The tiny light particle feels infinitely vast today as my mom flies home to Oregon. It is, unfortunately, an early departure. But I understand... colds, and discomfort are never in anyone's travel plans, and so we do what we can, hope for the best. This might not be an ideal moment for me to write a post about a birthday, about friends, and celebration, because I am feeling sad about how far away Oregon is, and Hawaii, even the Central Coast. I am thinking about how nice it would be to travel, like light, to see my brothers, and other family, anytime, on a whim... an afternoon playing Scrabble in Wisconsin, an hour collecting driftwood from the beach at Bullards. I could drop in and visit Hans and Gretchen's new home, see the parade of feral pigs, and truly free-range chickens that cross their yard. I'd love to do Christmas tree shopping with Bill and Alison, Dom and Marissa. Long visits are nice, but not a luxury we can always afford. I miss the chance meetings, crossing paths, frequent, regular visits, without an agenda, or flights to catch. No reservations, no problem, if we could travel like light, or at least live in the same few-hundred mile radius.
Fortunately, while Delia was here, we made the most of her visit. We caught up on newsy things, solved world problems etc... jajaja. Well, we got dishes, laundry, and shopping done, at least! We prepared a fabulous and cozy Thanksgiving, visited the park, ran away to join the circus, fit three boys with new shoes, and rang in the holidays watching Elf! And, sweetly, she was here to enjoy some of Maria's birthday, helping us prepare, enjoying the accounting of all the fun, and filling us up with Mom-Grandma affection and kindnesses.
Now, about that birthday fun... well, it was indeed a fun celebration. Start to finish. Maria "suffered" to settle on a theme... no shortage of great ideas makes these decisions difficult. Eventually, she decided to go with Imaginary Play... a sort of Middle Zealand theme. She has a lot of friends, but there is smaller circle who love to write stories, and they have one particular narrative that they have been living in since summer. There are so many details, and subplots, they've taken to making maps, and illustrating scenes and characters. She couldn't resist the idea of bringing her friends together for a long day of playing and storytelling, while crafting imaginary worlds in gingerbread and gardens.
Here are more moments from Maria's 11th birthday celebration~
Following sugar and icing, we moved on to soil, sand, and succulents. Holly was terrific help here, plus this was just a very receptive and enthusiastic gardening bunch. Maria asks, "What was your favorite part?" and the answer is "Seeing all the little gardens take shape, watching how engrossed everyone was in picking their plants, and mushrooms, arranging everything." Izzy and Ruth definitely have the landscaping bug, and Paul couldn't resist playing, either! Fairy gardens, terrariums... I give them a green thumb-up for party activity fun and value. Heavy, wide mouthed dishes were found for 99 cents, succulents grow quickly, easily, and many little starters are found together, even in the tiniest pots. It takes surprisingly little to create very elegant, lovely planters. We all found ourselves peering contentedly into the pots, enjoying the small worlds created.
So, as was my original intention in blogging, I am sharing a lot... pictures and words, to stay in touch with loved ones, both far, and near.
Once Maria chose her theme, and made her guest list, she added one more request, and she asked, "Is it alright if Max asks his friends to come, so they can enjoy a game of Magic? I think they would enjoy that." They did come, and they did enjoy playing. And after gifts, and more games, and running around, carrot cake, hide and seek, goats escapades, even an impromptu pirate chapter, there were group hugs and thanks.