Long Day On the Road

July 6, 2018

I started this post four days ago but the heat and humidity have been so oppressive I could not write. My brain was not available for download.

On Monday I did barn chores early, dropped the dogs at the vet at 8 AM, and headed to New Hampshire to pick up Lucy at the end of her summer internship. She’d had an interesting experience as a volunteer and a wonderful time staying with DH’s aunt and uncle for two weeks. We enjoyed a happy lunch with Ed and Elaine and DH’s cousin Meghan, and then we were back on the road.

On our drive through Vermont we stopped to see Jon and Amanda, who were vacationing with Amanda’s mother, Judy. The cider mill where we met was barely air-conditioned, so all six of us were rather damp with sweat. However none of it mattered because we were playing with our little star, Ami.

Whenever I picked her up, Ami’s face clouded over and her bottom lip began to tremble. However the minute she was back in Mommy or Daddy’s arms, she was sunny again.

I could have played with my grandbaby for hours.

Unfortunately we still had a long drive so, too soon, we kissed everyone goodbye and were back in the car. We stopped in Burlington to deal with Lucy’s broken phone, and then I mixed up the ferry schedule and we had to sit forty-five minutes at the dock. It was 9:30 PM before we reached home. I turned out the cows at 10.

A very long day, but it was a gift to visit with so many loved ones.


Hot Work

July 1, 2018

It’s hot and humid. Flies are biting. The cows are miserable and wait at the barn gate every morning to come into the dark. It has been too clammy to sleep and I am up each day between 3:00 and 4:00 AM.

Damon was felled by a stomach virus so we have not worked on the driveway. I have been outside every day mowing and weedwhacking and picking rocks. I know intellectually that I am making headway but it’s hard to see because a lot of the work has to be done over again so soon.

I try not to get caught up in worrying about it — my dreams of accomplishment for this week were, as usual, unrealistic — but to keep working slowly and steadily. Progress here has always been incremental. Sometimes the increments have been infinitesimal. I tell myself that as long as I’m moving forward I am fine.

Today marks a month since my builder told me in an angry email that he would be back to me “in a couple of days” with a list of work (paid for a year ago; my mistake) that he would finish this summer. I have heard nothing. This unpleasant situation weighs on me heavily and I try not to think about that, either.


I do chores early tomorrow, put the dogs in the vet, and drive to get Lucy in New Hampshire. It will be a long day on the road but lovely to see her, to visit with New Hampshire family, and to see Jon, Amanda, and Ami in Vermont on our way home. The air-conditioned car will be nice, too.


Baby Daze

June 29, 2018

My son Jon sent me this photo of Amanda and my granddaughter Ami. I love it.

Ami looks just like Amanda at the same age; she’s Amanda’s “mini-me.” However, Ami’s height is her father’s (who is 6’4″) — she’s in the 96th percentile. She won’t be mini very long!

No date yet has been confirmed for her lung surgery. We will all be glad to have it over.


Sobering News

June 13, 2018

I love this photo of our son Jon, his wife Amanda, and their baby Amelie, taken just a few days ago. Ami is a bright and happy baby who smiles all over her face.

Yesterday Ami was sedated for an MRI to check the development of a lung problem that doctors had been tracking since she was about 12 weeks’ gestation. Amanda endured almost weekly ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy and there was a fear that at birth Ami would have to be rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Then Ami was born and everything seemed to be fine. No NICU, no special care at all. We all breathed an enormous sigh of relief and thanked God. Later office tests seemed to indicate that the non-cancerous mass in her lung was now of negligible size.

Thus the news from yesterday’s MRI came as a shock. The mass is still there, it is impinging on Ami’s lung development, and it must be removed so the lung can develop properly. The doctor prepared Jon and Amanda for the possibility that the entire lower lobe of the left lung might have to be removed. While this should not affect Ami’s future breathing capacity (the remaining lobe should grow to fill the cavity), dealing with the mass at all will be a major surgery and clearly not something one wishes to contemplate for their six-month-old baby girl.

No plans or dates have yet been set but I am trying to think of ways I can be as helpful and supportive as possible.


A Pick-Me-Up

January 19, 2018

I’ve been feeling under the weather this week, but Jon has emailed photos to cheer me. I particularly love this one, of my beautiful daughter-in-law Amanda and happy grandbaby, Ami.

Urged by my wise friend Alison, after work on Wednesday I actually went to the doctor’s office. The doctor scolded me as she ordered various tests. “Your chart shows that you haven’t been here since 2011!”

I knew I had fallen a bit behind on routine appointments, but I hadn’t realized it had been seven years. I am a lot better with the children and the animals.

Meeting Our Grandbaby!

January 7, 2018

A week ago, on New Year’s Day, DH, Lucy, and I finally were able to drive the 4.5 hours down to Connecticut to meet Amelie (and incidentally, have a small, late Christmas with Jon, Amanda, and Judy).

Getting away felt very fraught. Lucy returned from Minnesota at 3 AM. The temperature plummeted to -29° F. Even doing barn chores before dawn, I wasn’t sure how to manage the animals and the dogs in my twelve-hour absence . . . in the cold . . . on a holiday. After a month of worry at work, my stress-o-meter was maxed out. However our wonderful friends Alison and Tom stepped in to walk the dogs and take care of the sheep and cattle. “Go!” said Alison firmly. “We will be fine! You need to hold that baby!”

As usual, Alison was absolutely right.

As I examined Ami’s tiny perfect eyebrows and ears and hands — ten fingers, what a miracle! — I could feel all my tensions slipping away.

After a bottle of breast milk, Ami fell asleep.


I forced myself reluctantly to share the joy. Lucy is extremely excited to be an aunt.

Though equally excited to be a grandfather, DH is not a natural with tiny babies. He generally has an eager but slightly worried look.

When Ami burped up some milk, I had an excuse to swoop in.

This small scene felt so deeply familiar, I kept having the strange sense that somehow time had folded in on itself — that it was thirty years ago, DH was my father and I was my mother. Somewhere in a not-yet-unpacked box there is a photo of Dad eagerly, nervously holding newborn baby Jon, and one of my mother holding Jon, looking down, and beaming.

It is a great thing to be part of the wheel of time.

I simply love being a grandma.

More Doting Grandma

December 30, 2017

Yep, clearly I’m going to be one of those grandmas. But doesn’t Amanda look like a madonna in this photograph?

This one is a little fuzzy but the love it shows makes my heart brim.

Finally, dimpled Miss Ami herself. Of course these smiles at two weeks are “just gas” but I melt anyway.

My cough has improved and we hope to drive to Connecticut on Monday!