Saturday, April 17, 2010


my mother tells a story.
when she was a young mother, and she was adopting a baby girl, and she had four little boys of her very own already, a social worker came to her house to check in on how things were going.
the woman came in and sat down in the livingroom of the little cape cod house that was home, and began her interview. and then the door burst open and some of those boys ran in, one of them bleeding.
nothing serious. just one of those little catastrophes that play out almost daily when you have a house full of kids.
so my mother excused herself, and scooped up the injured boy, and went about tending to the knee or whatever.
when she came back, the woman remarked that she couldn't believe that my mother would get up from such an important meeting, and leave her guest there alone, waiting.
and my mother's point of this story-although she is much too modest and practical to even think of it this way-is that she had her priorities straight. she knew where she was needed the most.


today i went to the farmers market. it's still indoors. in the town my parents live in now. i've watched it grow in size in the last two years and you can get everything from fish to bread to pickles to coffee to plants to samosas to cider donuts and meat and on and on and on.

i came home with bags heavy with all sorts of things...goat cheese, eggs, and those donuts nestled on top like the delicates they are. i unbundled them and washed what needed to be washed and wrapped things up in dish towels, taking pictures (of course!) all along.

i am seduced by these spoils.

i looked behind me, at my littlest girl. she had spent her first night away from me in her entire five-years-and-fifteen-days last night. and she had been a trooper. a happy, happy, proud trooper.

but she was crying.

i said: do you want to go get smooshie? (this is the made-up danish word we used originally for "cute", and now just means to cuddle.)

and she, thumb in mouth and laying on the kitchen window seat, all warm and tired, just nodded.


i've always taken that story of my mom's for granted. i've told it over the years, but i can't say i've ever thought through what i would have particularly done in that situation.

of course, i'm not in that situation.

but i can say that i learned a lot about priorities from my mom.

thanks for reading.


Anonymous Kathleen said...

what beautiful moments in both of your lives as mothers, and as daughters. and what a miracle to think of anna, someday, setting aside the meeting or the produce for a little one who needs her, and thinking of you, and of your mom, and of having her priorities straight.

April 17, 2010 7:25 PM  
Blogger heather smith jones said...

The way you tie stories together is so inspiring Tara. What a good mom Anna and all the girls have in you.

April 17, 2010 7:49 PM  
Anonymous emily said...

of course i love the story about your mom. and the irony in that the social worker was surprised that she'd get up to tend to her little ones.

but i have to ask this - you wrap your washed produce just in dishtowels and that's enough to keep it fresh? for how long?

(and now you have me thinking i'd like to come in friday night so i can be there for the market in the morning! we'll see.)

April 17, 2010 9:35 PM  
Blogger house on hill road said...

good stories, both of them.

and i can see those donuts, carefully laid on top of your other purchases. i bet they were tasty! xo.

April 18, 2010 8:14 AM  
Blogger Char said...

yes, priorities in the right place. that is a wonderful thing.

too often in this world they are not.

April 18, 2010 5:38 PM  
Blogger Anna Ander said...

Beautiful as always, words and pictures. And your mother. And you and Anna.


April 19, 2010 3:18 AM  
Blogger Mommy of three said...

I love both of these stories. So very sweet. Thank you for sharing.

April 21, 2010 7:09 PM  

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