To Everything There is a Season

conversations with hank


Molly: (untamed nap time curls falling in her eyes) Good morning, mama.

Me: (lounging on the sofa, looking up from my book) Good morning, Ms. Molly MaGoo. Good morning, even though it is 4 o’clock and soon it will be evening time.

Molly: (crawling into my lap, looking past me out our large picture window) It morning time, but no sun. No sun, mama! Look, no sun.

Me: (sighing into the gray rainy winter afternoon) That is right, there is no sun today. The sun said to the clouds, “Clouds, today I shall give you the day and in return you shall give me a rest!” and the clouds cheered…

Molly: Hurray!

Me: (giggling) And the clouds took over the day for the sun and blanketed the world in a cozy haze so we also could rest: the trees and the people, the plants in the fields and cats and the dogs .

Molly: (yawing) and ducks.

Me: And ducks. (smiling) Because everyone deserved a chance to be the center of attention, no matter how gray, and shinny, entertaining, delightful things also deserve a chance to sit in the audience. This is why we have summer and winter, spring and fall. To everything there is a season

Molly: (curled into my lap, watching raindrops start to fall and race down our large picture window) Shhhhhhhhh, mama. The sun is resting. Now is chuva (rain)!

Me: (hugging her tight)




Molly and her "Ducks"

Molly and her “Ducks”


Me: It’s time…

Hank: (groan)

Me: I know.

Hank: (stretching) Argh, I just don’t want to do anything.

Me: Said every single person in Portugal today. Reentry after a holiday, even a three-day weekend, is tricky. You have to be careful with yourself when you reenter the school/work atmosphere from a totally relaxed state. You have to take it slow; surface too quickly and you get the bends.

Hank: I’m going to miss you.

Me: We had a great weekend, didn’t we?

Hank: The best.

Me: I agree, but you know the beauty of December in Portugal, don’t you? Friday is another holiday.

Hank: I forgot completely!

Me: So we get to do it alllllll over again this weekend.

Hank: I want to do it all the same. I want to start with pizza in Fafe, then I want a pajama day, then I want to decorate more for Christmas and drink hot chocolates and then go look at Christmas lights.

Me: A solid plan.


A Quiet Day in the Country (and pee)

The quiet country lane where our dear friends now live.  If you could only smell the spring flowers and hear the bees buzzing about the hedge... Ah, Heaven.

The quiet country lane where our dear friends now live. If you could only smell the spring flowers and hear the bees buzzing about the hedge… Ah, Heaven. Oh and there is a cow close by that puts on quite a show if you time it right.  *wink


(on the drive home from the countryside)

Me: (deep satisfied sign) Conçesão’s house is my dream house. I am so happy for her.

Pai: A country house is not my dream, personally, but I am also very happy for her.

Hank: What is your dream house, papa?

Pai: An apartment in Lisbon, in the right neighborhood, in an older building, but one that has a reliable elevator for your mother.

Me: That also doesn’t sound bad.

Pai: And when your mother sells her novel to Hollywood and she makes her millions then we can also buy a country house in the North for her to write.

Me: On a quiet country lane with bees buzzing and…

Molly: Vaca faz xixi! Vaca faz xixi, mãe!  MÃE!  (The cow peed!  The cow peed, mom! MOM!)

Me: She did indeed, didn’t she!  My lands!

Molly: Que Nojo (disgusting)!

Hank: (doubled over laughing)

Me: That will be ingrained in her memory forever.

Hank: I have never seen anything like that. That cow peed for like 20 minutes.

Pai: Cows are large animals.

Me: You most certainly have seen magnificent peeing in the past but you may not remember our trip to the Lisbon Zoo where a rhinoceros decided to also relieve his bladder right in front of us.

Hank: I remember none of this.

Me: It was like a fire hose of urine. Positively majestic.


Me: I hear you, little one. There were bees buzzing and birds chirping and you pet a horse and saw sheep and chickens and ducks and dogs and ran amuck with big boys, but all you will remember from this day is that cow pissing because…

Hank: Portugal.

Pai: ONLY IN THE COUNTRYSIDE! In Lisbon there are only pissing rhinoceros.

Me: They should market that.

Pai: Don’t be mean to Lisbon.

Me: Hipster paradise.