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Exposed Roots.

Yesterday was a cool morning, opening up into a warm afternoon.

It was reminiscent of those perfect New England summer days I experienced as a kid, before terms like “global warming” were to my knowledge. It used to seem to me that weather followed a fairly predictable pattern back in the 80s and 90s. March came in like a lion and out like a lamb, like clockwork. It didn’t snow until December at least, and the sweltering heat didn’t come until June. In fact it was often first hot during our middle or high school graduations making us sweat under our heavy black gowns. It was June when the temperature rose to 80 or even 90. It didn’t happen on some random March day, only to be followed by a freak snowstorm in May.

I don’t know how much of this was my childhood perception of things, or what really happened. It was what it was.

Recently I’ve been buried under a pile of things. Hundreds of photos to edit. Two or three overdue library books to finish reading. Blogging connections to maintain and create. A DVR list of shows to catch up on, that was at one point 14 shows long. And no, I don’t watch 14 shows. There were doubles and triples in there. It’s been a few weeks now and only in the last few days have I noticed a sizable chunk taken out of that pile. And that’s the enjoyable stuff! There is also good old-fashioned work in there, as well as lots of kid baths and meals and playtime. Oh, and I taught Des to hum the theme from “Peter and the Wolf.” I hope to have a video of it soon.

You’re welcome in advance, for that.

Now that my catchup pile of both work and non-work, but totally important-to-my-well-being things is lessening, I find myself panicked at the thought of the opposite – nothing to do. Too much time on my hands. And really I know that’s not even possible because I will always keep taking photos and taking out library books (if they’ll let me at this point!) and I’ll keep finding shows and movies I want to watch, all the while, I will have never-ending mountains of laundry to do and pile-ups of dishes, and just those times in which I stop everything else just to cuddle with a kid or two. And I know it’s not possible to run out of tons of things to do because I will always have projects to dream up and complete. I am afraid to have nothing looming on my horizon. I thrive on being busy.

And I plan for several dates with friends and/or their kids a week.

Sometimes it’s ok to stop what I’m doing and to let my mind slow and wander. It’s important to let the thoughts and feelings rush over me so rapidly, as if they were waiting in the wings for their first chance to seep out. And so it goes on these cool mornings that open up into warm afternoons that I am reminded of my maternal grandparents. One still alive, so strong, but sedentary these days. My grandfather nearly a year gone. A whole world that is closed or only closing, and a new generation opening up. Des and Scarlet are taking the baton and becoming New England kids. As I never actually was, but for a precious week or so every summer until college.

You never forget those cool, open-windowed nights.

With these thoughts yesterday morning, I felt exposed as if a cool breeze ran through my clothing and my skin. I got to the preschool on time for Scarlet’s drop off and as I led her by the hand, with a sturdy Des and a rickety lunchbox in the other hand, we heard a sound like a bomb. An explosive sound, followed by the sound of women I know and care for screaming their children’s names and running towards the noise. What was it? A very large tree limb falling into the playground and crushing the metal fence. There were three girls about 8-10 feet away but they ran away towards their mothers and no one was harmed. We were all shaken up and teary-eyed for awhile and it was hard to leave Scarlet at school. The sound will never leave my memory. Although everything was fine, it was the sound of panic and horror just the same. The potential. Tragedies do happen on schoolyards, now more than ever it seems. And yesterday I learned to fear the trees, or at least think about them as a potential danger, and I had never done that before.

At that point, I was no longer just exposed. I felt open and raw. I still do. It will take a bit for the painful roots to be buried again.


Meanwhile, while I dig away at my mountain of unseen photos…I find that these speak to me in my current state:

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  1. I love your writing. It just seeps into me the way those feelings must seep into you. And I understand that pinch of pain of letting Scarlet go and letting your grandfather go – in a different kid of way.

  2. So many horrible things happening, we've had our own very heartbreaking share of murders last week here in GA…but it has everyone extra panicky. I love the photos and they are nicely matched with the post. The kid is perfect for your blog!

    1. Thanks, girls! Yes it took me a full 24 hours to "come down" from it. I do feel better today. I'm glad it didn't linger. Probably because no one got hurt and there was no crime or malice involved.

  3. Oh, I would have felt the exact same way if I were experiencing that. Considering danger where you hadn't noticed it before – the unexpected dangers are sometimes the most unsettling. I love those cool, open window nights. It is neat to think of my children putting down roots and remembering them someday, too.

    1. And trees are probably pretty dangerous. I haven't researched the statistics – not ready for that. As my husband says, we are in danger every day that we put ourselves and our children in cars.

  4. I remember those days when everything was just right and tragedies were far few and in between. I carry a little spot of hope in my heart that we'll get to experience those days again.I love that you take time to relax and pace yourself, instead of getting totally overwhelmed by the long list of things to do!

    1. Thank you. I'm learning! As Anne Lamott's book says, "Take it bird by bird." It really helps to think of things as sizable and manageable chunks, instead of looking at the whole endgame and feeling dizzy. I struggle with that.

  5. I am enjoying a JUne morning and then rushing to get puppies to poop and then enjoying the June morning! You said all of this perfectly!

  6. WOW! What a blessing that no one was hurt! I would have had a hard time with drop off after that too. For what it's worth, my weather memories jive with yours. 🙂

    1. I'm glad to hear! I didn't think I was the only one imagining it. Last night we had a thunderstorm and a lot of my friends were nervous and admitted anxiety at storms is a new thing. Ever since we've had week long power outages from snow and rain in the last year or two.

    1. Yup! There always has been and there always will be. I'm amazed at how we do this parenting thing with relatively cool heads. I say "relatively" on my end.

  7. You're spot on about the weather. It's definitely not how I remembered it to be. It's like Mother Nature is very confused.I get what you mean about being busy and trying to be. It is ok to stop and just be :)I'm glad that no one was hurt. I can't believe that happened. I would have felt the same way. Good lord.

    1. I feel like superstorms and snow in the fall and northeast hurricanes and tornados are all signs of these changing times. It's impossible to deny it, although I'm pretty sure there are people that do!

  8. Girl, I am terrified to send my 4 year old to preschool. Like literally terrified. I am sick to my stomach scared about the transition…all the school crazy that is happening in the world, its hard. But its necessary. This pics of Des are amazing as usual. Stay strong.

    1. It's so scary. I've come to expect bad things, which is ridiculous. Yesterday it was rainy so the kids were dismissed from a room upstairs. That is normal but it hadn't been a rainy day on a day my daughter goes to preschool in ages so the change shook me up. I walked in to find their normal classroom dark and empty, and I admit, I got a bit upset.

  9. How scary and terrifying! I'm not sure if I would have been able to leave her at school because of my own fears but at the same time you don't want your child scared of everything. It's so hard.My grandmother passes away 7 years ago and hardly a day goes by that I don't think about her. She was my biggest cheerleader and sometimes I still think she is.

    1. It was very hard but every parent did it with grace. And then at pickup time we did gather to discuss how our mornings had been and yes, a lot of us were nervous. The school does take safety very seriously and I have gotten over a lot of the initial fear.

  10. I know this feeling well. As soon as you get over one fear, enough to handle the enormity of it, another fear you never know about pops up and slaps you in the face.

    1. Right? You may get a semblance of calm for..what? A week or two? Then you watch the news or have something happen to someone you know or you personally and it starts again. This parenting gig..heck, this living gig..is no joke.

  11. So scary! Glad everyone was ok. Sometimes we need these scary moments so we can reset our priorities and level of gratitude though….

  12. Can I just say I wish I had that problem? Between work and family and launching Mom Meet Mom and all the projects at home and just keeping a clean house, I am literally swamped every day of the week!

    1. I kinda wish I did too! But then if I did have that problem, I'd totally panic. It would never happen, though. The laundry and work will never, ever stop.

  13. Oh I would have been so scared too! We always feel like we need to shelter our children and protect them…and with the recent happenings in the world it seems impossible. And yes I am sure you won't get bored…it's amazing when you get something done something replaces it!

    1. It's funny. When I was a kid I told my parents I didn't know what the word "tired" really meant. And I didn't. I remember never-ending energy. And now as an adult I don't really know what the word "bored" means anymore. It just doesn't happen!

  14. {Melinda} I can relate to that feeling — fear of having too much to do and then fear of not having enough! Usually, I don't have to worry about not having enough! 🙂 You really do have a beautiful way of putting your feelings into words. Gorgeous descriptions!

  15. Really wondering metaphors used in this post Tamara! What was the cause of the tree falling? I would have been completely shaken up. Thank God no one was hurt. – Andrea

  16. I understand. I feel the same way. And I DO watch 14 shows. I'm a TV junkie. But a lot of them wind up on my DVR. I'm so glad no one was hurt. Unfortunately this world is a crazy place so you just never know anymore.

  17. What a frightening moment, and am so glad no one was hurt. There is already so much to fear in this world, it saddens me that nature, so beautiful, is also extremely terrifying.And I can relate to the "what will I do, need to keep busy feeling"! Sometimes, I think I just need to chill out and take a nap.Your photographs are amazing!

    1. Thank you about the photographs! Yes, a long chilled out nap is probably what the doctor ordered. Lately I write my blogs the night before they're "due" because I used to do them at the last minute and I would rush the kids' bedtimes. So there's improvement in taking the time to sing to the baby and tell stories to my daughter. Time management 101, probably.

  18. There's too much news now. I think we didn't know about all the bad news when we were kids. The internet, along with the seven thousand television channels pumped into our houses have changed all that. There used to be three channels, all local, and a local newspaper. We were not inundated with every tragic event. I don't watch news for this very reason. I try to stay clear of google news. (Although I fail, usually miserably, as I feel more compelled to check it when bad news is all over the place)There's something to be said for going outside, turning on your own music, reading a book, going to the zoo or the park or the museum. Getting away from all the information overload puts things back into perspective.

    1. You are so right and I studied that when I majored in journalism. I should have known better then. That was before social media so now bad news spreads like wildfire and we're all left thinking the world is about to end. And probably, it's always been about to end, or not at all about to end!

  19. I think moisture got in the trees from so much rain. The church where the school is took care of it, luckily, just to make sure it couldn't happen again with another tree.

  20. I think I totally watch 14 shows or more if you total up the whole year. I have my normal school year season ones as well as my guilty pleasure Teen Nick show and ABC Family shows..not to mention that I enjoy some of Scarlet's shows. Only some..

  21. Oh Tamara, that is so scary! Trees, sheesh. Another thing to add to the list of potentially dangerous things that can ruin lives. I remember being a little kid and worrying about the trees surrounding our house. We lived in a very tree heavy area and through my cathedral windows (sounds fancier than it was, though still very cool to have such tall ceilings) I could see them swaying. I always wondered what would happen if one fell. Let’s hope that’s the last time you ever hear that sound.

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