Posted in Maine

Fresh Air and Joy

Fresh air, time spent completely off the grid, and the ability to give Craig, Katie, and Matthew my undivided attention brought me tremendous joy this week.

I took no fewer than 4,839 photos in four days of camping, but I’ll go easy on you and just share a handful (okay,a huge handful!).

Matthew, waiting patiently as we set up the campsite…

There’s something about camping that brings Katie a sense of peace…she is so at ease and happy…

Matthew is so in love with his new shoes, he would barely let us take them off…

Why yes, Matthew is wearing Katie’s hand-me-down pajamas. Don’t judge! I looked everywhere for footed fleece jammies and it turns out you can’t find them in August. Go figure. Just focus on the sweet doughnut faces.

Oh, sugar, where have you been all my life?

The best seat in the house…

You really can’t beat three trucks from Target’s dollar aisle…

…unless it’s a balloon on a rubber band. Does anyone remember these? So much fun!

He acts like I never put the camera down or something…

Let the sand throwing commence…

Sand between my toes will forever make me homesick for Maine…

I melt… (note the sand in the corners of his mouth he ate a peck, at least!)

…and I melt some more…

Boundless joy…

Did I mention I melt?

Some of you asked how Katie reacted to all of that sugar she consumed while camping. Here’s your answer…

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for peeking!

There is something about camping that soothes our souls and recharges us as a family. So much joy.

Now, it’s your turn! What brought you joy this week? Please share!

Waiting and Willing

The humidity was thick and clung to my skin, pink from too much sun.

My golden hair hung down my back, the undermost strands stuck to my skin, trapped in the baby fat folds of my neck.

Humid, sticky summer afternoons meant Fla-Vor-Ice pops.

There was a ritual to it, one that defined the summers of my early childhood.

We waited while my mother took a kitchen knife and sliced of the top quarter of an inch of each pop.  We ate those hard, fruity bits there in the dark, cool refuge of the kitchen.

We would then run outside, thanks yous floating over our shoulders, where we would lay our two Flo-Vor-Ice pops on our sun-washed brown front steps, open end resting on the door jamb to prevent spilling, certain that they would melt faster in the full sun.  My mother allowed us two each. I always chose red, the other purple, sometimes green.  We never called them by their flavors, cherry, grape, lime.

We would lay them out and desperately try to wait to eat them.  Our routine never varied…we would eat our second-favorite first, letting the other soften to near-slush consistency.  They would glisten in the intense sunshine as the frost would begin to thaw, first where our fingertips had held them, then around the edges.

We were never terribly patient, which meant that the first pop was fairly firm, with just a tiny bit of the juice left to sip at the end.  We would upend the long tubes, draining every last drop of sugary, syrupy sweetness into our mouths.

Then we would wait, poking at the remaining pops, willing them to soften.  We’d press our fingers against them, testing them for give.  Then we’d flip them over and try to distract ourselves, allowing them time to soften.

When our pops were finally squishy enough, they were slushy and slid across our tongues, into our cheeks, and down our throats.  Anticipated for so long, yet gone in seconds.

My memories of waiting and willing those Fla-Vor-Ice pops to soften are some of the happiest of my childhood.

Pure childhood joy.

I still buy a box of Fla-Vor-Ice pops every summer, so eager to recapture that innocent joy of childhood.  I eat no more than four or five of them and the rest just sit until the next summer, when I replace them with my new box.

Just a glimpse of the red, purple, and green pops in the freezer takes me back to those long, humid, summer afternoons where our biggest concern was whether or not our pops were squishy enough to eat.

The meaning is no longer in the pop itself, but in the vivid memory of my mother in the kitchen, the anticipation of the pop, and in the savoring of every moment.

This post was inspired by this week’s writing prompt over at The Red Dress Club, which invited us to write about one of two photos.  I chose this one.

Where I’m From…

I am from steaming breakfasts of golden, crispy bird’s nests with magnificent runny yolks, from impossibly weak Maxwell House coffee and pre-dawn moments of true connection.

I am from the salmony pink-shingled house on the corner, drafty, sunny, and melancholy. Three front steps, ever in need of fresh paint, slightly wobbly from the destructive frosting and heaving of the long and brutal winter.

I am from the unkempt clusters of lilacs, scattered dandelions gone to seed, tendrils of fuchsia bleeding hearts, stolen  and fragile jack-in-the pulpits, and haphazard bouquets of fringed chrysanthemums.  

I am from high school diplomas and honest work, from Robert and Max and Judy.  Vegetable gardens of diligence and abundance, encouragement and acceptance, freedom and wild brambly raspberries.   

I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt.

From uncanny paternal resemblance and from the weight of the loss of my father placed upon my childhood.  A stand in, but never a replacement.

I am from bean suppers on Saturday evenings. Cream pies, Jello salads, blue hair, and integrity and kindness.

I am from the intersection of Catholicism and Northern Baptist. Where the Trinity meets God and Jesus.  Where faith meets practice.

I’m from New England, Maine, Fairfield, tourtiere pie and sticky, chocolatey whoopie pies.  

From the legacy of my father’s senseless murder, my Pépère’s faintly beer-scented breath, his ever-present and lovely banjo, Hawaiian melodies, and his tender and loving soul.  

I am from the cedar hope chest, tiny golden key, idyllic dreams, childhood report cards, penmanship awards, and two unlikely college graduation caps and gowns.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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