Practically a Teenager

“I’ll be 9, which is almost 10, which is practically a teenager…so don’t call me little…”

That is how some of the conversation at our house has gone recently.

“Whoa! Slow down there partner, you’re still 8 right now, and you will never have the chance to be 8 years old again, so make sure you REALLY enjoy these next couple of days. And when you turn 9, don’t rush into teenager. Enjoy being 9; it only comes around once in a lifetime.”

As I rapidly approach my collision course with the half-century mark, I truly understand the quote “Youth is wasted on the young.” Continue reading “Practically a Teenager”

An Apple a Day

Gala ApplesThis past weekend our family made our annual trek to a local apple orchard for hot apple cider, apple cider donuts, pony rides, and of course, apple picking.

It was so nice to be out, and even though the weather was overcast and a little “sprinklely” at times, we still had a lovely day. We saw a couple of tiny Copes Gray tree frogs braving the crowds on the farm, and we marveled at the huge workhorses pulling some of the wagons. Butterflies—monarchs, and skippers in whites and yellows—flitted in and out, over and under the branches of the apple trees as we walked the rows and picked apples. The pumpkin field across the way was adorned with huge yellow blossoms and large orange baubles, as the flowers reluctantly relinquished their territory to the ripening fruits.

A band with fiddle and harmonica added to the ambiance of red barns, goats, pigs, corn and pumpkins. The clippety clop of horses was punctuated by the random ringing of the large dinner bell outside one of the barns. All of the sights and sounds of the farm were accompanied by the background hum of people out enjoying the day, children laughing and expressing wonder, couples walking hand in hand.

The orchard was picking two varieties the day we visited, Gala or “party” apples, a family favorite for us, and Jonamac, a variety created by marrying the more well known Jonathan and MacIntosh apples. I had never before tasted a Jonamac apple, but this apple gives the popular Honey Crisp competition. The flesh of the apple is white and incredibly juicy. It is a sweet apple that has just a hint of some other flavor—the slightest sense of a tart berry, perhaps.

We make this journey every year. This year when we arrived, our daughter said, “I thought it was bigger last year.”

“No, it’s the same as it always has been. Perhaps you were just smaller.”

And, I think that was some of it. Because when she ran to the playground and I saw her surrounded by younger children, I suddenly realized that I am the mother of a “big girl” now. She’s growing up, and things that seemed larger than life to her only last year are already beginning to feel smaller.

But they needn’t lose their wonder.

Because even at my age, I learned something new on this year’s trip to the apple orchard. I discovered an apple I had never before tasted, and I loved it.

That there can always be new tastes in a fruit as old and “standard” as the apple is an amazing and glorious thing. That there can always be new things to see and experience in the world around us, if we will but look and allow ourselves to be awed, is glorious too.

So yes, sometimes when we look back, life may have seemed bigger, but maybe that is because we aren’t big enough yet to understand.

© 2014 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

Anniversaries and Birthdays

party_eWe visited my husband’s parents down in Rockford, IL, for an early celebration of my birthday. So, as I sit down to write, I am thinking a lot about birthdays and anniversaries of major life events.

Cheese Grits, my newspaper column and the seed for this blog, first appeared in my local newspaper on February 7, 2008, so for nearly five years I have been sharing random stories and thoughts with you. Five years is a fairly significant anniversary. For children, five is a big birthday, representing a move from toddler to young child, and quite often from day care to kindergarten. For wedded couples, the traditional gift of wood is given to celebrate the strength of the marriage bond that has grown over the first five years of life together. Continue reading “Anniversaries and Birthdays”

A Place in My Heart

It wasn’t supposed to affect me like it did.

I put on a front, feigning great relief at the fact that I will no longer be responsible for hauling an over-sized pillowcase filled with sleeping bag, pillow and favorite blanket into the daycare every week—through snow, rain, cold, heat or ice. I am, actually, relieved to relinquish that duty.

But a little sad at the thought. Continue reading “A Place in My Heart”

Run Home to Me

Our little girl walked down the aisle this weekend.

After she had her own special photo shoot. And before she kicked off her shoes and had that first dance with her daddy to Gitchee Gitchee Goo from Phineas and Ferb.

We flew to Atlanta for the wedding of my youngest nephew. Our daughter was the flower girl for the festivities. It was a whirlwind trip, the kind that leaves the traveler wishing for a couple of days to catch up on lost sleep, but it was a good trip.

Our daughter spent some important time with my dad, charming her Grandpa with all her wiles and smiles. She bonded with her Aunt Liz and developed a crush on her cousin Michael. Her dad and I figure that’s a pretty safe crush.

Mommy and Daddy’s little girl is growing up. Continue reading “Run Home to Me”