Thursday, March 29, 2012

Calories, Coffee and the Inequities of Life.

"Mom? Do you think you could gain thirteen pounds by next Friday?" It was Tyler, asking a serious question.
"What???" I am unused to thinking in these terms.
"No, probably not." I replied, after considering a little.
"Well, I'm going to." He said. "They won't let me play football because I'm not big enough. I need to gain weight."

I scooped pancakes off the griddle and added them to the ones warming on the platter in the oven.
I tried to imagine how blissful my life would be if I were trying to gain weight.
Tyler presided over his lunch-packing with unusual passion. "Do you know how many calories are in a container of yogurt?" he said.
"170. Dad guessed 40. Do you know how many calories are in two tablespoons of peanut butter?"
"180. I'm packing my lunch with all high calorie foods." he said enthusiastically.
"If you get too fat for your jeans you're going to have to buy your own new ones." I warned.
It may have been a sour grapes comment. Or it may have been one of those remarks mothers need to make in order to feel useful.

We sat down to eat breakfast. Tyler was making commitments to put away monumental portions, mingled with football talk.

 I chose the two smallest pancakes, which were really quite small, and committed to not taking seconds.
 I wondered idly whether I should have chosen just one medium-sized one instead, if that would hold me through the morning, and how many less calories it would have been than two smalls.

A couple of the other natives chimed in with their weight gain goals. A discussion about who weighed what ensued.
Then Dustin said, "I just dreamed that you were losing lots of weight, Mom! Without even trying, it was just coming off!!"
Yes. I dream of that too.
I finished my little pancakes, and took my plate to the counter, poured myself half a cup of coffee and added just a bit of milk. Normally I'd have had a whole cup, but the doctor told me yesterday to cut back on caffeine.
Blah. First calories. Now caffeine.
I cradled my half-cup and husped a little off the top.
The clamor of natives collecting lunchboxes and backpacks, tying shoes and telling each other to hurry, gave way to silence as they spilled out the door.
I found my purse, slipped into my crocs, took up my half cup of coffee, and followed them to the car.

I was where they are, once. I remember a classmate calling me skinny in the presence of his mom, and her horrified "Oh, David!" And Mother referring to my protruding shoulder blades as angel wings.

 But someday they will likely be where I am. Unless, by some stroke of brilliant luck they inherit the Chief's metabolism. Which they probably will.

Oh well!!
I sipped at my half-cup of coffee with the merest splash of milk in it.
At least we won't have to worry about buying new jeans.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Suddenly Spring!

Do you realize it is 7:30PM and light outside! The natives are barefootin' it in the back yard, playing ball. The lawn is freshly shorn...the first mowing of the season. There are a fair amount of winter weeds out there crowding the Centipede. But even weeds look pretty nice if they're mowed. Azaleas brighten the border beneath the pines.

Two evenings ago I felt the coolness of loamy soil beneath my own feet while the Chief and I raced to get our potatoes into rows as twilight gave way to darkness.
We're getting our garden in late this year, actually. We don't really try to get it in early ever, because our position on the north side of a hill makes us vulnerable to late frosts. But this year with our trotting to and fro to Virginia, proper garden planting time has come and gone. It doesn't matter. The beauty of living in the south is that the growing season stretches before you long and long. You can plant two consecutive gardens if you have a mind to. Though by the time we're done with round one we are seldom of a mind to.

Our latest trip to Virginia was this past weekend. The Chief and I traveled up with my brother and sister-in-law (his sister) to meet with the rest of my siblings to go through and divide Mother's things, clean her house, and say good-bye to that chapter of our lives.

As the miles melted behind us we gradually greeted an earlier version of the season, but there was no question it was spring the whole way! Pale green leaves stood in relief against darker evergreens. Dogwood lighted the undergrowth, and Redbud bloomed in glorious profusion. There was some other tree blooming. I don't know what it was, but it was the most delicious shade of dusky raspberry. Great patches of spring flowers splashed the interstate medians with color.

When we pulled up to Mother's house, there were hyacinths blooming in the flowerbed by the carport. And tulips. I had seen their leaves peeking through when I had gone up to see her the week before she died. When I went in and told her about them she said, "Really! I haven't seen one sign of anything in that flower bed!"
That conversation seemed long ago and far away.
 I looked at the hyacinths and tender blushing tulips and wondered if I wished she could see them.

The cars are largely some shade of yellow/green here in our town, unless they have just been washed. The pollen we can always count on. It comes down in gentle drifts some days, guilding the world. And making us sneeze.

Watching things grow is one of my dearest joys. I much prefer growing my flowers and vegetables from seed. It didn't happen this year, but most years, that is what I do. The Chief built me a little greenhouse, and I fill it full of seed flats and then every dew-kissed morning, I pour my cup of coffee and venture out to peer at each flat to see if I see anything...anything.
And one morning there is something!  YES! And something else! Oh! And these are up!
And after I've seen everything there is to see, I cast around in my mind if there might not be something more to check on...somewhere! And I always wish there were. But at some point the things to check run out. And so does the coffee. So I go inside to do housework.

It would be so nice to love housework best of all, wouldn't it? But I don't. But it's Spring, and it would be a sin to waste it wishing you liked to do housework.

Happy Spring to all of you. May all your seeds sprout, all your flowers bloom, and may you always have a tissue handy when the pollen drifts your way.