Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blister in the Sun

Memorial Day weekend was a blast, although temperatures were in the 90’s and I spent most of the weekend either drenched in sweat or basking in air conditioning. I left work promptly at 4:30 on Friday afternoon ready to start the long weekend, and lo and behold, the first song on the radio after I got in my car was “Freebird”. Yay! I actually said “Freebird, man” out loud in the best stoner voice I could conjure up. The sun was shining and I had the promise of a fantastic weekend ahead of me. What a great way to start the weekend—windows rolled down, blasting some quality Southern rock and feeling on top of the world.

Friday night my mom and I were cooking maniacs, getting all of the food ready for Grace’s big birthday bash on Sunday. Cooking for forty people is quite a daunting task, and unfortunately we didn’t have the foresight to turn on the central air before we started cooking. We did, however, have the foresight to break open a bottle of wine before we started, so the whole experience was quite entertaining. We cooked seven pounds of sloppy joes for the party, which I thought was fitting since Grace was almost seven pounds when she was born. Very symbolic, indeed.

Saturday morning Grace and I played outside on her swing set and rode our bikes (well, she more or less walked with her tricycle) around the neighborhood. It was a fantastic morning, just hanging out with my little girl and enjoying the warm weather. Saturday afternoon, after my parents took Gracie up to the cottage for the evening, I did some power shopping at Old Navy and lounged around a bit, watching one of my top five chick flicks, “You’ve Got Mail.” (Sidebar—you’ve gotta love the chemistry between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I love the scene at the end of “You’ve Got Mail” where Meg Ryan realizes that Tom Hanks, the man she was falling for, was her secret chat room admirer. Her expression of surprise and happiness and realization and longing when she sees him walking through the park to meet her is priceless and makes me cry every time. I’m such a girl.)

Saturday night Aaron took me and a group of the volleyball people to the Ben Folds/Violent Femmes concert at the new and improved Miller Lite Oasis on the Summerfest grounds. What an awesome show. Ben Folds put on yet another wonderful show, but my favorite part of the night was definitely the Violent Femmes’ set. Their music was so high-energy and made everyone in the audience jump up on their seats and dance (and, occasionally, fall off their seats. It happened to me once, I’ll admit it, but it was during “Blister in the Sun” and I couldn’t help myself. The music cast its spell on me.) Not too shabby of a show, especially for a bunch of middle-aged guys!

Sunday was Grace’s second birthday and her party, and it was also quite possibly one of the hottest days that I can remember. Luckily, her party was up at my family cottage on Legend Lake, so if the heat got to be too much, the refreshing lake was fifty feet away. The food was fantastic and Grace made quite a haul with the gifts. I had to fight back the tears of pride as everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to Gracie—it was a bittersweet moment—I was so proud of her, yet a bit sad that she’s growing up so fast. Sunday night Grace and I headed over to Aaron’s parents’ house, took a relaxing sunset ride on the pontoon boat, and fell fast asleep.

Memorial Day was full of the usual summertime-type activities—boating, swimming, and lounging in the sunshine. Aaron’s parents took us all out on the boat—we parked at a sandbar, enjoyed the cool water, and had a tasty picnic lunch. When Gracie and I got home, we took all of Gracie’s new toys out of their packages and tried them all out for the first time. The evening was topped off with a run to Culver’s for some tasty Maple Nut custard.

What a perfect weekend, jam packed with time with loved ones and fun in the outdoors. Makes me wish I was independently wealthy, so I could do it all the time!!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy Birthday to Grace! And Happy Anniversary to me!!

Sunday is my daughter’s second birthday. At 3:48 pm on Friday, May 28th 2004, Grace Mackenzie made her debut and has been the center of my life ever since. (Hmm...When I say “made her debut”, it doesn’t really capture the whole experience. There were nine months of morning sickness, four weeks of bed rest, and eight hours of labor {no epidural, thank you very much} involved in the whole process, so it wasn’t exactly effortless.) In the past two years Gracie has evolved from a fragile infant into a vibrant toddler, full of curiosity and wonder and awe. Every day she amazes me with what she’s learning and I am so fortunate to be able to experience life through her eyes.

Sunday is also my second anniversary. At 3:48 pm on Friday, May 28th 2004, I joined the sisterhood that has existed since the beginning of time—the sisterhood of mothers. What an awesome privilege. When I look at my mom and my grandma and all the other moms I know, I feel humbled to be among their ranks.

The moment that Grace was born, I looked at her and realized for the first time what love was. Over the past two years I have also evolved. When Grace was a newborn, I was a first-time mom and I was so frightened that I would do something horribly wrong with her that would scar her for life. I had no clue what I was doing. Now, I’m still learning everyday but I have more confidence and I am actually starting to feel like a “real” mom. I’m a full-fledged member of the sisterhood.

I also have learned how motherhood makes a woman vulnerable. I know the fear that a mother feels when her child screams. The frustration a mother feels when her child is crying and she can’t figure out why. The sheer joy a mother feels when her child smiles at her and gives her a hug. The helplessness a mother feels at 2:00 in the morning when her child wakes up with a high fever. The pride a mother feels when her child crawls for the first time, or walks for the first time, or says their name, or reaches a milestone in their life. Motherhood has exposed me to emotions and feelings that I never thought I had. It amazes me every day how I have this awesome capacity to love this little person, and that love just keeps growing.

I can’t believe how quickly the past two years have flown by. It makes me feel a bit melancholy when I think about it. At the same time, I am so excited to watch Grace grow. Every day with her is something to look forward to.

Happy Birthday, Punker Bear. And Happy Anniversary to me.

I'm out there, Jerry, and I'm lovin' it!!!

So, here's my very first post on my official blog. The delusions of grandeur have kicked into high gear and I really do believe that I am important and influential enough that people will actually read this thing. Here I am. Hello world.