Happy Mother’s Day!

To all of you Mom’s out there…I hope your day was special!  

Somehow, this Mother’s Day was especially sweet for me. All the events contained within had special significance — from spending time with family at the Family Summer Home, to a spectacular bike ride in Snohomish County, to my daughter’s bridal dress fitting, and finally, culminating with a visit to see my 90-year old mother this evening, with two of my three siblings.

The time at Lake Goodwin

My family has had a home at Lake Goodwin, an hour south of Bellingham and north of Seattle, since  my mom was 11! The sprawl is contained on three waterfront lots that my mom’s parents purchased back when you could still do that. The humble beginnings were mere land, and now, 79 years later, a large house resides there. The initial one-room cabin has been remodeled and added on to dozens of times, and the house now sports a huge bunk room, sleeps 20 easily, and contains a large workroom and a 3-car garage. There’s nothing cabin-like about this place.

The dock…half of which fell apart last winter in the ice and snow…yet another project!

The entire time they were married, my parents kept Lake Goodwin, aka “The Lake” going with gardens, sport courts, water activities, and more projects than you could shake a tree at! My dad lived and breathed projects at the lake, and spent countless hours in short cut-off jean shorts, a tool belt, work boots, and not much else.  He worked unceasingly to keep the place functional. My mom spent countless hours in the beautiful gardens that he helped her create, and the place was a showplace for my entire growing up time. People would drive by slowly and look at the gardens, that’s how beautiful everything was.

Then, 5.5 years ago, my dad left this world, and something of the lake died with him. It took us awhile to all wander back with much enthusiasm. We started working on refurbishing and sprucing things up a couple of years ago. It’s been a huge and never-ending project.

One of two dump trucks full of garbage.

This weekend, we had a full-on work party up there. While the number of participants was relatively small — my brother, my sister, her son, daughter and daughter’s boyfriend, my daughter and fiance, and myself — we really cranked things out! Let’s face it, my parents were packrats, and the sheer amount of space for storage is immense. Between the eight of us, we went through the garage and workroom, including spaces above both that no one had hardly ever been in. The piles of gardening supplies, chemicals from the 70’s and earlier, painted lumbar, ancient building materials, tools, and so much else filled a huge dump truck — twice! We took 3.5 TONS of stuff to the dump in two days! And loaded the entire back of my brother Brad’s pick-up with hazardous waste materials to be disposed of this week.

The back of Brad’s truck, completely filled with hazardous waste!

The work party started yesterday and ended today. We had such a great time, wearing gas masks to keep from dying ourselves from all the fumes, and setting up relay systems from the upper reaches of the garage to carry things out to the truck. The sorting of the garden tools was an especially memorable experience! How can so many tools be accumulated over time?

Last night’s Mother’s Day dinner

Left to Right — Mark, Anna, James (behind), Shannon, Kevin — and all the large gardening tools that came out of the garage!

My daughter and niece planned and cooked dinner for all of us last night, as an early Mother’s Day dinner. We sat around after the work day, eating at the huge table that my wood-working father extraordinaire made out of a tree he himself cut down,  in the chairs that he also made. All the while overlooking a spectacular sunset over the lake. Dinner and the company was great, reminding us of the hundreds of times we’ve sat there before, with both parents also at the table. It was a fitting way to remember my dad and to also celebrate my mom, who is far too feeble to go up there anymore. And my sister Kari and I didn’t have to lift a finger with dinner prep or dishes — a real bonus. THANKS SHANNON AND ANNA FOR A GREAT DINNER!  And James, Mark, and Kevin for cleaning up!

The Mother’s Day Bike Ride!

Snohomish County roads…

This tradition started when my son Kyle and I lived alone together after Shannon had gone off to college. It was about eight years ago, and Kyle graciously asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day. “A bike ride!” I said. So Kyle, who is a phenomenal athlete but not a road biker, faithfully accompanied me on a 40-mile bike ride on his dad’s bike, which did not fit him well. He suffered, especially in the area of the bike seat, but maintained a positive attitude and patience until close to the end when he finally said “Mom! Is this ride EVER going to end?”

Threatening skies…

I have not talked Kyle into going on a long ride with me since. And he attends Physical Therapy School in Atlanta, so this year he was definitely off the hook! But I have tried to get out and ride each Mother’s Day if at all possible. I took my bike to the lake this time, hoping for a break in the cold, wind, and rain to ride this morning. It was raining when I woke up, but by 8:00, it looked to be mostly stopped. I decided to go for it!

I left the house by 8:30. The ride combined roads I know and some I don’t. I have lived at the lake for a couple of time periods, and spent a decent amount of time riding the roads, all in Snohomish county. But today, I wanted to do something different. After riding past the Fish Creek U-Cut farm, where we used to get our Christmas Tree the day after Thanksgiving for my growing up years, and down into Sylvana, with the Meat Market and a few other small businesses, I asked a couple that looked local if they knew the roads. I wanted a slightly different loop, and they directed me to a road that would eventually lead me back to Marine Drive, when I would then know where I was.

The roads were lovely, country, farmland. Rain spat at me periodically, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I had dressed warmly, and I was, for once, not struggling with cold hands (even though temps said 48 degrees when I left!). When I got to Marine Drive, I turned the wrong way, and ended up in Stanwood. Not exactly what I planned, and I backtracked several miles. Then I was looking for the road to wind my way back up to the Lake Goodwin Road, and somehow got on a road that was washed out. I had to carry my bike up and over road blocks and navigate a huge “water over roadway” segment. Then that road was not the one I thought it was, and I had to work my way back and around a neighboring lake before getting back to the LG road.

All told, my ride took just over 2.5 hours. It was fantastic in all ways, especially in that it was one of the first rides I’ve done this year that I actually felt power in my legs and energetically strong. I absolutely loved the ride, and even the bits of rain that continued to fall periodically did not dampen my spirits.

I returned just in time to put in a final hour of work before showering and heading back north to meet Shannon at the bridal shop.

The Bridal Dress Fitting

Shannon’s wedding date is September 3, and I have had the motherly privilege of being involved in her dress fitting. What a great mother/daughter activity today, and always fun to learn how to bustle up a hem. I’d post a photo, but of course I am under specific instructions never to do so until the wedding day…

I also got to talk on the phone with Kyle on the way to the bridal fitting, and it’s always wonderful to catch up with him and his long-time girlfriend Lauren, also at Emory.

Feeling warm and fuzzy with both kid interactions complete,  it was time to drive to Seattle to visit my mom.

The visit with Mom — a great way to end the day!

L to R — Mom, Kari, Brad, Kathie

My mom is in a home in Seattle. She has been on Hospice since July, but is still going strong. She never leaves the care home she is in, and has significant trouble with her memory, as well as a number of other health problems. But she is also of 100{6bc81be8189e669ad6d290a29053b3ad4192321b511e775395515714870a495e} Norwegian blood, and seems to be ticking right along!

Since I’d had to leave early for the bridal fitting, I didn’t know if my visit to Mom would coincide with that of Kari and my brother Brad’s. But sure enough, I text Kari five minutes away from Mom, and they had just arrived! So the three of us got to visit with my mom all at once. I have visited with Kari quite a lot, but it was really fun to have the three of us there. The only one missing was my sister Chris, who is in Disneyland with her grandkids. We had a really nice time, with Mom mostly watching and listening to the three of us, but also inserting a question or comment periodically. We were able to tell her all about our weekend at Lake Goodwin, and what we got done. We all know she won’t remember any of it after our visit, as that is just how it is. But it really was a grand way to end Mother’s Day, and I know it made her happy to see us all.

This Mother’s Day, I am so grateful…

To be a mother, a daughter, a sister, for time with family, for the memories and current realities of Lake Goodwin, for good health and the ability to ride my bike, and for all the blessings that exist in my life. What a highly memorable Mother’s Day!

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