Since publishing The Sno-Cone Diaries in January of 2017 it has been my personal goal to prove to myself and others that it is possible to live a life of joy every day. I have faithfully kept my mason jar on my desk with little post-its to drop in at least one thing that brought me great joy each week. I have also re-trained myself to look not just for the big obvious things that only happen occasionally, but the little things in life that get skipped over, that when added up make for a great day, week, and year.
My son Justin has been home on summer break from Auburn since early May. Having him home always brings me great joy. Looking at the extra clutter he brought with him, not so much! Since Juan travels all the time it was nice to have someone in the house again to bring it life and keep me company. But since where we are living temporarily is about one third of the size of what we were used too at 6’2” and 200+ Justin easily fills any room he is in. My office in the new digs is his bedroom much to his chagrin. I try to do my work during the day while he is at his internship at Pilot Pen so he can have his privacy when he gets back, but I admit that even at almost 20, I find it almost impossible not to go in there every night to kiss him good night and maybe even torture him a bit. Normally he is playing X BOX or snap chatting with someone, but what I wasn’t aware of is that occasionally he would be videoing me saying or doing something he found to be humorous.(More on that later) Trust me when I say that apparently I am the source of entertainment and joy for a bunch of people. Who knew?
Our mother son tradition for the last several years is to go on a trip just the two of us and create our own special memories. Some of our trips have included Ocean City, Maryland, Hershey Park, and lately we have tried to do an annual “Fish On” in the Chesapeake with his cousins. Since his cousins are JAGMAC, an amazing family singing group that were touring in Europe last summer with Lil Mix we missed it. They seem to think that’s the reason the Ravens didn’t make it to the play-offs last year so we tried very hard to make it happen this year.
Only God knows what we’d have to do to get the Jaguars to a playoff but that’s a subject for another blog!
Anyway, what Justin said he would like most to do is eat a big old pile of Maryland steamed crabs, and either go crabbing or fishing in Baltimore with his cousins again this year. Now since they have been in LA for the last two months recording an album it was almost impossible to predict their return date but fate allowed us to come together as a family last Saturday. Justin and I arrived in Baltimore on Thursday. First stop Seaside restaurant in Glen Burnie, Maryland for a $90 large dozen of crabs. To a Marylander like myself, steamed crabs are like wagyu beef to the Japanese or Beluga Caviar to someone else. “Heaven on Earth!”
On Friday we woke up to overcast skies and Justin ditching me for an opportunity to play golf with my cousin’s husband at a really cool course called Renditions. Apparently all its holes are replicas of the signature holes at famous golf courses around the country including an island green. Who wouldn’t ditch their mom for that? So my sister Linda and I drove over the Bay Bridge and had lunch with my cousin whose husband took Justin golfing. Now it did wind up raining but the boys played on talking Navy, politics, and flying jets. After lunch my sister and I went shopping at Kohl’s and then Homestead Gardens. Not as exciting but still fun spending time with her. All the sisters and Justin met up for dinner to plan out the big event for Saturday and a contingency plan in case it continued to rain, where I was ditched again by Justin to go stay over at the cousins house.
Saturday brought with it rain and gale force winds on the Bay so the Annual “Fish On” was now off! What to do now? I know my sister says “let’s go learn to shoot clays with a shot gun!!” Picture if you will three middle age women toting six young adults ages 16-22 onto a range with shotguns and another middle-age woman as the instructor. And imagine the look and reception we got by all the male workers at the range when our instructor said we were all there to shoot clays. It took a while to gain approval and a heated discussion with management and our instructor but reluctantly they let us on.
But let me back up for a second. Before we went to the range we took our safety course on guns in a side music room of a Lutheran church with a piano and a very large picture of Jesus hanging on the wall. We learned about our dominant eye for shooting by covering our eyes and focusing on the eye of Jesus in the picture. I think we went there to be “Blessed by The Father” so no one got hurt with the crew and the weapons we had. The room next door was full of middle age women scrap booking and the irony was not lost on me about the adventure we were embarking on and whether I should just park it right there!
No surprise the boys went first and did very well. Next up were the girls and moms. When it was my turn, and I had done this once before in Ireland (not very well I might add)all the things the instructor warned could happen if you didn’t do it right happened to me. When I pulled the trigger, the gun hit me in the face, and then my shoulder, and almost knocked me over. My shoulder hurt until Tuesday but I eventually mastered it well enough to claim two clays. Justin however my overgrown red-neck from Auburn won the prize for the most clays hit!
As we were packing up everything I overheard my son and nieces and nephews laughing in a chorus of saying “Who fixed your breakfast? Who fixed your dinner?” Apparently my son videoed me talking/scolding my dog Chase asking those questions as if he could actually answer me. He sent the video to my nieces and nephews and they found it to be quite funny since they think their mom and I sound alike so they were practicing who could say it closest to how I did. Oh so funny!
We celebrated our great time together at another crab feast courtesy of my sister V who refused to be anywhere near me with a gun, and closed the chapter of that sweet memory with three songs by JAGMAC, “So Good”, Hallelujah, and a new song from their upcoming album, and an egg custard snowball for the ride home.
Everything was just perfect! Thanks for the memories!