I Hate It When They Are Right…

You were right.

All you boys in my life, you were right.

My husband who wanted the sod cutter roller thing-a-ma-bob. (Bah, said I, it’s not THAT much sod, we don’t want to spend the time and money renting that.)

My brother who offered to use a skid steer to help us out. (What are you nuts, I said, I’ll have nothing but mud in my yard for a month.)

I should have gone for the rental, I should have gone for the mud. But no, not me, instead I channeled Clara at two and said “No, I do it meself.” Well, I used more adult words than that but the sentiment was exactly the same.

And I did.

We now have a 16 ft diameter mostly/fairly/dear-God-I-hope-its-close-enough-to-level circle cut into the lawn. I had a bit of help, but mostly I did it meself.

Now, hopefully very soon, an above ground swimming pool will jump from it’s box by the garage and take up residence on the nice landing pad I made for it. Today while I was dreaming of the cool refreshing water that would someday be in the very location I was chopping roots out of with a dull axe, during my final multi-hour push to just get the *#! thing done, right about when the sweat was dripping in my eyes but after Ivy came out with sunscreen because she noticed my shoulders were burning, and just as I was wondering if maybe a friendly alien might drop in to make a nice crop circle in my yard, because probably they wouldn’t abduct me because I was way too dirty to be interesting, Clara showed up and asked how many blisters I had. I wouldn’t tell her, because I wouldn’t look, I was afraid if I inspected my hands too closely I might not pick the shovel back up.

But now that it’s done I’ll tell you- there are eight, and those boys were right- they were totally right.

Happy To See Me

I was gone for a few days last week.

The day I was returning home my Granny said to me “Your girls will be happy to see you.”

“Oh,” said I, “they might be, but they will hide it very well.”

After being gone for almost three days I walked up to Jane while she was playing with her friend.  Jane’s friend happily called out, “Jane, your mom is here!” Jane glanced up and went back to playing without acknowledging my presence.

I didn’t see Ivy and Clara until the next morning. Ivy gave me a nice hug, told me she was ready for school and could she please now use the tablet that had accompanied me on my trip.

My reunion with Clara was not so much a reuniting but more of a spectacle as I watched her come into the room and flop face first into the couch while crying and yelling at everyone to go away. Clara and I are not morning people, I felt her pain.

At least John was very happy to see me. He said many adoring husband things and listened to my stories and held me close and then said. “I’m officially abdicating the running of the household, you’re in charge again.”

I’m not upset by these reactions, quite the opposite, I’m very happy to be able to leave my family without a soul crushing, guilt inducing, flood of tears. In fact, I’m happily leaving on vacation again this week, for much longer this time and it’s good to know they will all be just fine without me!

 

Crossword puzzle time

Mom read the clues and wrote the answers. 

Granny supplied 90% of all the answers and 100% of the spelling. 

I supplied 10% of the answers 100% of which were doubted by my mom. 

Gramps supplied us with half an answer.

It took half the day to finish the puzzle. 

It’s highly probably Granny would have been done in half the time without all of our “help”.

Grandpa Knew

In his ninety-eight years Grandpa learned all sorts of things.

He knew Finnish and English, cattle and crops and engines of all kinds.  He knew fishing and hunting, woodworking and welding and would talk bees with me whenever I started asking questions.

Just a few years ago Grandpa had a bad spell that put him in the hospital. My Dad and I headed north to visit, worried what sort of state we would find him in. After his usual welcoming smiles were delivered from the hospital bed, conversation quickly turned to current international news and how events in Russia might affect his stock prices. I was out of my league. It was clear that Grandpa still knew his finances and he was feeling better.

Grandpa’s eight children eventually brought him fifteen grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren, all of whom made their way onto his lap. As he bounced those babies of the family on his knee, played giggling games of peek-a-boo and made funny faces, it was abundantly clear that Grandpa also knew babies. By the time Ivy showed up in the world as great-grandchild number six, he also knew all about mothers.

One day while we were visiting, Ivy was Unhappy. It wasn’t the first time he and Ivy met, but it was the first time he met Ivy while she was teething.  At his request I passed her over anyway and while Grandpa bounced her on his knee she cried. He made faces and she whimpered while chewing on her fist. Then Grandpa stopped, dug in his pocket and pulled out his old pocket knife. Small, brown and worn, he held it out to me for inspection. All babies love chewing on this he told me. See, he demonstrated rubbing his thumb across it, it’s nice and smooth, nothing to hurt her. And then, after I nodded my consent, he handed his knife to Ivy. She gratefully grabbed it, stuffed it in her mouth and set to work gnawing, no doubt just as those of us who came before her had. My grumpy girl was back to happily bouncing on her smiling Grandpa’s knee.

If you’ve never been a new mother, or it’s been a long time, let me remind you of the uncertainty that accompanies it. Everything your baby does is new, and it’s either amazing or worrying or both. At the same time it seems that everyone who talks to you already has had kids and they are  neither amazed or uncertain. Most all of those same people seem happy to not only tell you what to do but start doing it for you without so much as a by-your-leave. But not Grandpa. Grandpa knew babies and new mothers. That extra moment he took to show me his knife touched me so deeply I remember how the tears welled as I sat on the sofa across from him.

He gathered knowledge and used it well for ninety-eight years and the tears have done more than well in my eyes in the days since he’s been gone.

Edwin J. Eloranta

1918-2017