Saturdays have set-in-stone morning rituals: a talk with Babcia and Dziadek in Poland; coffee (for we’ve given it up during the week); ballet lessons. Once it’s all done, we have time to play.
And time to work.
We have several bird pairs nesting in our Leyland Cypresses that block off our deck from the sides. One builder seems more industrious than the other, though. I watch this fellow make at least half a dozen trips in the space of five minutes.
But I have my own work to do: a backyard that’s been neglected since the end of last summer, with enough twigs and branches to make five piles throughout the yard. Plus there’s more tomatoes to plant, stakes to arrange, hedges to trim, grass to mow.
Most of it gets done, but by dusk, I’m ready to put the tools back, lean the wheelbarrow against the house, and call it a day.
It was sometime during second or third grade, I believe, that I first realized I wasn’t seeing the same things my classmates were seeing. I’d somehow discovered that if I pulled on the corners of my eyes, I could see better. The teachers noticed, said something to my parents, and shortly after that, I had my first pair of glasses.
The Girl, it turns out, has the opposite problem: she’s far-sighted.
The optometrist tells us it’s something she could outgrow in a few years.
There are some things, however, she’s likely to retrain for several years to come.
Wants and needs are easily confused. Birds, for example, need water like all creatures. They don’t need berries, but their sweet flavor and high water content makes berries particularly attractive. Our recently-installed netting, however, frustrates our flying friends from fulfilling both wants and needs (though it does little for alliterative flourishes).
Flowers need attention, as do little girls (and, I would imagine, little boys, though we won’t be collecting anecdotal evidence for a few more weeks yet). And the best attention is often so seemingly slight: a pat, a hug, a kind word.
Spring is a time of expectation and rebirth. Or simply birth. With four weeks remaining until the Boy’s due date, it’s time to complete the final preparations: clothes need washing, cribs need assembling,
and final days as an only child need enjoying. We’re all bursting at the prospect of a new member of the family, but I suspect that it won’t take long for the Girl to start remembering how peaceful a Saturday afternoon could be when she was flying solo.
But there will be things only she can help with for several more years: her place as the special helper is secure for the foreseeable future.
We’ve been working on it for some time now: riding a bike. It’s something K and I take for granted, one of the shared interests that helped in its own little way to solidify our relationship years ago.
The Girl didn’t take to it immediately. She was scared of everything: going up hill; going down hill; turning; going straight; starting; stopping. It all scared her. “I was beginning to think she’d be like Babcia,” K remarked today.
It’s not something we experience daily: we’re often on our way or long gone when the sun shines through the kitchen/dining room window like this. That makes weekend light unique: we know it’s a day off when we tumble downstairs to see something like this.
We invite it in, making sure all the blinds are open and even turning off a few lights to enjoy the warmth of early morning spring light.
We aren’t the only ones glad to see the spring light.
The raspberry and blackberry canes are bursting with excitement, literally.
And so while some spring guests are welcome, others aren’t: last year, birds ate every single berry long before they were even ripe. This year, we’ve put up netting — a polite “Keep Out” that has me curious about its ultimate effectiveness.
It’s the end of the year, which means the English I students are tackling Great Expectations, having just finished a brief overview/review of clauses and sentence types. “To understand Dickens,” I explained a couple of weeks ago, “you have to break apart some of his incredibly complex sentences into manageable chunks.” So we practice: every day, students entering class are greeted by a few sentences of from the previous evening’s readings. The bell-ringer, starter, whatever you want to call it:
At the appointed time I returned to Miss Havisham’s, and my hesitating ring at the gate brought out Estella. She locked it after admitting me, as she had done before, and again preceded me into the dark passage where her candle stood. She took no notice of me until she had the candle in her hand, when she looked over her shoulder, superciliously saying, “You are to come this way today,” and took me to quite another part of the house.
Students cross out unnecessary phrases — prepositional, gerund, participial — and try to find the gold: a single subordinate clause. “If you find a subordinate clause,” I explain, “you know it’s either a complex or compound-complex sentence; if you don’t, you know it’s a simple or compound sentence.”