of babies, bonnets, and cherries~
We drove ten hours up to New Jersey last week, stopping just for gas and bathroom breaks. And donuts. On a trip north last fall it came to papa's attention that there is a family-run donut shop inside a gas station not far off the highway in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It is now of course a regular stopping place. She had a chocolate frosted and after a few bites she yelled up to me "mama! this chocolate doesn't even taste like chocolate it tastes like super super sweet!". I responded that she was no doubt right about that and that I thought she probably had very good taste buds.
We'll be back up in Jersey at the end of July/beginning of August on the way to and from a trip to Maine, but we had some very important business to tend to and it couldn't wait that long. We had to meet a sweet baby girl, our new niece.
She smells, as new little ones typically do, delicious. I spent a good many minutes just inhaling her sweet baby smell. I held her for long naps, watching her closely and smiling at her little sleep sounds and gurgles and such. I am smitten. Claire is smitten. She held her several times and even got to feed her once and help nana with bath time.
I could watch this little lass for hours. I did watch her for hours, actually.
I'll just come right out and say that, despite being smitten and all, I think this little family of ours will very likely remain a family of three. It feels good, we've found our groove. We are quite on the far side of diapers and nursing and my goodness as of the last week Claire is even sleeping on her own now. She tells us goodnight and we give her a hug and kiss and she crawls in bed and we say 'goodnight! see you in the morning light!', and we go sit on the couch somewhat stunned. I mean, I thought surely I'd be laying with her to get her to fall asleep until she was at least thirty or so. But I felt that way about nursing too and then one day, poof!, things change. Part of me wants Claire to experience a sibling, part of me wants the opportunity to do it all again after having gained at least a bit of wisdom from these five years of mothering....... but all in all we are pretty settled and it's hard to imagine going back into that foggy newborn world now. No doubt if we did we'd all rise to the occasion and it would be just grand. But still. Three is good number.
Also, cherries. There is a big sour cherry tree in the front yard at my in-laws' place and every other year it is FULL of tart pie cherries. In 2005, the year Mike and I got married in their back yard, it was full of cherries and my mom and I made pies for the wedding. I never even saw the dessert table at my wedding, but I know there were several cherry pies along with some peach and apple pies as well. I suppose we were too caught up in visiting and dancing and smiling to eat pie. It's a special thing, though, to go back up there around our anniversary and walk along the horse fence where some of my favorite photos were taken. And to pick and eat those cherries. And to stare into the yard and imagine the white tents and the music and the people and the flowers. Good stuff.
We also got to visit dear friends in their new home. Erin and Mike and I were roommates in college and worked on the student-run CSA together. She married Gilad last summer and I can't imagine a better match than these two. Claire adores him. He plays the guitar and piano, making up songs for her or playing according to how she is dancing. It is all such fun and she eats it up and then pleads for more, more, more! We had a fun, silly, wonderful, and delicious time catching up with them.
And then, of course no trip up to NJ is complete without at least a quick visit to Howell Farm. It is only about ten minutes from nana and pipop's house and it has long been a family favorite. We went on the summer solstice, father's day. It was pretty quiet and Claire got to collect eggs from the henhouse, grind corn with a grinder from 1900, and pump water for the horses. She also picked out a new bonnet. One with roses that has plenty of growing room.
And then it was back to the house for a father's day dinner, cherry-pitting, last snuggles before the morning car ride back to NC, and a dessert of ice cream with stewed cherries on top. Thanks for another great visit, NJ!