Friday, January 2, 2009

new year, new beginning

Debbie just returned from three days in Corvallis, Oregon, where she visited Uncle Johnny, Aunt Kerry, and her cousins Jessica and Christopher. Jessica is on furlough from the Peace Corps, halfway through her tour of duty in Niger. For all the details on her work there, go to the link at the head of this blog. She was told by her Nigerien family to fatten up, and they did not utter this commandment lightly. Suffice it to say that Debbie and she ate and talked for three days straight. A lovely, though too brief, time for two kindred spirits to love each other up.

She took the camera so I have no photos to share of our shenanigans on the home front. I will, however, share that we also talked and ate quite a lot. 'Twas a great opportunity for me to get my girls to myself before I have to go back into my cloister. Classes begin on Monday all over again. This time there is no six week break and the end of the quarter to look forward to. A paltry week and then back to the grind is all I can expect. This is the second time Debbie has flown the coop since we moved to Athens - the first being Ms. Rebecca Christian nee Sherr's wedding last August - and between these two (brief) periods of time without Mama, I am reminded of the difficulty of always being "on" with the girls. Though, I had such fun running around outside at the Ridges and Stroud's Run (both Eliza's suggestions) and in cooking with the girls and setting up and playing with the fairy house and reading reading reading, I did not check email or even the telephone for three days, did not read my work for three days, did not do any of the things that I spend nearly all of my time doing when Debbie is here. I am reminded that staying home with the girls is the harder job. By far. So I am looking forward to the quarter starting again. But I am also thinking of the seclusion and the feeling of "visiting" at supper and bedtime. My first quarter was tough, perhaps evidenced by this being my first post on the blog. But we are looking forward to spending this quarter more together and better together. And I'm sending Debbie away occasionally - not to Oregon, just out of the house without children.

We have this tradition: the first bird of the new year. The bird you first spot and identify on New Year's Day is your bird for the year. (Take that as you will.) Last year my bird was a Downy Woodpecker spotted in our neighborhood in Richmond. This year I figured it would be a Turkey Vulture - what would that say about my year? On Thursday, not having yet spotted a bird, Ani, Eliza, and I piled in the car and set off for the Ridges to hike and snack. Driving past the Hocking River we saw a whole gaggle of Canada Geese, sitting around on one foot, heads tucked under wings. That's our bird - the Canada Goose. I thought that a very appropriate bird. It is a bird that works together with its family. When was the last time you saw a Canada Goose alone? The bird is also famously migratory - like us these last few years. We're not going anywhere this year or next, but another move is inevitable. I think this will be a good bird for us to think on as we continue to work together to make our home here.

Photos next time, I promise.


alissa said...

nice to hear from you, poppy! thanks for letting deb out of the house...i can't wait to hear about her trip!!!

kimmy said...

Glad to see someone is blogging:) My blog had been silent lately...too much to do...not enough time to write.

It is nice to hear your writing voice. try to pop in again sometime and thanks for recognizing how consuming mother's work can be.

now this mother is off to work.Happy New Year Dan.

Merry said...

On behalf of my first born, thank you, Dan, for the wonderful gift you gave Debbie. Not only the gift of the flight voucher and the opportunity to put her arms around her special cousin, but also the gift of a loving home to return to. Sometimes those brief times away to recharge batteries is good for everyone! Eliza and Anika are such lucky girls to have two parents who love them so much and who love to spend time with them - day after day after day!! Good luck on your return to "normalcy"!!

Kerry said...

Dan, it was so wonderful to have Debbie with us. I know it made the trip home from Niger very special for Jessica. We missed you, though; we have new musical toys! Come see us. In the meantime, good luck with your studies, and happy new year!