Up. She is up. Jelsa Joy stood for minutes yesterday. Her standing is facilitated by distraction; a new person, the television — anything to keep her attention and keep her still. She attempted a step and then sat down.
One week until her 9-month birthday….will she be walking? Place your bets.
It was one of those trips that I had been anticipating almost all my life. The day my child would meet my sister’s child. The moment I could search the face of my daughter for signs of my sister and delight in seeing my daughter embraced by a woman I trust like no other. By her side, her own children, Jelsa’s cousins.
Cousins are odd creatures. You can have close cousins, far-away cousins, cousins 20 years older or 20 years younger. You can have too many cousins to count, or just 2 cousins like we did when we were growing up. Jelsa will only have Larson cousins – first cousins at least – since my husband is an only child. Adelaide will be a type of older sister, Cauvin a type of younger — by 3 months — brother. Jelsa’s childhood memories will no doubt include vacations and visits with these two kids.
The Jacksonville airport was never part of my childhood dream of the cousin intro, but it was indeed the site of this tender meeting. Sara and the kids accompanied by Mom – and Jelsa and I coming from A2, met at gate A4 — Adelaide squealing as she ran off the jetway to greet us; Sara lingered behind with the camcorder. And we were one step closer to introducing the entire clan to their great grandma in Palm Coast – the reason behind our visit to JAX.
To get to Grandma Great took another 3 hours. Can’t blame the car rental company – the mini-van was ready and the walk to the lot wasn’t long. Can’t blame the lady at the McDonald’s drive-thru window – we ordered our snack-wraps in such a chaotic fashion, I almost wanted to tip her. Can’t blame Cauvin – the youngest of the bunch at 3.5 months — he didn’t need to eat and slept most of the way (I think). Yes, it was mostly Jelsa and I that slowed down the pace with two stops to nurse on the way to Palm Coast. So it goes.
Each trip has its highlights. The day-in, day-out rhythm goes without saying when three kids 2 and under are involved — up, nap, eat, nap, up, etc.
Florida 2009 favorites include the following:
1.Grandma let us be messy. Yes, despite having an empty dresser to work with, I lived out of my suitcase parked on the far side of the living room. Toys were all over the sun room. Rarely was the dining table fully cleared.
2. The smell of FL and Grandma’s house in particular. It will always be one of those smells from my childhood that brings me comfort. Can’t describe it at all. Maybe salty because of the ocean? I know it when I smell it.
3. My mom aka Oma. She jumped when we said jump. She jumped from one kid to another. She jumped to pick up the toy. She jumped to get a diaper or a snack for Adelaide.
4. Picture-taking is so much more fun with kids. I don’t know why I even bothered taking pictures, let alone putting Creative Memories albums together before Jelsa. That is overstating it a bit (if not down right unhealthy)….but In some ways, life feels fully under way now. I must have snapped 400-500 pictures with the Nikon D40, reviewing practically ever picture after taking it. We tried to do a photo shoot on the last day with Sara, me and the three kids. SO did not work out well. A few cute shots, but overall, the kids were just not buying it.
5. Why are Wal-Marts so much more exciting when I’m on vacation? Does anyone else feel this way? I love running errands on vacations. Sara and I got “lost” when leaving WM…just couldn’t figure out those Palm Coast parkways. Took us 20 minutes to get home as opposed to 10.
6. There was no question our trip to the beach would be a little crazy with the babes, but it got a little crazier when lightening was spotted and we had to sit in the van for 20-30 minutes or so and wait for the storm clouds to pass. Grandma had made it down to the sand with our blankets and had to return when the lifeguards issued their verdict on the weather. I forget how we passed the time. It wasn’t fun, though, I remember that. We eventually got down to the sand and the water. It was overcast, so some photos turned out well (see #4). Adelaide ran and jumped around in the water. Jelsa hung out in a little kiddy pool under the pier. And Cauvin slept on a blanket.
I think those are the highlights for now. Funny how highlights change depending on the day and time.
Today’s accomplishments exceeded my expectations. First, Jelsa and I rejoiced in the sun and 65-degree weather. Then we got down to enjoying it. We put the drying rack on the back porch and let the cloth diaper inserts dry in the sun in an effort to rid them of stains that have started to appear. Then I packed up the stroller for a jont across town to a new organic dry-cleaning place I’ve been wanting to try. The duvet cover has been desperate for a cleaning, and I couldn’t bring myself to taking it the smelly, cancer-causing dry cleaners. Already to go — then Jelsa decided it was nap time on the rug in the family room. I killed an hour writing emails and preparing for Bible study tonight. Jelsa awoke – and we were off.
Organic dry-cleaners: love them. No smell. No twinge of the nose. Life and not death.
Next stop: Public Library. Love it. Free books. Not a peep out of Jelsa as I roamed the stacks.
From the library to Safeway: a call from Harold Larson on my cell phone aka Dad. Life is good he says, even though he is swapped with work and people are in line to complain to him.
Home in time for a feeding another Jelsa nap and good breezes coming in from the back door.
All of which got me singing a song that I played often in high school by Geoff Moore and the Distance (Christian contemporary music…I’ve had my seasons of it).
“And all the world was right,
And I felt so full and alive
In the wonder and the light,
And I would never be the same,
For I knew somehow I had changed.
Even now I’d have to say,
It was one of my best days.”
May 25th Correction: Turns out, this wasn’t one of my best days because it ended with Jelsa screaming SCREAMING for a couple of hours as her stomach dealt with something I ate over the weekend (big salad made by uncle Geoff). Ooze was out of town. It was a mini-crisis. No more Geoff Moore by 6 p.m. that night.
Water. Ahh. Water tasted so good in Bedford, PA. Maybe it was the 90-degree weather. Maybe it was the spa treatment — deluge shower, eucalyptus steam room, hot tub, cold tub, massage. Maybe it was the slices of cucumber, orange, lemon and lime in the water itself. Maybe it was the fact that the water supposedly came from the fresh springs and not from the unfresh ground. Maybe it was the fact that apart from the spa, fitness center and lobby, we paid $2.50 a pop for a bottled water that came from Fuji.
Not to kill the metaphor to abruptly — but the two-day visit to Beford Springs Resort and Spa was smooth sailing and refreshing. And so I’m thinking a lot about water. No TV. One check of email. Page-turning books (American Wife and Instructing a Child’s Heart), a daughter who slept the whole way there and pretty much the whole way back. Rich conversations in the car with my husband.
Sure – J’s diaper leaked and poo seeped into the car base requiring a full-fledged cleaning upon arrival; J spit up on numerous carpets throughout the place – Ooze/I followed behind whiping what couldn’t be cleaned up with a burp rag into the carpet with a shoe. And we were all a little congested so sleep was interrupted with sneezes, coughing and the inevitable 2 a.m. feeding.
I always anticipated being surprised by what comes out of my mouth as a mother – but when Jelsa woke up from her nap the other day and I began singing “ding dong the witch is dead, which old witch?, the wicked witch!, ding dong the wicked witch is dead…” I was really surprised. Where did this Wizard of Oz song come from? A fun tune for sure, but we aren’t ready to introduce her to witchery just yet.