Identity Issues

September 22, 2011

Camille and I have had some interesting conversations lately. The first one came up a few weeks ago before she started school (which, by the way, is going fabulously well!). She was helping me bake lemon bars. It was like one of those Hallmark commercials. A mother and  a daughter baking together in the kitchen. Afternoon sun lighting up the whole scene as the daughter looks into the mother's eyes and says, " When I grow up, I want to be a mom just like you". That's exactly what Camille said to me and my heart melted. I smiled at her and said, "You mean that you will make special treats with your kids?". "No, I mean that when I grow up I am going to hide a bunch of chocolate by my bed and not share it with my kids." That's when the Hallmark moment detonated and fused into a comedy/training video on how to avoid being a bad mother. 

And then there was yesterday afternoon when Camille came into my room, climbed up on the corner of my bed and began to watch me put away the clean clothes. In a very serious voice she said, "Mama, what are you?". I asked her for a little bit of clarification on her question and she responded by saying "When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up? Is this what you wanted to be? Someone who just cleans and cooks?". I tried to explain that I loved my "job" as a mama and that I did more than just cleaning and cooking. She looked doubtful and wandered out of the room before I could think of all the perfect responses that a perfect Hallmark-made-for-tv mother would have given.

When Noah was around the same age, I remember we had some similar conversations about jobs.  He used to beg me to get a job so he could stay later at school with his friends in the after-care program. One day he proudly announced that he had the perfect job for me: a Costco sampler know those people that hand out tasty little samples at the end of the aisles? He thought I'd be pretty good at that job.

I always thought I would return to work as a clinical social worker once both of my kids started school full time, but that's not really going to happen until we return to the States and I am not quite sure how or if that will happen then either. I like my current "job"...mama,wife, PTO member, library volunteer, gardener, yoga student, traveler, travel planner, photographer, reader and lapsed book club member (I promise to do better this year)cook, and housekeeper. I feel lucky to have this time at home with my family and for myself. But I am also aware that this isn't a job that is currently highlighted on career day discussions and I'll just have to work harder at coming up with a more satisfying answer for my five year old.

In the past year, Camille has been trying on different hats. She went through a period when she proudly announced that she wanted to grow up to become a baby sitter. After reading Pippi Longstocking, she was convinced that her calling was to be a "thing-finder" and in the past few weeks she has been telling us that she will grow up to be an artist. And I hope she does grow up to become all of those things including a mom who has a secret chocolate stash. And speaking of that...I am going to end here so I can find a better hiding spot for my chocolate before the kids get off the school bus. Chocolate is an absolute necessity when sorting out identity issues.

The Things He Left Behind

September 18, 2011

                    for Elemore Morgan Jr.
                    8.6.1931- 5.18.2008
They have no work to do today these cows of his,
no calves waiting for them to rise, no cud to chew.
They sit and look at us. They are not made to miss
anything in the way we miss things, a shade of blue
he used to offset pink and purple and red in towers
of cloud, how he set the force of water just so in pumps
in rice fields, the way he could make a little bower
of green on the horizon a place you felt you could lump
all you have in one little pile and live there showered
only by what the earth and air had to give, a jump
you could only take because he took you there. This
world, he'd say, is where you live, right here you do
whatever work you have to do. Notice how trees kiss
sky, how prairies open, these cows I made just for you.
Darrell Bourque
September 1, 2011

*** Photo taken this summer at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art
*** Poem by Darrell Bourque, family friend and Louisana's Poet Laureate

  September 18th is Elemore Morgan, Jr Day in Louisiana

Charlie and Slowpoke

September 17, 2011

Aren't they cute? Turtles are turning out to be very good pets for our family.

Return to Mozia

September 15, 2011

 That perfect sunset lured us back and this time we brought a group of friends. We spent Labor Day back in Mozia in Western Sicily. In addition to the stunning sunsets, crab hunting, and kayaking, we also ventured over to the actual island of Mozia where we visited the lovely little museum packed with Phoenician treasures and explored some of the trails leading to excavation sites. We also spent quite a bit of time sucking down granitas and ice cold water at the small was cloudy and cool when we first arrived but once the sun emerged we all quickly wilted.  The bad part about our trip to the island was that Camille had a very prickly encounter with a cactus. Seriously, there were tiny yellow cactus spines all along the left side of her body. It was a very slow and painful removal process for all of us. Word to the wise: always steer clear of the cacti!
The culinary highlight of the weekend were the lemony mussels that we all inhaled two nights in a row at Incanto. I don't think I mentioned this in my previous post about Mozia. On our first trip to Mozia in July we didn't originally intend to stay in Mozia. We had reservations for an apartment in the old part of Trapani, but fifteen minutes before our arrival, the landlord called to inform us that there were serious plumbing problems and we couldn't stay in the apartment. It was dinner time and we had just spent three hours driving across Sicily with two very hungry and grumpy children. So while trying to feed them, we also tried in vain to find another place to stay on a Friday night in Trapani. Nothing was available. Things were starting to get pretty tense and we were starting feel a bit desperate when we expanded our phone calling to areas outside of Trapani. The first place that had availability for us was the Residence Santa Maria and it felt like we had won some kind of strange lodging lottery. The place was perfect. Nothing fancy and it never came up in my original research on the area, but it was exactly what we had been searching for all along: simple little apartments right on the water, next door to a great little restaurant (the lemon mussels really are divine), free kayaks, and those perfect sunsets. I have a feeling we will be returning to Mozia again.

September 10, 2011

Second Saturday Artwalk in honor of Elemore Morgan, Jr. (my dad). Really wishing we could be there. If you are in Lafayette this weekend, please go!

September List

September 2, 2011

This list should really be titled: things that grabbed us this summer.

For Puzzling: Izzi 
For Feeding: Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl
For Laughing: Doc Martin and Louie and Knucklehead
For Watching: Howl's Moving Castle
For Listening : Wailin' Jennys and Radio Lab
For Clowning:  A Family Trade
For Creating: Anthropologie Displays
For Time Traveling: 100 Years of East London Style 

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