The kitchen is clean. The dishwasher is gently humming while water spills into the washing machine over the dozen cloths used as napkins and the many towels used for the meal prep. The wood scraps used as some type of Barbie yoga retreat have been returned to the wood bin. The patio and sidewalks are still alive with the vibrant chalk art of two little girls. The house is quiet as another Sunday family dinner is done.
I so love these times. The prep and cooking take a large part of the day. The patio tables are set with simple place settings and chairs are scattered between the two tables. As the house fills with greetings and conversation and baby squeals, plates are filled and drinks are poured as the house empties on to the patio. Conversation quiets for a bit except the clang of the silverware against the plates. (Yeah – we mostly use regular dinnerware out there. I can’t help myself.)
As dinner comes to an end and dessert has been served, kids are playing; guests are loading the dishwasher and we settle down for some evening conversation before everyone begins to head home.
Another evening of family time and my heart is full.
Today was show my work day at Max and Abby’s school. I went to Max’s class and Aunt Megan went with Abby.
I am always amazed at the way the Khalsa Montessori works. Really I am amazed how calm the kids and the setting are. An old fashioned hand bell is heard outdoors and the kids calmly walk to their designated entrance. As they stand just outside the door, one child at a time walks to the classroom while the second child starts the walk when the first one is about 2/3 of the way there. There is no discussion. No pushing. No jockeying for a place in line. It is all rather … well … civilized. After the kids are settled in a circle on the carpet, the parents (grandparents and aunties) are all invited in. Max motions me to his table and instructs me to “stay right there” while he walks out of the room, returning with an adult sized folding chair that he sets up for me. Just a lovely reminder that at this school, Max’s consideration for me is not out of the ordinary. It is what is done. He is always considerate of others, but when he does something just for me, I tear up with pride and joy. He is really such a nice kid. And I am not the only one who thinks it as more than a few parents commented to me about his manners, intelligence and, of course, his humor!
Besides my accounting business, making custom lamp shades & junk journals, there has been time spent with grandchildren & family & friends. Emails, Facebook & Skype have become the way of staying in touch. A beautiful Tucson spring brought my Annual Easter celebration. I enjoyed the company of family, extended family & friends and the photo booth area with the obligatory bunny ears & lots of food & drink. A face painter joined the party – a huge hit with the younger ones. For Mother’s Day, and in the company of the Mundle ladies, I enjoyed a day of pampering, courtesy of Jeffry at the most gorgeous resort & spa. A week later, I finally got my cast off my leg after 7 long months of weekly visits to the wound clinic. In no time, it was Summer, and I hosted Camp Nana for Max, Abby & their cousin, Ginny. We planted veggies (which didn’t survive the Tucson heat), painted ladybugs on rocks & rehearsed for our Camp Finale. In a few days, I will join the Mundles & more for Thanksgiving dinner. In December, after a family trip to the North Pole (well, sort of), the 5 Arizona Gardners will join the 3 Virginia Gardners for a family Christmas in Leesburg.
It has been three years now of living on my own. It is a strange place – this land of widowhood. But, with the love and support of friends & family, I put one foot in front of another & take life head on, one day at a time. I will never get used to not being “us”, but I enjoy what I have now, looking toward 2019 & a spring vacation in Italy with my sister and other adventures that may come my way.
Today, we ventured out to Waskasoo Park in Red Deer … featuring the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, the Aspen Parkland and the Cronquist House. Seems like Red Deer and the surrounding area is peppered with natural areas like this and provide for an abundance of daily outings (and let’s not forget learning opportunities for the little ones) without even leaving town. After a quick tour through the Centre, we embark on a nature walk.
I fell in love with this painting. Amazing to see what our minds are muddled with these days. Something to think about. Get it?? Think about?
Maxwell especially enjoyed knocking his daddy off of the rope.
After a picnic lunch, Jeffry and I opted to tour the Cronquist House (thinking it was a museum) while the others ventured out in a paddle boat. We soon found the museum to be a tea house.
Not really our thing, so we spotted a tandem that would seem to be a lot more adventure than sipping tea. And off we pedaled.
Okay, it isn’t MY native land. Still, when in Rome …
We made it! Calgary International Airport. I feel more relaxed already. After a short pause for a photo-op, we are on the way to the car rental for the not too far drive to Red Deer, Alberta.
And this charmer is our home for 6 days!
An immaculate 2 bedroom home complete with a well stocked refrig and lawn games for the kids. All of the kids! Perfect! As we settled in with luggage and setting up our little spaces, I decided I would share the room with Max and Abby and let Jeffry & Kerri have a bit of a break with their own room. Not really much sharing as our room was ginormous – I had a double bed on one side of the room and there were twin beds on the other side – one with blue linens and one with pink. Abby arranged her toys and books on her side of the table and Maxwell found a little cabinet which suited his Pokemon collection just fine. They each put their clothes in little cubbies in the closet and were well satisfied with their areas. It was so cute to see them try to carefully put their items here and there, and although it kind of looked a hot mess to me, they stood back and studied the progress they made and I could tell they were thinking “well done”. So what if Max hung his underwear on the little hooks in the closet? To him it was logical as he could just grab one each day. Very handy! They didn’t have to be told what to do – they just did it. There was no fighting and lots of “here, Abby – you can put some stuff right here”. That’s my grand kids!