Category Archives: Motherhood

REMEMBRANCE OF A SIMPLER TIME

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Katie fishing at the lake in the woods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When my kids were young, we used to spend our summer weekends camping with friends at Lake-in-Wood, a beautiful campground set in a densely wooded area just outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Our friends had two girls just the same age as ours, so you can imagine the fun they had together exploring the campground, swimming in the pool, fishing in the pond, browsing around the general store or playing bingo. There was always some kind of fun activity going on, and it was a magical place to experience.

Catch of the day!

Megan and Jill

When night fell, we would light a campfire and gather round to cook hot dogs or make smores and watch the girls do twirling routines with brightly colored sparklers. We’d talk and laugh and even sing sometimes, much to the girls’ chagrin! And the night sky was breathtaking – I’ve never seen a sky more brilliant with stars than in those days at that place. At bedtime we would douse the last ember of the crackling fire and turn in to be lulled to sleep by the sounds of crickets and tree frogs.  Some nights were louder than others depending on the creatures of the night.

Then – Katie, Jill, Megan and Jamie at the Freeze and Frizz

Sometimes we would venture out to the local shops and markets or we would visit educational places like the One Room School House, a working farm to learn more about the Amish culture or travel the Strasburg Railroad.  Horses and buggies traveled up and down the hilly roads, and the farms were meticulously patched into the countryside.  Houses were neatly kept with gorgeous gardens laden with brilliant arrays of flowers, and freshly hung laundry blew in the crisp, clean air. It was such a quaint and lovely place to explore.  The weekend wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the local Freeze and Frizz for the girl’s favorite grilled cheese and cheese fries with a milk shake.  And a few times over the summer we would visit the Shady Maple Smorgasbord to feast on a wide variety of Amish dishes. There were so many special memories of such a precious place and time.

Now – Katie and Jamie at Katie’s Kitchen (aka Freeze and Frizz)

Time has marched on, and the girls are now grown. Life has changed so very much since then. Recently my friend Jane and her daughter Jamie, my daughter Katie and I decided to go back and revisit the old haunts we used to know not so very long ago.  We were sad Jill and Megan couldn’t join us. We didn’t camp this time but stayed in a hotel. It was exciting to venture out and visit the old places we used to know. The Freeze and Frizz is now Katie’s Kitchen! But the Amish boy sculpture with the pigs and barrel are still there, and the grilled cheese, cheese fries and milk shakes are surprising just as good as we remembered! The Shady Maple Smorgasbord has quadrupled its size with 200 feet of smorgasbord and seating for 2,000.  The main drag in Lancaster now sports all the modern establishments like Wal-Mart, Taco Bell and Olive Garden among other chains. It was mind-boggling to see how commercialized certain places have become. But touring the countryside and shops with the familiar sights and sounds, seeing the horses and buggies and smelling the familiar scents like cinnamon rolls and handmade vanilla/caramel candles brought us back to the time we knew well.  It was a feast for body and soul, and we enjoyed getting lost in the quaintness of it all once more. We laughed until we cried remembering the comical things that happened way back when.

Katie and Jamie feeding the ducks at Kings Homestead.

In some ways everything seems to have changed but in another it has all stayed the same. The cultures of the Amish and Mennonites hold dear their past customs and way of life, and for that I am thankful.  It is because of these traditions that most of what we knew in the past is still the same today. We were able to go back and recapture a part of our happier past when our children were young and our families together. And my heart ached in remembrance of a simpler time when the most precious thing in the world was sitting around the warmth of a campfire talking and laughing with our families and friends all together in one loving embrace.

Dedicated to Katie, Megan, Jamie, Jill and Jane

 

 

 

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THE GIRLS ARE BACK IN TOWN!

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Man, I love my daughters! One lives North and the other South, so on those rare occasions when we meet in the middle, it’s like Christmas morning and the Fourth of July all rolled into one.  There’s nothing that makes me prouder than watching my two beautiful firecrackers exploding into the world and enriching the universe with their magnificent colorful gifts. 

So let me humor you with some cheesy but heartfelt karaoke in their honor to the tune of  Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town.”

Guess who just got back today?!

Them wild-eyed girls that had been away

Haven’t changed, but had a lot to say

I love those chicks so much its crazy

 

One comes from the North and one from the South

So it was awesome to meet them Downtown

That’s Downtown in Red Bank where they could be found

Driving all the young men crazy

 

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

I said

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

 

You know that Meg used to dance a lot

Recital time she’d be on the floor shaking what she’d got

Man, when I tell you she was cool, she was red hot

I mean she was steaming

 

And that Katie, wow, the way she kicked a ball

That other team would rise and then they’d fall

Man, she’d be scoring all over the place

If that chick didn’t win she’d get crazy

 

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

I said

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

 

Spread the word around

Guess who’s back in town

You spread the word around

 

From babes to women they have grown

Man, those childhood days have flown

I miss them so much my heart stops

I kiss and squeeze them til their heads pop

 

One’s a teacher, one’s into art

Man, those girls are so pretty and so smart

How much I love them I’m not lying

They’ll be off again and I’ll be crying

 

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

Spread the word around

The girls are back in town

The girls are back in town

The girls are back, the girls are back

The girls are back in town again

 

Been hangin’ down at Mama’s den

The girls are back in town again

MOTHERHOOD

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From the moment the once enticing fragrances of coffee brewing or burgers grilling sends you running to the toilet to hurl your cookies, motherhood challenges you. Suddenly eating saltines before you rise is a prerequisite and laying in a sea of cracker crumbs becomes a way of life.  Your boobies start hurting, the scale takes an unprecedented leap and veins pop up like roadmaps in your legs.  But nine months later after nine agonizing hours of labor and an emergency C-section, there she is.  All pink and wide-eyed and fragile as a baby bird looking up at you as if to say, “I hope you know what you’re doing.”

Fact is, you don’t.  And it’s a little scary at first. Should I lay her on her back or her side or stomach – do I have too many covers on her – is she hungry or thirsty – did I eat today – is she hot or is she cold – why is she screaming – is she wet or dry – did she poop AGAIN – how does this diaper work – when do I get to take my shower? Ah, where is Dr. Spock when you need him?  But somehow you manage when intuition kicks in.  Suddenly you know what to do, and the baby flashes that toothless grin at your melting heart as if to say, “Way to go, Mom.  Good job!”

Infancy flashes by in a wink of an eye.  Before you know it, they are two years old and running away from you with their ponytails flapping in the breeze. A petulant “NO” becomes the only word in their vocabulary. You’re thinner than you’ve ever been in your life for all the chasing you do. But then they go off to kindergarten and you get to sit down once in awhile…until the second one comes along…then it’s no holds barred.

Now they’re in school and you’re working and driving them to dancing lessons, soccer and lacrosse games, cheerleading and birthday parties and life is screaming by at the speed of light. The house is a mess and laundry never gets done because by the time you return home you fall into bed and crash to sleep. Grade school, middle school and high school are all whizzing by and you’re tired and wish you had a life of your own.

Then you take them to college and squeeze them so tightly they can’t breathe and tears are pouring from your eyes, and you can’t stop them.  They graduate, they get careers and they’re off on their own, and you sit with that life of your own you wanted so badly where you can do anything you want, and now you can’t remember why or what that actually is.

You want to go back and hold that little baby one more time and read her “I Was So Mad” or “Goodnight Moon” as you sit together in the rocking chair.  You want to watch Sesame Street with them and color and play Barbies and have a tea party or a lemonade stand where they sell cheese doodles and fruit punch.  But that time is gone – in a wink of an eye.

Motherhood – it’s exhausting and amazing and the best thing you’ll ever do with your life…that is until Grandmotherhood comes along.

My beautiful girls – Katie and Megan.