December 16, 2013
As I sit at the computer this morning, a light snow is peppering down, the roads are slick and icy, area officials have closed schools, and I've decided it will be a stay-at-home day as I sink into my first real winter break day at home --a PJs day for sure, at least until Mac, MerryBelle, and I venture out for our walk around the farm.
As is every year, this one's been a fitting cross-section of life, complete with births, passages, accomplishments, surprises and multitudes of blessings. Dear ones have taken flight into the world of spirit: my beloved mentor / friend, Brian Dendle; my dear friend and colleague, Sandie Wilson, and my dad's oldest sister, Mildred Smith. Uncle Frank Randall's been through some testy days with radiation, and dear Linda Dauber courageously continues her difficult journey with PSP. Each has graced my life with wisdom, friendship and love, and today I think about them as I reflect on the past months.
In 2013, we've welcomed Lori and Chris's little Amelia Rose Mary into the fold of the farm family, and I finally got to meet Nate Potash, Brett and Betsey's little guy. He and I formed an immediate bond, and I so hope he gets to spend more time with me here at the farm as he gets older. As I watch these little ones, along with Meera and Eric's son, Nayan, grow via iPhone messages, Facebook pics and family blogs, I recognize my role of Farm Family Grandma / Auntie T becomes ever much more special with each year.
The summer held some great moments here at the Farm. Samuel came home for the first time in 2 1/2 years, and his visit coincided with that of Andrew's vacation back to the States from Japan. As I listened to two young men who have been friends from birth in conversation on the deck, I felt a great sense of nostalgia, for many summers of two little boys playing everything from Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles to water slides in the side yard flashed in front of my eyes. Yes, I would return to those days in a minute just to have those boys running around the farm with a little Eliza close behind. Sweet, sweet memories of three children who grew up and continue to grow together.
Samuel moved from Washington, DC, to Chicago this fall to pursue his career as a writer. The perfect job has yet to come to him; however, he's cranking out some pretty great literature as he begins his novel. Andrew returned to Japan, where he will finish out his 4th year there with the JET program. He has yet to define his next move after this school year comes to an end, but he's pumping out some pretty great pottery while in Japan. These two brother friends are full of creativity, as they have always been. Stay tuned for great things for each.
(Andrew Sartorius & Samuel Wilder - August, 2013)
Likewise, as I watched Eliza board the airplane for her summer in France, I was overwhelmed with the beauty and grace of the young woman into which she has transformed. Her experience there took me back to the summer of 1974, when I spent a life-changing summer in Spain. Her experience in France confirmed her confidence and ability to communicate in French, as well as her adventuresome side, traveling the last week and a half of her stay alone. This fall, Eliza began her senior year (!) at the University of Cincinnati as a chemistry major with an eye toward a MS degree in Cosmetic Sciences via the graduate school of Pharmaceuticals at UC. She's another one to watch for exciting future prospects. We've got our fingers crossed for her to receive a pretty lucrative internship with L'Oreal this summer.
(Eliza in France - July 2013)
Meanwhile back at The Farm, the two corgis and I hold down the fort. We have a great time here - walking around in the woods, playing stick, putzing around in the garden, growing flowers, watching birds, porch sitting, and generally breathing in life. I have one more year to teach before I retire, and at the moment, I have a mile long list of things I can do when that moment arrives. More than likely, I'll just take some time to do nothing and figure out what comes next. A great part of my thoughts centers around the blessings of family, health, and home that become more dear with each day. I live in complete happiness; there is really nothing about which I can complain. I'm grateful for many friends, for moments of silly play with Mac and MerryBelle, for my beautiful Mom's good health and love, my sister's love, and for time spent outdoors in awe of the Earth.
(The photo of the three of us was taken at our Shook family reunion this past summer. A smaller group convened, but we still had enough folks to fill the Matney Community Center, as well as enough food to feed an army!)
(Mac and MerryBelle - This is their favorite time of year)
Love, love, love......Tanya