We've had some slow and quiet days around home this week. The last few boxes are being unpacked. That stack of books on the family room floor is slowly getting shorter and shorter. The upstairs landing is clear of stuff that hadn't found a home. We go for walks. We dig in the dirt. We bake bread. We do (a lot) of laundry.
The garden is growing so fast that we can practically watch it in real time. Right now we're eating the lettuce and the mustard greens while dreaming of everything else that's coming along. Brussels sprouts are on the left and Swiss chard on the right. Chiogga beets and Atomic Red carrots in the distance.
The Beer Friend edamame just sprouted, which has us quite excited. We also have a few new little yellow squash plants poking through. I love watching them push their way through the soil and stretch themselves toward the elusive sunshine.
My blueberry bushes are surprisingly full of blooms. I'm a little giddy about that. I didn't expect much from the first year - anything is a bonus, really.
The little one would rather be outside in the garden than doing anything else at all other than discovering shortcuts on the computers that we didn't know existed. Of course, none of those shortcut discoveries are repeatable.
I could sit there and observe her wandering the garden all day. As your kids grow up, you forget how involved toddlers are in wholly experiencing every moment of their days. I watch her study the intricacies of dirt clods or ask for the 43rd reading of "Are You My Mother?" and it brings me back to the toddler years of my other babies. To Lindsay digging and digging in the sand on the beach in Santa Monica. To walking with Gunnar around the block on my lunch break at toddler speed, stopping at every crack and examining what laid below the storm grates. To Annika's insistent exploration of the world above her by climbing anything that might possibly hold her weight and reading her favorite books from memory. They all explore and absorb their world with a gusto that I try and often fail to replicate myself.
Today we made our bread for dinner and she clambered up onto the chair to help. She stirred the water into the flour with a wooden spoon. We turned the dough onto the counter and took turns kneading it until it was smooth and elastic. She cried when it was time to let it rise (I see some playdough making tomorrow - no pesky rising). We talked about the magic of yeast and rising dough. She won't remember this conversation, but I know she'll remember in the darkest recesses of her memory that we always made bread together and she'll know that yeast is magic. Because making bread is what we do.
She'll remember the ritual of bringing the chair to the counter and mixing and stirring and kneading. She'll always smile when she picks her greens from her own garden or smells a carrot freshly pulled from the soil. She'll discover these treasured books in boxes that I give her someday and while she may not remember which were her favorites when, the familiar rhythms will wash over her as she reads them aloud. I know, because the rhythms do that to me. I've read some of these books for 20 years to 4 babies. Each has its tone, its hand signals, its rituals that are unique to us. That belong to our family. All these things she does and we do become a part of who we are.
These days are very good indeed.