When it comes to motherhood, I want to be just like Abby when I grow up. Abby is my second cousin once removed, granddaughter of my mother’s first cousin Barbara Williams Espy, daughter of Jim and BG Hook (my second cousin), wife of Dan Ronco, and mother of Silas (called Si) and Virginia (called Ginger or Gin.)
She’s a working mom – has her own business and works from home. Her degree is in engineering and her business (I think) has to do with consulting about important things like restoring streambeds for salmon habitat. I am full of admiration for Abby. She is well informed, a great conversationalist, and has a grand sense of humor. And she is beautiful.
But, it’s her parenting skills that I most admire. Take the last few days, for instance… First, let me say that Abby and the kids came down a week or ten days ago for two weeks in Oysterville at the Red House. It was their ‘vacation’ and, of course, they were busy from dawn till dusk. They picked blackberries, dug clams, gave their little skiff, “Cutie,” a bright new coat of paint.
Dan was in Seattle, working, and like the dads in the days of the T.J. Potter and the train, he arrived at the beach Friday night. By the time Nyel and I walked to the post office Saturday afternoon, he and Abby were putting the finishing touches on a tree house in the back yard.
And it wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill tree house either. “It’s a tree pirate ship,” Abby said, “and we didn’t buy a thing. It’s all made of stuff we found in the shed. We’re only missing the Jolly Roger.” Plus, we were informed, they used just six nails. Mostly the tree ship was stabilized with guy wires. “We didn’t want to compromise the old cherry tree more than we had to,” she said.
As we talked, Ginger was clambering up and down the ladder and Si was curled up on the ‘deck’ reading. Ginger seemed content to just look over the picket-fence bulkhead at her vast kingdom below. Abby says that she has been entranced with the dress-up trunk in the house so no doubt she will soon outfit herself in pirate gear suitable for manning the ramparts or whatever four-year-old pirates do.
Meanwhile, Si who is starting the first grade this fall and has read all the Narnia books this summer, was curled up on the deck, nose in another adventure. No telling where his tree house voyages will take him next. (And, I hasten to add here, that he will be sailing forth with a proper flag at the prow — installed since our Saturday conversation.)
The following day, Abby called and asked if it would be out of line for the kids to set up a lemonade stand across from the church to catch the crowd coming out of Vespers. Homemade lemonade with smooshed blackberries (hand picked) in it. Yum!
Yesterday it rained and blew. Not a great day for tree ships or lemonade stands. Dan had gone back to the big city and I wondered how things were going at the Red House. Not to worry. About then Abby called asking to borrow a few eggs. “This has turned out to be a baking day,” she said. “I’ve got a few over-the-hill bananas so we’re going to make banana bread. But Dan took the rest of the eggs back home with him…”
Well, I know there are some things you can’t do over again. But if I could go back to my days of young motherhood, I would want to be just like Abby. I hope I’m around long enough to tell Si and Ginger (when they’re old enough to ‘get’ it) how lucky they are to have Abby as a mom!