Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day and Movies

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day! 

Mine was the best ever (with the possible exception of the first one I got to spend as a mother with a five month old baby Aden in my arms, because there is nothing quite like certain firsts).  It was a day filled with lots of nice moments and bookended with movies.

My kids made me breakfast in bed, which as sweet as it was, actually put me in an uncomfortable quandary. 

They have breakfast in bed down to a kind of science, where they know to clean up the kitchen as part of the present, and they give thought to what might be too messy (for instance, they always serve me water in a water bottle to avoid spills).  This morning they served me this:

That's a bowl of clementines all peeled, and a couple of slices of something we call a David Eyer Pancake (that they baked themselves) along with an overabundance of powdered sugar on the side to sprinkle on it.  (There is also the aforementioned water bottle, a little bouquet of things from our front garden, and the appropriate silverware and a napkin all on a tray that belonged to my grandmother.  This is several steps up from when Aden was three and she served me an uncooked egg in the shell with a fork a flower.)

So what was the quandary?  Well, I'm doing 30 days again of no grains, dairy, legumes, or sugar.  I fell off that 'paleo' diet wagon a couple of months ago and my weight started to creep back up and my headaches returned.  I miss bread and cheese and chocolate but I can't take the headaches anymore.  I want to do a whole month off of those items again and then experiment with adding things back one at a time so I can pinpoint what my problem might be.  I'm on Day 13.  And my adorable children specially cooked me a meal of flour mixed with milk and garnished with pure sugar.  Do I choose my own self-imposed food rules, or create a Mother's Day exception?

I really agonized.  And then I told them I couldn't eat it.  I thanked them, and ate the clementines, and then asked if I could feed the David Eyer Pancake to them instead, which turned out to be fun.  I haven't lifted a fork to any of their mouths in years, so they pretended they were little birds and each took turns having bites until the plate was clean.  Then Aden made me an omelet--with a tiny bit of cheese.  That I decided to make an exception for because come on.  (Cheese was the first thing I was going to add back into my diet anyway, so why not.)

I also got some amazing gifts:

Quinn made me a tissue flower, Mona let me have the duct tape 'angel dragon' she made a couple of weeks ago that I've been admiring, and Aden bought a watch from Target and replaced the band with one she crocheted herself.  They all pitched in to make the card.  I don't even know how to describe how much I love all of this.

Next we sat on my bed and folded laundry while watching episodes of Phineas and Ferb.  (We call these "Fold Phineas and Ferb Parties" and it makes laundry a pretty enjoyable event in our house.)

Then I made all the kids get out of my bed for a while and gave some thought to what I would like to do that would be just for me for a change.  And I picked archery.  I took archery lessons back in 2005 just because it was always something I wanted to try, and I loved it.  Aden used to come with me in her pretty little dresses and help collect my arrows out of the hay bale targets at the public park and it was so cute.  But then Ian got deployed and that was the end of that.  My bow and arrows have been gathering dust ever since.

Using the bow stringer
Until today!  But it almost didn't happen just because it had been so long I didn't remember how to string up my recurve bow.  I turned to YouTube where several different people demonstrated stepping through the bow and bracing one of the limbs against a leg, etc. and none of it rang a bell.  I tried to copy what they were doing, but no luck.  Then I found a different guy who said the bracing against the leg method was the wrong way to go and he was leaving one end of the string slipped down a ways, bending the bow, and sliding that end all the way up into place.  That looked more familiar, but still no luck.  After about half an hour of messing with my bow and trying to jog my memory and getting ready to give up, I looked at one more video and found a guy who said what I really needed was a bow stringer.  A bow stringer....  That method involved hooking a string to each end of the bow and standing on it to pull the limbs far enough to slide one of the ends where it should be.  THAT was starting to look familiar.  So I went to my arrow quiver and emptied it out and I'll be damned if I don't own a bow stringer!  Ha!  The second I saw it, it all came back to me.  Nothing to it.

So off to the park!  My kids loved it there.  Aden and Quinn retrieved my arrows, Mona collected broken bits of balloon from around the targets and created some pretend cooking game with them.  The dog even had fun running free until it was time for me to shoot and it seemed safer to put him back on the leash.  I was pleased to discover my aim is actually not bad considering how long it's been.  I think next time I'm feeling down I will head back out to the range to clear my head.  There's something nice about concentrating on an activity that is simple but not easy.

Perfect weather, perfect company, and I got a chance to do something with no purpose other than it's enjoyable.  Can't ask for a better Mother's Day than that.

After the park we got the kids a pizza and left Aden in charge of everyone while Ian and I went to a movie.  We've been experimenting more often with leaving them on their own for short stretches and they do fine.  It still makes me nervous and will take some getting used to, but the idea that we have the freedom to escape to a movie from time to time is a wonderful new thing.

Now, the movies at each end of my day could not have been more different.  In the morning I watched Melancholia on my laptop, and in the afternoon Ian and I went to see The Avengers in the theater.  Melancholia is about the world ending with no hope of saving it and some question about whether it even matters.  The Avengers is about saving the world and it's all very self-important.  Melancholia moves in a slow and deliberate way, with music by Wagner to imbue everything with a gorgeous sense of tragedy, and it made me cry.  The Avengers was all explosions and smashy smashy cool things to see and it made me laugh.  Melancholia was calm as the world ended.  The Avengers was frantic as it was saved. 

I don't know if I can recommend Melancholia because it's haunting, and once you've seen it you can't unsee it.  I don't want to be responsible for someone else having to ponder elements of it the way I seem to be.  It's beautiful, but painful.  The Avengers I would recommend purely for Hawkeye shooting aliens with arrows--sometimes without even looking (man, do I need practice!)--but also the Hulk hitting things and Robert Downey Jr being born to play Tony Stark.  It's all so silly, but the best kind of silly.

My day also included cooking with my kids and my husband, watching my kids make things out of modeling chocolate, walking with them to Target, playing games with them on the computer, seeing them bike, hearing them laugh, and just being proud that I have any connection to these lovely little people at all.  My life with them isn't the extremes I saw in either movie.  It's just right.  And I'm the luckiest mom in the world.


  1. Sounds like a perfect mother's day! And I think you did the right thing by refusing the breakfast (even though it was prepared with love and good intentions). After all, it was *your* day, and you deserved to treat yourself right -- including the little cheese cheat. (Plus, I"m sure your kids were more than happy to eat the pancake.)

    I'm going to add Melancholia to my Netflix queue. Love me a good apocalyptic movie.

    1. Let me know what you think of it when you see it. It's not really like any other movie I've ever seen, and the little boy in it really got to me because he reminded me so much of Quinn all the way from his gentle demeanor right down to the freckles on his nose. Hard to watch a story that denies such a boy a place or a reason in the universe.

  2. Better than an uncooked egg! (but I applaud your focus on your health above all)
    I plan to see both Melancholia and the Avengers. Maybe simultaneously on side-by-side screens.

    1. Good lord, I'm trying to picture what it would be like having those two films running side by side, The Avengers literally screaming for your attention and Melancholia looking like a still photo.

  3. Sounds like a beautiful day! Think you made the right choice with breakfast, what if it had ended up making you feel like crud on your special day, though I am QUITE impressed with your kiddos culinary skills!

  4. You are truly a renaissance woman...violin maker, archer, writer, weird fruit expert...Hope you had a great the cooking skills of the kids :)

  5. Glad you had an awesome Mother's Day. I've never done Archery but it looks like it would be kind of fun to do, especially being alone or just "quiet time" since it's a solo activity. I saw The Avengers mother's day night too and loved it. Robert Downey Jr. really is meant to be Tony Stark. LOL


    1. Archery is fun! That and playing pool are things I wish I could do enough to get really good at. (I guess I like aiming at things.)

      Robert Downey Jr was great. I don't think many people could pull off the role of super-hero-genius-billionaire-philanthropist, because he really straddles the arrogant jerk line while managing to remain charming. Glad you enjoyed it too!