glutenfreegirl glutenfreegirl

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Shauna M. Ahern  welcome to our table.

I'm saving this photo on my phone for next February.

In the gloaming, the children ran through the yard in princess dresses, brandishing plastic swords, yelling out their stories, wearing daisy chains and flower crowns, loving each other and this moment and never needing to say it.

For 5 years now, we've lived next door to the loveliest people. We met when Lucy was 3 and their son was 2. She was pregnant with their daughter, who is about to turn 5. And Desmond was not born yet. The kids are such good friends, running through the yards, chasing each other and giggling. It wouldn't be Memorial Day weekend without a cookout in their yard, roasting marshmallows over their fire pit, sharing food and other friends, drinking homemade wine while the kids go on the Slip and Slide.

When I am older, these are the days I'll remember with ease.

Thank you.

The little guy is feeling fine again. It's Friday. I have no deadlines for this weekend. I'm wearing flip-flops and shorts with my favorite slouchy t-shirt. And the kids are swimming. Bring it on, weekend. Glad to meet you.

All long legs in the sunlight, putting on her fancy sandals, with a pedicure she gave herself. After breakfast on the porch, before school then baseball practice, headed for ballet performance soon. Book open on the floor behind her. Singing a song about determined resilience from the Trolls soundtrack. "...go ahead and bring it on, cause if you knock, knock me over, I will get back up again." Lucy, May 2017.

How lucky I feel to be here for this.

I think of this poem so often these days. You could make this place beautiful.

One of the downsides to living on a rural island is that when your 3-year-old wakes up coughing so hard that he screams but stops screaming because he's having such a difficult time breathing, there's no clinic or urgent care to visit. So you drive him to the fire station with all the windows down, talking to him in the darkness to make sure he's okay. And then you reach the fire station.
This is where the upside of living on a rural island kicks in. The firefighters and medic who answer the door are so kind and gentle with your scared son as they open up the back of the ambulance. They ask him to hold my hand while we step in together. They explain everything they are doing, because they sense immediately how curious he is to understand how everything works. And within minutes, your son says, "Mama, I'm not scared anymore!" And you remind him once again about Mister Rogers' quote about the helpers. These are the helpers.

So are the ferry workers who divert the boat so the ambulance with us in it can go. So are the driver and medic in the ambulance waiting on the city side. They don't mind if little guy coughs so hard he throws up, repeatedly. They soothe him. And his mama. The helpers live at Children's hospital. They give the little guy steroids for his lousy bout of croup and give Mama answers. They let us sleep in a room for an hour in the ER until 4:30 am when I get us both up and walk out to a taxi. And then the taxi driver ends up being an incredibly kind, articulate retired actor. And while little guy sleeps on my chest, the driver tells me about the singular experience of seeing Hamilton in NY, original cast. Just as he is telling me about @phillipasoo's haunting voice, the last note of the musical hers, in the quiet a clear voice ringing out in the darkness, we round the corner and see the ferry and the sunrise.
I know there are mamas and dads in Manchester right now, wishing they could hold their little ones close. Sometimes, the world makes no sense. But I'm always going to look for the helpers. And be one when I can.
I'm oh so tired today. And oh so grateful.

Last evening we hung out on the beach together with friends, eating salami and cheese and watermelon we sliced open on a piece of driftwood. The kids ran and frolicked and went on hikes together, then fashioned a teeter-totter with a giant log. We talked and watched them and listened to the wild geese flying over our heads.

As my friend Sam at @vashonbakingco said as we watched our kids chase each other on a field of grass and daisies, "I had a good childhood but it wasn't like this. It wasn't this free." I agree.

I don't give one whit anymore about money or upward mobility or title or prestige. They all leave you feeling empty. But sitting on a beach with good friends, watching the kids play, and waiting until the sun started to set before heading home? This is all the wealth I need.

It's the first truly warm Saturday in recent memory. We're taking a little rest from all the games outside: croquet, whiffleball batting practice, spas, and naked chasing each other with water. (I abstained from the last one.) this is enough.

"Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company always with those who say "Look!" and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads." --Mary Oliver

When I was first diagnosed with celiac, 12 years ago, the food that inspired me the most is vegetables. It's still true. With a few local exceptions for some meats and seafood, vegetables and fruits are the foods that constantly change. I'm so glad it's spring.

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