Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Eight Years Old

Happy birthday, dear Joy!

We just got back yesterday afternoon from our annual Memorial Day trip "up north" to the family cabins, a trip that regularly coincides with Joy's birthday.  I've just changed the "Introducing Joy" sidebar to reflect her new age.  Eight.  Hardly seems possible -- eight years old!

We celebrated with balloons and bubbles and little cupcakes in the cabin.  We'll have further celebrations at home, and shopping for a big-girl birthday bike as soon as we get our post-holiday act together to do so.

As Memorial Day trips go, this one was relatively uneventful, especially considering our track record of muddy departures and explosive avian visitations.  (Well, JoyDad did have to do some work on breaking out a beaver dam that was flooding the road.  But we'd had warning so that was expected.)

Our party was smaller than usual, just the four of us and GrampaK.  The weather was pleasant for the end of May, mostly cool with a couple of rainy bits but at least one warm-enough-to-swim afternoon.  We did our traditional walks in the woods:

and spent a lot of time on the screen porch watching the hummingbirds come to the feeder:

(When I posted this one on Facebook, I captioned it: "Secret for a long-lived relationship -- always respect your partner's side of the hummingbird feeder.")

You can tell that your daughter is growing up when she wants to drive the boat!

Not to worry, folks, it's safely docked.

One of the basic experiences of life up at the lake is the lack of running water.  We bring drinking water along, but wash water for the dishes and floor and ourselves comes from an old-fashioned pump just a little ways away from the cabin.  This weekend I had a startling realization -- though we'd been bringing Joy up to the cabin at least once a summer for her whole life, and sometimes more often than that... we'd never taken her down that short path to "help" pump water.  It's been part of Rose's experience since not long after she could walk.  But with Joy, early on I suppose it felt like too much of a hassle, and then later we just sort of had our fixed routines and always expected to come back from the pump with a full bucket in each hand, and no hand left to hang on to Joy lest she make a dash for the lake.

This vacation I finally realized what had been happening.  And Joy and I went to have fun with the pump.

So easy, to get into these ruts and hold our kiddos back.  We've got to do better than that.

We will not have another trip to the lake without a trip to the pump for Joy -- which she enjoyed to the hilt, my sweet water-loving child.  We've got to keep examining, and listening, and doing better.

Happy birthday, my sweet eight-year-old!


Quiet One said...

Seeing the water pump makes me think of Helen Keller - my idol and my inspiration. What a great start for your summer!

Suze said...

Happy birthday, Joy!

Terri H-E said...

Happy Joy's birthday to you all. Yep. I am so with you on the balancing exposure with complication. My little partner, Cate, is one who redirects me towards taking more risks with her sister and so I look forward to a summer of nudging from her. Cheers to you and yours!

AuntieS said...

Great pictures! I'm glad you all had such a great time, and that JoyDad got to use those fancy wader boots!! Happy Birthday to my not-so-little-anymore-8-year-old niece! It is so nice that Joy gets such a special birthday trip every year!
I remember spending lots of time, as a kid, hauling water from the pump to the cabin up there! I am not sure, though, that we kids often arrived at the cabin with a "full" bucket in each hand! LOL!! I'm glad that Joy has been initiated into another traditional experience up there! I am thinking, though, that maybe the reason that it occurred to you, this time, that she needed to be included in the water pumping and hauling experience is because this was the right time for it to happen. Maybe you weren't holding her back so much as instinctively waiting for the right moment when she was most ready for this experience and it would work best for all of you. She has grown and developed and changed quite a bit over the last year, so maybe all of the factors and variables were aligned just right now, and that's why you realized that she needed to learn about the pump now. Just a thought!!!
I am glad that the JoyFamily and GrandpaK all had a nice time, without any new catastrophes!
Happy Birthday, Joy!

JoyMama said...

Quiet One - oh, I like that! Once in high school I got to play Annie Sullivan in that W-A-T-E-R scene. Powerful, powerful stuff.

Suze - thanks!

Terri - ooh, sibling nudges, very helpful! I'm afraid that Rose still has a tendency to "baby-talk" Joy... but who knows where those dynamics will go in the future.

AuntieS - it was nice to have a catastrophe-free visit for once! Thanks for the cheers, and the memories!

Anonymous said...

"So easy, to get into these ruts and hold our kiddos back. We've got to do better than that."

So so true. Thank you for the reminder. And the encouragement.


Barbara @therextras said...

Been thinking of you all week...
feel bad my happy birthday wishes (please extend) are belated but also amazed at the realization she is eight!

Very manly photo of JD!
Impressive hummingbird photo!

Pumping is great 'heavy work' for anyone - so glad to read she likes it! Please don't be so hard on yourself; savor the new realization for its value in the future, eh?