Over the weekend, I think I overheard Nancy and Alan on Skype ask Aaron if there was still snow on the ground. Ah, the cruelty that is everywhere else but Alaska in March! I have forgotten about spring. Even North Dakota is in the eighties, I hear.
Aaron went for a long ski last week and took this shot. This is what ten days until April is looking like for us. It’s a low of –5 tonight. Please, someone just feel sorry for me.
To stay warm and cozy, we took the Piehs up on their generous offer to spread the free-hockey-ticket love and went to see the Kenai River Bears take on some team from California. We had to leave after the second quarter (two-year-olds and their bed times) and I still need to find out from Mandy who won.
Clara and Bekah enjoyed eating snacks and discussing the goalie’s form.
During every home game, when the Bears first score, some unnamed audience member throws a real frozen salmon onto the rink. It’s pretty crazy what people do with salmon around here—grill it up for their dogs, throw it at hockey players. It’s a bountiful state.
Earlier that week, Clara had her informal birthday party, first, at the Moose is Loose and then on to Jumpin’ Junction. Kelsey and Anna and the Piehs minus Keith joined us. I still made her eat a bran muffin, even though it was her birthday, mostly because she has yet to go tantrum on me for a chocolate covered donut instead. Jumpin’ Junction is the only indoor play area for kids in Soldotna, if you don’t include the toy section of Fred Meyer and the open tiled area between Payless and GNC in the mostly-abandoned mall. Fortunately, Jumpin’ Junction is amazing—so many of those inflated bouncy things that every kid loves.
Clara and I navigated our way through the obstacle course. This picture isn’t totally fair because for the two hours or so that we played at JJ, Aaron was taking Clara around for at least 1:45 minutes of that time while I talked to my friends. At the end, however, Clara was walking around and calling “Mom!” (she mostly calls me “mom”), insisting that I squeeze my big ole pregnant belly through those purple things.
Then, on Sunday, I was born 32 years ago! Not joking—Aaron cooked and did dishes all day long. We got a free turkey around Thanksgiving for spending lots of money at Fred Meyer and finally defrosted the bird. So, we had turkey and mashed potatoes and corn and this beautiful work of culinary art performed by Aaron.
As if it wasn’t enough that Aaron slaved all day in the kitchen while I played tea party with Clara, he went ahead and proved that he is the most secure man I’ve ever known and indulged all my dirty secrets come present time.
First, there is Bruce, who is pretty much a muscled, sweaty version of the gospel for me. Aaron picked up the new album for us and we spent the evening rockin’ out to “Shackled and Drawn” and “You’ve Got It.” I spent at least twenty minutes reading the album notes with the occasional alert, “Aaron, he spends a whole page honoring Clarence!” and “I wonder if Jess is his daughter” and “Baby, I need your heart—isn’t that a great lyric?”
Next, heeding my request that all Christmas and birthday presents help me accomplish the vision I have of myself, Aaron continued to pamper me with subversive texts and wrapped up the official manifesto on the mad housewife. I never read this when I was supposed to and have found it to be a very interesting complement to my next gift . . .
A book that I thought was a general, impartial look at modern marriage. Gotta be careful with that fine print; Haag’s “rewriting the rules” is a bit too revisionist for my tastes. Turns out, her new monogamy isn’t very monogamous at all. Initially, Aaron said there was no way he was going to buy me this book but the included note explained his sudden reversal:
“For Sherry. Because I trust you, information should be free, and conversation is the foundation of intimacy.”
I do love that man. So, every morning over coffee we’ve talked about why happiness is such a big deal and why, despite not always feeling rich and lucky, we still love us. I fondly remember when my sister came to visit once and she commented, “Man, you two sure talk a lot.” It’s just so hard to have a book like this sitting on your coffee table and not have anything to say.
Not pictured here would be this here blog in hardback. My prime present was all these thoughts and pictures en route from screen to something I can hold in my hands and probably pass on to Clara one day so she’ll always have some of us “wherever she goes.”
My second prime present was the card. I love that I still get to be the sunshine because there are some days when I worry that my “honey, will you’s” and “honey, would you mind’s” are like fat, wet raindrops slowly raining on, if not flooding, our confined living space. Sometimes I worry that my worry is like the fog and my second-trimester outbursts are our thunderstorms. Sometimes I worry I’m not shining anymore. But, on my birthday, with all of you in my heart, with Clara unwrapping my presents, with Aaron singing “happy birthday,” I felt like a bright clear day where flowers feel like blooming and visibility is at 100%.