Monday morning

A bald eagle finishes his meal – a fish – in front of the sandbox

We’ve been up at the cottage over a week, though it seems like yesterday that William and I arrived and picked up Olivia from the airport a day later. I have done a few things but for the most part, I have been wrapped up in caring for my kids, taking care of their needs, ensuring they’re safe, separating them when they need to be apart, making sure they’re fed, and getting them to bed at a reasonable time. I have been lax about the eight in the morning bugle call, because I do savor the quiet moments in the morning sipping coffee and looking out on the lake.

It has been strange at the cottage without Beth or the Weavers – grandma and grandpa. Though, there have been times when the Weavers aren’t here, I have never been at the cottage over the Fourth of July alone. It’s odd. There have been many mornings when I’ve come down the staircase in summer’s early morning light and to find grandma sitting in her green chair sipping coffee overlooking the lake. It’s a peaceful view – in any season. Because of her shoulder surgery in June, she and grandpa haven’t been able to get up to the cottage. I know it tears at them almost as much as it does us. Grandma is home back in Versailles after spending a short time in a rehabilitation facility near our home in Wheaton. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and it was the wrong place for her. After 64 years of marriage, being apart from grandpa was tough for her to bear and even tougher for grandpa. Beth drove her home Saturday afternoon and Beth reported that you could hear the change in her voice the closer she got to home. There is something comforting about the drive across Indiana and down through Ohio that is restorative for more than just me. She’ll stay in the care center in town only a mile or so from the home she’s lived in for almost sixty years until she’s stronger and her shoulder has healed. Surgery zaps your energy and it takes a while to recover and get back into the swing of things. My mom is still healing from her surgery in April. I think of them often and pray they recover so they can pick up where they want to in their lives.

Sunday is like any other day at the cottage. We don’t attend church service when we are here, though we could if we wanted, we choose not to. There are sports on television including auto racing in the summer and football in the fall, but yesterday I watched the women’s World Cup game, USA vs. Brazil and left at halftime for errands in town hoping to catch the end of the game when I returned. I’m glad I did. What a barnburner. If you missed it, you missed an excellent game. I am not much of a soccer fan and I don’t understand the game very well, but I do enjoy watching soccer occasionally, especially when it is an important match like the World Cup. I was in France last year during the preliminary rounds of the men’s World Cup and Paris was eerily silent when they played Mexico, you could hear the groans in the street when Mexico scored and won. The women are on to the semifinals and I hope they play well enough to win and advance to the final. William even watched the final minutes of the match.

After the game was over, the kids took off down the lake where they played and swam the afternoon away. I watched the Indycar race from Toronto and drifted off in a short but efficient nap. I did a few odd jobs and skipped dinner, I had a big lunch and it had made me sleepy. The kids came home for dinner; Olivia finished the second half of her steak sandwich and William made his own.

William fishes, dreaming of the big one.

When we had gone to town, we stopped at Skip’s, the local bait and outdoors shop, for worms and advice. Olivia wanted to catch a big fish, a pike, and I had no idea how or where to catch it. The folks were helpful and it only cost us about ten bucks for a map, a couple of leaders, and a dozen worms. After dinner, Olivia asked if we could ‘go pikin.’ So, we loaded the boat and took off fishing. The lake had calmed down, it was smooth but mist hung in the forests surrounding the lake and it was cloudy and grey. William came along and dropped his line in the lake, too. Our lines were only in the lake a few minutes when Olivia, Queen of the Bluegill, announced she had something and she did – a small bass that was quickly back in the lake. Sadly, that was our catch for the night. We had a few nibbles but that was all. We spent a bit more than hour before we turned and headed home for the night. William piloted the boat back and he landed it expertly on the lift without getting wet!

The days go so quickly that unless I take time, it is easy to get lost in being here. The kids were sleepy and tired after a full day. They are just as tired at home during the school year but the exhaustion comes from a being at school and exercising the mind. Here, the kids are thinking and learning just as much here but in a different way, just like scout camp for William and the other scouts last week at Tesomas. I sent them off to bed and they protested a bit, but were quickly asleep. I stayed downstairs and wrote a much overdue thank you note to a student for a very thoughtful teacher gift. I had been waiting for the right time and Sunday night at the cottage was as good as any. Most of the thank you notes I write are short to the point thanking the student for the gift and their thoughtfulness. But, this student was a special student, the kind who teaches you almost as much you teach him, the one who makes a difference in my life and impacts how I think and teach. The note ended up being a letter and it goes in the mailbox this morning.

When I woke this morning, I looked out at the lake and saw grey skies and choppy waters. It would be a stormy day, a perfect day to pack up and head home for a couple of days. William and I have meetings and appointments Tuesday and we’ll be back Wednesday or at least that is the plan. As I looked out, I saw two bald eagles at the edge of the sand box eating something. I quickly took a picture with my phone and went downstairs for the camera. I was able to snap a few pictures before they flew off. It was a beautiful sight and seeing the eagles and the other wildlife that wander along in from the woods that are just part of the view, you never know what will be in the front window; and that is why grandma enjoys the morning looking out. It’s just not the same without the two of them up here.

I sipped my coffee and started the day. Today is gonna be a great day and the forecast for tomorrow is a million and six times better, so I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one summer memory at a time: what makes your morning or daily routine a special time for you?  

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