Week End

One of my favorite Downton Abbey episodes is the one where Maggie Smith asks, “What is a Week-End?”

It rolls off her tongue so unfamiliar. I love it.

My mother is wonderful. This we know. You would think that with ALL that wonderful gathered up in one peck of a person, she’d be bursting with advice for other -How To Be Wonderful, a book by Anna. But she’s not. In fact, she is the very opposite! If you want advice from my mother, you have to sneakily pry it out of her.
On Friday, I went up to Mom’s to pick some of her Crab Apples. Her Crab Apple tree has gone fairly mad with apples, and I thought the boy and I could snag a few.
Minutes before arriving at Mom’s, I’d had a little upset over the bus schedule. Because I’m pregnant, a little upset felt like a BIG upset and I huffed and puffed all the way to Mom’s house where I blew out my steam. She listened and smiled and didn’t offer advice, but sat down and visited with me for a bit. After I’d calmed down and Mom and I had shared a few laughs, Mom said something to me.
It sounded like advice, though it was given so gently that I didn’t even realize it WAS advice until I got home and repeated it to my husband who stopped what he was doing, looked up at me, and said, “Wow. That’s… profound. You should write it down.”
I should.
And so I am.
Mom asked me if I remembered telling her (or did I blog it?) that I felt like less of a mother because I didn’t do any big Back to School kind of things. I didn’t do a feast with coordinating place mats. I didn’t plan a party. I didn’t do anything, really. Except the girl and I sat for an hour or two and made hair bows together the day before.
“Things like that are good, but they’re only good once in a while and as a surprise. If you do it all of the time, you raise entitled children. Children aren’t entitled to things like that. Things like that don’t bring them happiness. If you want to be a good mother, teach them how to be productive. You’ve never seen a productive person that wasn’t happy. We’re put on this earth to be productive. I’m happiest when I’m producing something, anyway.”
And then the conversation went on, as conversations normally do when I’m involved.

But it really stuck with me, what she said. I thought about it while I picked apples. I thought about it when I got home, and I thought about it Saturday morning. I had just finished getting dressed for the day. I looked out my window and saw my Dad. He was working. It was Saturday morning, and he was working because he WANTED to (“What’s a Week End?”). He was out on his farm doing I don’t know what all, and between hearing my mom’s words in my head and watching my dad from the window, I was suddenly uprooted from where I sat.
“Okay, kids!” I said, pulling their eyes away from the TV screen with my loud voice, “Turn it off. Lace, you pick up the shoes. Trent, you pick up the toys…”
and then it was, “Trent you do the trash. Lace, you vacuum up the mess around the birds’ cage.”
(Did I mention that we have TWO birds now? Blu, the blue one and Green Lantern, the green one.)
And they did.
While they worked, I did the dishes. Once the kitchen was cleaned, I set up a juicer and we juiced apples.
There’s so many things I love about this picture. I made his shirt. She’s wearing her Dad’s socks under her awful, worn pants…

“This is how apple juice is made,” I told them. They took turn washing apples and juicing apples. The “stomper” was all too fascinating to them (think it will still be fascinating in 10 years?) and they got the biggest kick out of the apple poop (pulp) that came from the end of the juicer.

Don’t mind the bubbles in the apple water… we remedied that situation.

The kids had to push REALLY hard to get the apples through. Watching my son was the BEST.

They were so satisfied with their job well done. After the pulp was taken to compost, my daughter managed a costume change and then they sat together at the very dirty table to sample their juice.

They were beyond thrilled. I used the juice to make a batch of crab apple jelly, and then I straight up bottled the rest on account of how delicious it was. I heated up a bit, added a dash of cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup and WOW.
I want more of THAT later on this year.
I’ll be gathering up more apples from wherever I can scrounge them up around town and bottling more and more juice. My great grandmother used to freeze it, and I think I’ll go that route.
And I’d better make more jelly because it was delicious as well. Why is it when you make something from what you’ve grown, it always tastes SO. MUCH. BETTER?  I didn’t grow the apples, but Mom did.  And Mom grew me.  So it all works out somehow, right?
I just love Saturdays. And I love that my daughter finds time to break the school dress code and just be her fun self at home. Before school started, I used to let her wear whatever, whenever. My husband was a little perplexed by it all (“doesn’t she look like a rag child?”) but I knew what was coming… a childhood of dressing for the school code -no tutus, no fairy dresses, no fun.
That’s why I love Saturdays.

The only thing better than Saturdays is Sundays. Rest, rejuvenate, and rest.
And there’s nothing like waking up to your house on Monday morning to realize that YOU DO MATTER because without YOU (Alicia) the house would look like this every day.

So in a way, that mess is… comforting?
Cleaning day, here we come!


  1. Mary Karlee says:

    I love that quote from downton, my husband and I quote it all the time. Great thoughts on productivity. I need to let that sink in for awhile. I do think we all get caught in the trap of thinking we have to create fabulous (but exhausting!) traditions for our children or they will grow up with no happy memories. Your mom has a good perspective on happiness. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mary Karlee says:

    Oh and I forgot, but I had to say how much I loved that last bit about YOU MATTER ALICIA. My house often proves to me how much I matter too. Hahaha.

Speak Your Mind