weekending, solo

Friday morning, around 3am, papa headed up to New Jersey with a sleeping Claire.  I saw them off, standing first in the driveway and then in the street, a mess of heaving sobs and big fat tears.

It's the first time she and I have had any kind of big separation.  Anything beyond the one time in March when I went away with some girlfriends for the night.  That's why the big fat tears were there.  He'd decided he wanted to go up north and I just wasn't feeling the drive and the being away from home this time around.  Next came deciding if she was to stay with me or go on a big adventure sans mama.  After seeing how into the idea she was, I decided to go with it and wow.  Just, wow.  As they drove off I felt like both of my arms had just been ripped off and strapped to the hood of his car.  If you're a mom, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I woke up Friday morning feeling a bit bewildered.  Wasn't there something I needed to do?  Someone to check on or play with or tend to or feed?  But no, it was just me.  Of course I'd given a lot of thought as to what I'd do with my incredible five days to myself, and I wasn't quite sure where to begin.  So I began with a call to my mama to let her know I made it through the send off in one piece.  What a big girl I am.

And then a neighbor and I walked to town for breakfast at Louise's Kitchen.  I had the black bean grit cakes topped with a sriracha cream sauce and a fried egg.  Over easy, if you please.  I meant to take a picture of it, it was that beautiful.  But I devoured it before the opportunity arose.  We lingered and talked about any and everything, this neighbor that I am really just getting to know.  It's hard to get to know someone while actively parenting your toddlers together.  There's not much time for getting below the surface.  Which brings to mind an Aristotle quote that nearly made it on the quote wall, but for some reason didn't:

"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit."

I find that to be so true, especially as an adult, and even more especially once becoming a parent.  There is only so much time and energy to go around, and it changes a bit the process of making new friends.  I was grateful for this time to dive below the surface a bit with this lovely mama around the corner.  Following breakfast was some antique browsing before the walk back home.  Not a bad dessert at all.

Once back at my eerily yet deliciously quiet home, I spent a handful of hours doing a lot of nothing.  Some gardening, some laundry.  I moved our bed.  Nothing exciting.  Except that it was, of course, exciting.  Because I was all by myself.   I listened to Billy Bragg and Wilco as loud as I wanted.  And then switched over to Ani DiFranco because it had just been way too long.

Late Friday afternoon I headed to Asheville.  I had plans.  I was going to go do stuff, dangit.  I met a friend at Small Terrain, an amazing little store that specializes in homesteading supplies.  Bulk herbs, gardening, canning, cheese making, and bee keeping supplies, delightfully well made hand tools, the best ever selection of books on all things farming/food/homesteading, loads of tiny little jars and tins and such.  I can think of few stores that I've enjoyed so much.  I left with some tattler canning lids, a little metal tin to motivate me to make salve, and an ounce of vanilla beans to turn into extract.  And plans to rent their honey extractor later in the season.  If you are in Asheville, or ever pass through, please go and give these fine folks some of your money.

Afterwards, up the street to Altamont Brewery for a beer with friends, and dinner from the food truck across the street.  I had the bibimbap.  Another fine dish topped with an over easy egg.  My kind of food.  With a full belly I headed to my next destination, the Diana Wortham Theater downtown.  I was going to see the 10th Anniversary performance of the Terpsicorps Theater of Dance, a nontraditional ballet company.  Had I not seen them on the cover of last week's Mountain Xpress, I wouldn't have had any idea who or what they were.  All I can say is thanks, Mountain Xpress.  It was an amazing show.  I was emotionally moved every which way, through tears, joy and laughter.  It was awesome, and I can't wait to see them again.

I turned in somewhat late and rose on Saturday, knowing it must be late, expecting the clock to read somewhere around 10am (gasp!) and ready to walk down to the market and a yoga class.  Well.  Funny thing about that is it wasn't 10am.  Nope, nowhere close.  It was 12:31pm.  For real.  I am somewhat embarrassed writing that.  Except not really because now I've had a day to get over it and notice how well rested I am.  I guess 3 1/2 years of sleeping (or not) according to someone else's schedule and whims kinda tires a person out.  Huh.  And so, the market and yoga class were a bust, but there was breakfast (er, lunch) for one, complete with fresh raspberry jam.

Followed by some lazy walking around the yard, camera in hand.
Elderberry and beehives...

It was clear that the raspberries were in need of picking, as I hadn't picked the day before.  And so I went about the hard work of sitting on the grass picking berries.  Most went into containers, nearly 2 quarts destined to become more jam or a topping for a lemon curd pie I'm planning to make, but a good many always go straight to my belly.

Here is the booty from the yard that day~  well, the bee balm is from the neighbor's yard.  Our bee balm doesn't get enough sun and is mostly covered with powdery mildew instead of pretty flowers.

While I was picking berries, this guy showed up.  Meet Grover, my charge for the next few days.  He is sweet and cuddly, and even softer than he looks.  And he loves me.  And I love him.  Later that evening I joined another neighbor for food and mojitos in her backyard for her birthday, then came home and watched a movie.  Something I so rarely do, even though I love watching movies.  If you've made it this far in this post, and have some movie recommendations, I'm all ears.

This morning, after walking mister adorable and enjoying again coffee and breakfast for one, I set out for Lake James, where I rented a kayak and paddled around for a few hours.  I ate my lunch while drifting in the soft waves with the boat wedged between some large downed trees.  Prettiest restaurant ever.

Then I found a private little beach perfect for driftwood collecting and rock collecting, and I went for a quick swim.  It had been a while since I kayaked.  Now that we are three, we usually take out the canoe.  I much prefer kayaking. The smoothness, the closeness to the water, the easy maneuverability.  I was reminded of many fond paddling trips from my college days.  The New and James rivers, when I worked at a backpacking/adventure camp in New Castle, VA.  Week long canoeing trips in the Everglades during college spring breaks.  (I was not and am still not a Cancun for spring break kinda gal.  Maybe you already knew that.)  I need to make a point to get out on the water more often.  It is far and away one of my most favorite medicines.

I had talked to my grandma a bit on the way to the lake, and was thinking about how I'd like to send her a box with some jam (raspberries are one of her favorite things in the world) and maybe a neat rock from the lake if I found one.  She is a big collector of rocks.  And leaves.  Feathers, too.  I am much like my grandmother.  I was looking for a heart, specifically.  I found this amazing little thing, all sparkly with crystals and perfectly heart-shaped.  I am now working on summoning all the generosity I can in order to let go of this little beauty.  Because I'm kind of in love with it myself.

This house is on the way to the lake.  I am intrigued by it, to say the least.

A sprawling brick farm house with old metal roofing and a little red caboose?  Seriously?  It had me at caboose.

I made it home shortly before the rain came, played with Grover, and went to a yoga class.  Once home I made a giant bowl of pasta, poured a glass of wine, and snuggled with Grover on the couch while watching a foreign language film I was sure would have subtitles but did not.  I watched it anyway.  It's amazing what you can understand through body language and emotion alone, even having no clue how to speak the language.

So that's my big crazy weekend of mama time.  And they don't come home until Tuesday night, so there are two more days of who-knows-what yet to come.

*weekending with amanda


  1. Brilliant! I enjoyed every single word of this sweet piece. I am not even green with envy (though I would love a weekend such as this) but rather it has left me smiling knowing that their are mama's out there who really know the definition of self-care. What a gift! thanks so much for sharing such a beautiful bit of your weekend. xo

    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Rebecca! I feel like this weekend has really inspired me to not put self-care on the back burner because that is definitely not where it belongs.
      cheers from NC!

  2. Oh my god HOW WONDERFUL! I mean, really, truly SO wonderful. My son and I are rarely parted, even at the ripe "old" age of 9 now. But when we are I still feel that ripping of my heart and almost of my flesh. My heart leaves with him and stays gone until he returns.

    I LOVE that you slept until noon-thirty. I just LOVE that. I could go for that myself.

    You're so good to DO so many lovely things. I usually end up walking around in circles doing nothing or starting 500 things and not finishing any of them OR watching 5 movies in a row and then wishing I'd "gotten something done."

    I want bee balm. Too much shade here too. Sniff.

    LOVE the heart rock so much.

    OH, and that HOUSE!!! Holy hell that HOUSE! I want. A lot.

    Can't wait to see what else you do!

    1. It really was wonderful- I learned a lot and I think we both had the opportunity to grow a bit through this. The sleeping in did feel good, very good. It didn't happen again quite to that degree, or even within 3 hours of that degree, but still I feel quite well rested.

      I went back and forth between keeping busy doing things I typically wouldn't, and doing nothing. Always looking for that sweet spot of middle ground and the ever-elusive balance.

  3. amazing. love that you slept until afternoon. what a dreamy day. how amazing to have 5 days to yourself. what would i do with myself???

    1. it was a treat, for sure! A very disorienting treat, but most certainly good and needed. Oh gosh, I know- before this I was happy to just go grocery shopping before. I say make that list of what you would do and choose from them as you can... that's what I'm going to try to start doing. Sneaking in bits here and there to keep the self-care ride going strong.

  4. two words for this blog post:

    oh. WOW!

    already, time very well and deliciously spent! enjoy the rest of your 'me time' :)

    1. I know, right? Incredible. My cup is full, and surely that will serve us all!

  5. I cannot imagine you squeezing in any more fabulous me time into that weekend! Love the caboose house and wonder about the family that lives there. Glad you had a good weekend without your baby girl.

    1. it felt incredibly good to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, for sure! I wonder about them, too. One day, if I'm brave enough, maybe I'll stop and knock. Probably not. Maybe if they're out in the yard though....

  6. What a wonderful weekend! I love the way you're using your time so well. Just reading about it was rejuvenating!

    1. It has felt very good to tend to me and me alone. I am ready for my people to come home, and they're on the road right now, heading this way. So glad the the sense of rejuvenation came through in the words and photos!


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~