mother/authors , the mother/homesteaders on 0.5 acres of land feeding entire cities” I lamented. “I feel more like the jack of all trades/master of none.”

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  Your father is a very optimistic man, very patient, very encouraging. We compliment each other well: he sees the glass half full, I see the glass completely empty about to break at a moments notice into a million sharp pieces of glass.  In a heroic act of lifting up his emotional distraught, needs to fold 10 loads of laundry, there’s no more ice cream left in the house, will we ever be able to afford air conditioning, are you absolutely positive there is no more ice cream left? pity party, he told me that my motherhood was my gift and that this gift was my niche.

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He said, “ just tell your story.”

So here I am, writing to the only audience that will ever really matter without worry or thought of curating these words to fit a certain voice. I will write our story in between all of the meals, laundry and muddy boots that perpetually smell like creek water. I will write our story in between kissing the chin(s) and neck of our sweet baby Faustina who is always drooling and therefore always undeniable but also irresistibly stinky. I will write our story after I chase our chubby legged, chubby bellied, cubby cheeked, curly headed Emmy Jo, never a cuter two year old in all the land. I will write our story after I hug and kiss sweet Pippy girl, the biggest joy bursting out of the smallest package. I will write our story after the blue green eyes of Gigi sparkle in synch with her toothy five year old grin. I will write our story after my strong willed Adelina explains again why something isn’t right and how she is determined to fix it. After I sit and talk about the “unusual and very interesting” water bug pulled out of the creek and now sitting on my once clean kitchen island, only boy surrounded by five girls, God Bless you now and always and especially when they all are teenagers, sweet and soulful Augustine Michael, I will write our story.

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 One day you can visit these letters I typed on the black laptop sitting on that old farm table painted 17 times in 15 different colors, in the kitchen of your childhood home, the farmhouse that was once your mother’s dream that your father worked so hard to make a reality. I hope that you will see past all of my run on sentences and ridiculous lack of brevity and know that I found my niche in all of you. My greatest gift were the stories we wrote together. May these letters serve as reminders that there never was anything but love in between all of those pennies being pinched.

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A Farmhouse Story

This is the story of how one wife/mother of six talked her husband into leaving their very suburban very comfortable (air conditioned) home for her very country very old (not air conditioned) dream house. Although she spent almost the entirety of her youth working on a horse farm pursuing her passion for riding, she was not quite prepared for the adventure that lay ahead. There were so many questions to find answers too: What is a boiler? Why is there a pressure gauge on it? Can it explode? How do you fix it? What is a tractor? Where do you buy one? How do you fix it? What is a brush hog? What is a pull behind mower? How do you fix it? How do you fix fencing? How do you fix anything and everything? How do you safely remove ticks? How do you prevent them in the first place? Is that raccoon or bear poop? How do you chop up a tree? How do you burn a tree? How do you start a real fire (not in a fire pit)? Will. they. DIE? How do you live without air conditioning? What do you do when the only clothing store in town is Walmart (spoiler: you buy your clothes at Walmart and LIKE it). Her husband was born and raised a city boy but you would now never know it; he now hunts deer on their own property and eats it (actually they all do. They tell their kids its beef and their mother uses lots of salt). Her children routinely bring wild animals into the kitchen without thinking twice and either A) ask to keep them as pets and when she says “no” B) asks if they can cook them for dinner (you say shrimp/they say crayfish). They fall asleep to the sound of coyotes at night and wake up to honking geese in the morning. This former suburban housewife used to dream of pinterest worthy mudrooms off her kitchen (one pair of sparkling clean hunter boots staged nicely next to a plaid Burberry scarf and one well weathered but perfectly classy umbrella). She is now living an altered/morphed version of that dream…there IS a mudroom off the kitchen it’s just 10 steps down into the basement, lots of boots, none of them Hunter, none of the clean, no scarves, no umbrellas, just mud…so much mud. They dream of turning their small piece of land into a nice little hobby farm/homesteader paradise but right now they are still struggling to construct their chicken coop. How many eggs do chickens lay? If their kids eat a dozen of eggs in one sitting how many eggs do they need? Scratch the coop, they need a chicken barn. In their spare time this husband and wife duo are gluttons for punishment so their children are also homeschooled. Their family motto is “so much to do/so little money/so much grass to cut/why do our kids eat so much food?” Life is full and God is good, this is their farmhouse story.