My wife and I have been married nearly 10 years now, and over that time we have spent most of our holidays and vacation time with her mom (between distance and financial constraints it’s been harder to get back to my family, though we have gotten better at seeing them more frequently in recent years). We’ve just come to expect heading up along routes 70 and 55, taking that slight left onto 39, passing the amazing windmill fields, then hitting route 43 and closing in on the Milwaukee suburbs.
Above: A shot of some windmills at the Mendota Hills Wind Farm along interstate 39 in northern Illinois.
Ah, going to Momm’s (we add an ‘m’ to signify the difference between my mom and my wife’s mom). There’s food and beer and entertainment; she’s the type of mom who likes to provide all of these things. It would be realistic to say that I look forward to these visits to my Momm’s simply because I don’t have to be in charge, or have to be anywhere, or put on real pants during the day. Did I mention the free food? And the free Wisconsin beer? Yes.
Above: Momm’s cat Keegan is in the Christmas tree…
But hanging at Momm’s doesn’t just come down to getting to relax and drink beer and watch football. I think the best part since Miranda was born has been seeing her (Miranda) fall in love with her Grandma and “The Uncles” during the holidays. The sort of intentional play and interaction we try to maintain with her all the time is exactly what they do for her there. Playing with blocks, reading books, putting puzzles together, letting her commandeer their phones to watch cat videos or “Whip My Hair”; they do it all. And beyond all of this, Grandma instantly becomes the go-to bathroom escort for little miss Miranda Grace, which really does free up time for Alison and I. Grandma seems to love it, though.
Above: Miranda learning some geography with her Mom and Grandma.
I think that the thing I get the most out of, however, is getting to do a few minor jobs around the house. Over the years I’ve gotten the chance to do a few different things. Hanging some pictures here and there. Putting up a gate. Snow blowing or shoveling. Refurbishing the garage door opener. Rehanging the blinds and putting in new curtain hardware. Installing doors. Fixing base plates for the screen door. Painting a few rooms. Doing dishes. That’s how I tell Momm that I love her and appreciate getting some time off to drink beer and watch football. And wear sweatpants all day long.
Above: One of my favorite tidbits at Momm’s house – a Pacific Northwest Native American style whale. Acrylic on linen, 16 by 16 inches.
Some highlights of this last trip were Momm playing Kinect games… getting Thai food with her good friends from MN… watching one of her favorite movies (House of D) with her… talking Packer football… discovering an amazing book of poetry (I still have it with me, Momm).
Here’s to many more memories! Love Love!