Thursday, July 23, 2009


My friend Maia was asking me about my blog. We were talking on the phone; she was in London and I was in my garage moving clothes from the washer to the dryer. She said she feels so connected to me, even though she's so far away, and so she decided to start her own blog so her family and other friends can feel the same way while she's gone. (She's living there for a couple of years.) She asked how I manage to keep up the posts, because she's really having a hard time.

As we were talking I realized, and I shared with her, that I try to write every week day. Sometimes I write on the weekend, but not regularly. I don't always feel like writing, or uploading the pictures. If I start tired or cranky, though, I usually feel happier after sorting through pictures of my kids, and writing about them in some small way.

It's funny, because the blog I kept for four years before starting this blog was a running blog. I used to write about running every day! And I would not always feel like running, believe that. In fact, there were days I would almost cry when I thought about getting those shoes on. And I know for a fact that I would not have run on those days if I hadn't needed something to write about! I was keeping a running journal. If I didn't run, I'd have nothing to 'report'. I can't tell you how many times that got me out the door and running!

This blog is sort of the same way, but with my kids at the center. There are times I don't feel patient, loving, or kind towards my kids. I always love them, but I don't always love being around them. There are days that the squabbling and sassing and complaining, and frankly, the sheer amount of work, just put me right over the edge! Keeping this blog helps me to slow down, to look for and appreciate small moments in our lives. Even the worst, most challenging mama-days have a sweetness. It's a sweetness I might have missed though, if I hadn't been looking for it. And if I wasn't committed to writing it down here, I may not have been looking for it.

Yesterday was an example of just the situation I was describing above. I got about 15 ears of corn from my mom's garden! Oh, happiness! I love corn, I love fresh corn, and I love free corn! It was a good day. And I'm such a go-getter, get-it-done kind of person, that I easily could have husked and blanched the corn and had it in the freezer before anybody else in the house even knew we had received such a gift.

But I started thinking about how, when you start keeping a garden and trading/exchanging harvests with other gardeners, that you commit yourself to not just breezing into a grocery store and buying whatever you want, whenever you want it. It's not always the most convenient time to deal with 15 ears of corn, or a kilo of fresh tomatoes. But, when you want to eat as locally and fresh as possible, you have to deal with it as it comes up.

I also started thinking about how, for some of us, that means that we have to learn new skills, like preserving or preparing for freezing, drying or dehydrating, etc. I think I used to feel like all that was just work ~ too too too much work. Who has time to learn such things, when I can just buy a jar sauce any time I'd like to? But doing those things makes me feel more connected; to my home, my family, even my food.

And if I want my kids to learn to love those feelings as much as I do; if I want to be there when Scotty first meets the silky threads under those green husks; if I want Tommy to eat that corn when I cook it; if I want them to know that real food is imperfect...If I want those things, then I have to slow down, and get down on the floor and show them how to husk a cob.

And, because this draws me deeper into the work of parenting, I don't feel aggravated when the corn husking ~ like everything else in our lives right now ~ turns into a sword fight. Here's where I find the space where this is cute, instead of annoying. Where it's funny, instead of exhausting. And writing it here keeps that memory safe, and keeps it where I'll be able to take it out again (no doubt when I'm feeling less expansive) and every time I do, the bond between us grows stronger and more complex.

It was a good day.

I get lots of information about canning and freezing food from, and here is a great resource for how to blanch and freeze corn, specifically.

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