What does dirt taste like? I thought my son was past the stage of tasting every curious object under-nose, but dirt seems to hold a certain appeal. We kicked off the unofficial start to summer last weekend with a trip to Lake Casitas, just outside Ojai, for camping and boating. Perhaps it’s just Baby Joseph’s close proximity to the ground, or maybe the many twigs, grasses, flowers and rocks peppering the landscape give the soil below a mysteriously savory appeal, but we spent much of our time—on land, anyway—chasing a baby bent on tasting this world.
Preconceived notions and romantic expectations are the cracker crumbs in the bed-linens of life. Dreams and fantasies of what “should be” inevitably lead to disappointment, and a missed opportunity to appreciate what is. For example, when I met Joseph, I simply focused on the joy I experienced merely in giving him love. I let go of worry about whether my ardor would be requited, whether I would “get” for everything I was giving. What I received would be a bonus, an unexpected delight. In fact, he returned–tenfold–what I gave and I was amazed.
Ok, so that was vague, but what I’m getting at is that when it comes to Mother’s Day, I’ve struggled with feelings of entitlement, expectations of Belgian waffle brunches and appointments for spa treatments. When my son is old enough, I plainly expect a handmade card, wilty garden-plucked flowers and burnt toast served to me on a tray in bed. (Note to self: put on a pretty, picture-perfect nightgown-and-robe ensemble, like the lady in the Hallmark commercial.)
When I brought this up, my husband asked the ladies at work if scheduling our camping and boating trip on Mother’s Day weekend was ill-timed. They (grandmothers, all of them! Decades of waffles and handmade cards under their [robe] belts!) agreed that time spent with family was an ideal choice, be it by land or by sea. (Or, lake, in our case.)
So, to Lake Casitas…
Enclosed in a little nylon dome atop a grassy hill overlooking the glistening bay, we watched our son cheerfully navigate over pillows and sleeping bags, stopping to examine zipper closures and the contents of small pockets on sides of backpacks. We witnessed the brazen confrontation of the big-kid slide, conquered without a hint of trepidation. We enjoyed trouble-free hours floating on the picturesque lake, and counted ourselves among the lucky ones. But this did not comprise Mother’s Day. This was another example of that “tenfold” of giving my husband lavishes. The weekend began, in fact, with a trip to the salon. We three were treated to new hairstyles, and the weekend closed with–you guessed it–brunch in Ojai. We ate at The Garden Terrace, where Chef Pat created some incredibly wonderful treats for moms and their families. My husband and son presented me with a gift each day: first, 15 magnetic rocks symbolizing the 15 months I’ve been a mother; second, a pink stone cross necklace (an astonishing gesture considering that my husband does not share my faith); and after brunch, a leather-bound “Mother’s Day Book” to hold messages from my husband and son each and every Mother’s Day. On our son’s behalf, Joseph had completed the first entry. I can’t tell you how touched I was, and am, to receive it. OK, before I am accused of bragging about how sweet a life I live, please understand I am floored by how loving and thoughtful one man can be—and I’m so thankful for everything he does. The Hallmark lady can keep her breakfast in bed.