Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Illness, Meanness and Track Things

Late last night Goldie came up to announce (apologetically) that Mette was throwing up.

After cleaning bedding and child (and subsequently cleaning them a second, third, and forth time) I spent an hour next to her crib -- arm through the slats -- waiting for her to fall asleep (patting her little tummy, brushing the hair off of her forehead, and responding reassuringly to her nervous questioning ["sound?"] each time a car drove by or water could be heard rushing through the pipes in the walls).

Eventually her restless thoughts turned to her siblings -- who she began pronouncing firm and final judgements upon. (Well, one judgement really.)

"Anders: mean."


"Summer: mean."


"Jesse: mean."

She's been with us a full 20 months now which, one could fairly argue, is plenty of time for a thorough appraisal. Whether any of us received a gentler critique I was unable to discover, however, because at that point her eyelids finally grew heavy, and I was able to escape to my own bed where Hans let me sleep relatively undisturbed (I was fitfully dreaming of borrowing friends’ houses to complete odd, competetive, game-show-like tasks only to have Mette throw up and spread illness to their children) 'til 7:00.


But! There have been happier times than . . . throwing up and “all my siblings are mean”. Case in point? The above pictures. There is little I enjoy more than a track meet. (Is that completely true? That “little I enjoy more” bit? I mean . . . I enjoy a great deal of things quite a lot. So I’m not actually certain about there being little I enjoy more. Nevertheless, I do enjoy track meets; so much so that I strapped Hans to me, stuck Mette in a stroller, held Summer’s hand, and called constantly for Penny, Jesse and Anders to stay close in order to brave Abe’s first home meet.)


The next time I went, however, I cleverly employed Goldie in babysitting (Daisy was off somewhere with friends) and went with just Penny in tow.


For all my enjoyment, I must say, . . . the butterflies! Ohh how it used to nearly kill me – the nerves and stomach churning that would accompany the final calls and then waiting for the guns to go off at my own track meets long ago. And I can SEE those same feelings rippling off of Abe when he is setting up his blocks and waiting for the gun. Once the gun goes off – well then you are running – the nerves are gone and you are simply going. But until then? It’s maddening! And I swear there seemed to be five minutes between “Runners take your mark! Set! . . .” and the crack of the gun in Abe’s 300 meter hurdles.


Speaking of tracks. On occasion we will venture up to the track at Abe’s school (which, conveniently is about a block away) to let our kids run about, jump into the sand pit, and climb on the bleachers (or the pole-vault mat if we’re lucky enough to discover it out). We’re rarely wearing appropriate shoes, and often clad in pajamas, but when we happen to arrive at dusk, and the track is empty, it inevitably ends up being such a happy evening! The track is up high above the city. Our voices carry more than usual in the stillness and chill of the late evening air. Kids are asking to be timed in 400s, racing each other in the 100 meter dash, doing hand stands, and trying to dare leap over hurdles. It’s unaccountably pleasant.



Val said...

Hi there Nancy! I hope Mette is better now? Oh damn, your kids all look soo cute! You're doing such a great job, raising all those beauties. What is your secret recipe to pull off flowery dresses and dazzling family pictures and lovely Easters baskets and tons of perfect pictures and posts?? :) I must add that I love the way your daughters seem to be taking care of the little ones. I see them in so many pictures laughing and cuddling and holding their baby siblings. I love the way your children seem to be looking after each other...that's an extra layer of awesomeness I can't resist!!

Kara said...

I love this. All of it. Pure and simple joys.

Nancy said...

Thanks Val! She seems mostly better now. And thank you for the compliments! I love seeing them take care of each other too! I had sisters who were teens when I was small and they often carted us around like we were their own small children. It was such a happy thing for me and I like seeing it repeated in this generation!

Nancy said...

Thanks for getting and appreciating life from my perspective as usual Kara!

Gayle Harris said...

As always, such amazing pictures. That Abe is so handsome and looks so tall and athletic doing his running. And of course, all of the others look so cute. I'm sorry Mette was sick, but with nine, there probably aren't many times when everyone is completely healthy. How is your foot doing? I'm so sorry about it, and hope it doesn't require surgery.

Marilyn said...

I have such fun memories of playing on the track and on the high jump and pole vault mats when I was little! I still get a nostalgic feeling when I see these pictures. LAst year I wanted to try and do this with my kids, so we went to a few high schools around on a Saturday and they were ALL LOCKED UP!!! With mean signs around saying "NO trespassing" and so forth. It was so disappointing! :( So it does my heart good to know that you can still just go over and play around in the evening. It sounds so lovely.

So Abe does the 300 hurdles? Hardest race in track. Well, I think the middle distances are really hard too. I never did run a good 800. But of course you gave him your wonderful tall hurdling genes. You are the hurdling sister my brothers should have had.

It's too bad everyone in your family is so mean. You really ought to send Mette to live with someone nicer. Like me. I'm super nice. I'll take her!

Nancy said...

Thank you Gayle! My poor foot has gotten so bad I don't dare mention specifics to people lest I just sound like a whiney complainer making things up! For now I'm just trying not to even think about running lest I cry. Haha. I think definitely a month or two of resting it before we can know what's in store. But thank you for all your sweetness letting me run before this nonsense!!

Nancy said...

I do not like these unwelcoming signs on the schools around you one bit! Our track seems to be a community place! (Though, as I mentioned, I love it most if nobody is there with us!) But fun that you had memories of doing that very thing as a kid! Who knew? I don't ever recall playing at the track when I was younger, but there is something just so pleasant about evenings up there!

And yes! Abe is doing the 300 hurdles! So fun to have him running my old race! But goodness, I think the 800 you mentioned might be the toughest!! I only ever did it once. It's short enough to make you kind of feel you should sprint the whole time but who can sprint twice around and not die! Shudder!

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