Wednesday, January 04, 2017


I am so deeply appreciative of you, you Ocean readers! You are generous and kind and you truly make it very easy to feel hopeful about the world. Thank you for your comments and messages. You're the best!

Now if only you could do magic, I'd have a job for you: please let's get back to outdoor readings that are less like the Arctic and more like south central Wisconsin in the wintertime!

When I wake up, it is thirty degrees colder than it had been when I went to sleep (from 35F, which is just shy of 2C, down to 5F -- a cheek burning -15C). And it will only get worse tomorrow.

Of course, I don't believe in magic, nor in some greater weather deity who manipulates things up there for me, but I do regard it a fantastic (if not fantastical) coincidence that my daughter, born on a January 19th, came into this world on the coldest day of the year (or was it decade, or maybe even century?). And Snowdrop, born on January 5th, repeated that feat by popping out on the coldest day of her birth year. So perhaps I should not be surprised that tomorrow, a birthday for her, will be even colder than what we have today.

On the upside, the sun is out and us hearty northerners tend to be cheerful about the weather so long as there is that spark of brilliant light shining down on us all.

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We eat breakfast in the sun room!

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And then Ed and I go to a big box store -- to pick up some party hats for the little girl and also to pick up my 4x6 photo that is really a compilation of 6 identical 2x2 photos. You'll probably have guessed that Ed twisted my arm to do my own passport pics on the cheap: rather than paying the $6.50 for a designated passport set, we printed one that I can, myself, cut to size. The cost: 19 cents. It is so like Ed to take on the project of making something that is already cheap even cheaper.

And then I bake a cake.

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This is quite the advance planning on my part. And I should note that the bigger celebration of Snowdrop's birthday will come this weekend, when friends and family will gather to sing happy birthday to her and wish her well and eat gobs of cake along with her then. Still, we're having the young family over tomorrow for a pizza and (small) cake supper, and a request was lodged for a strawberries 'n cream concoction, and part one of creating that fell on this day. (It's a sponge cake and David Lebovitz, my go-to dessert guy, swears that it cuts better if you bake it the day before.)

Snowdrop is back in school today. I would imagine all the two and nearly two year olds would get unused to being in school again after a two week break, but the teachers said the transitions were easy and the day was smooth, even though there was no possibility of outdoor play.

It is so cold, that as we leave, Snowdrop insists on mittens -- a rare thing for her indeed, especially since we only need to walk the few steps to the car.

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As we enter the farmhouse, she smells cake. She sees cake. It's hard to tell a not quite two year old that it's for tomorrow, but with Snowdrop, you need only offer a piece of bread, with maybe a few strawberries and the girl usually settles into a comfortable munch.

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But she is tired, I can tell. She still runs, in the way we run when we want to express our inner joie de vivre (what, you don't run when you're happy? well, maybe you once did)...

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... but she also settles down into a steady stream of book reading. And protests only half heartedly when I put her down for a nap.

Again the sun is setting by the time Snowdrop wakes up. I watch the flowers on the table pick up the golden hues of the outdoor light.

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The girl looks tussled after her very long rest and she has that sleepy daze about her that makes her appear just a little bit younger.

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I look through pictures from last year from this same time period. She wasn't quite one then. Her cheeks were pudgy. I worried that every step she took would cause her to topple hard. Now I worry that the words I use -- when I feed her, play with her, let her be -- aren't the ones she needs.

Following her lead, we play with her toy food. This, right now, is her favorite. We sit across each other and we bargain: who can "eat" what. Of course, it's just a metaphor for so much more.

... even as for her, it's a very serious game about food. (Thinking about who should get the pancake...)

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Very very serious. (Honestly, she will be a chef. It seems to be her calling.)

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It strikes me that I am so much more careful with Snowdrop than I am say with Ed, or with my daughters. My words, half of them still a mystery to her, still seem to matter so much more! She watches me intently as I tease her. Ed ignores me when I tease him. She takes me seriously almost always. He, my daughters -- well, there is a history that has cemented something that endures despite the words that come and go.

I write all this because I think that Snowdrop, the nearly two year old Snowdrop, has led me to be less nonchalant about what I say and how I say it. And you know what? I think that's a good thing. For everybody.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful that you're so intentional with S. Happy Birthday to the little girl!


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