Last weekend, Meredith and I took off for a long mother/daughter weekend to a new country: Belgium. Land of waffles, fries, mussels, beer, and chocolate. We had a wonderful time traveling together, exploring Brussels and Bruges. The weather was clear and very, very warm. We enjoyed museums, parks, canals, and of course, the food. Meredith is becoming quite adept at navigating around Europe, be it in airports, train stations, or subways and trams. She’s developing a keen sense of direction and observation. She’s a great travel partner, and I hope we get more opportunities for adventure.
For the February break, we opted for a divide and conquer approach. Larry needed to work for most of the week, and both Elliot and Larry wanted to learn to ski. Merrie had no desire to try the slopes, and both she and I wanted some sun and warmth. It had also been too long since I had seen (in person) my mom and dad. So the boys headed to the Alps and Merrie and I headed to Florida.
One of the benefits of this relocation has been how close Elliot and Meredith have become as they both have become older. They both have a nice group of friends from school, but over the past year they have become better friends with each other.
Last night, the kids continued the dinner conversation even after everyone was done eating. They kept talking while they did the dishes. They continued talking well after that, too. Their discussion was about the constitution (tho it definitely wandered in many political and ideological directions). And while it was mostly Elliot in the role of teacher, Meredith was far from a passive learner. She was engaged. She questioned and she challenged. She brought up good points and she stopped him from verbally steamrolling her (something he’s always working to improve with everyone).
I was off doing my own thing, but occasionally I picked up snippets as I passed through. It all made me smile. But the part that sent me over the moon was when I heard the very familiar strains of School House Rock’s “Preamble” floating through the house. I was a proud mama at that moment. (and it’s still stuck in my head). When I went downstairs later in the evening to wish them goodnight, I found them on their beanbag chairs happily watching a movie together.
I know that sometimes she is just humoring him. More often than not his passions are not in her wheelhouse. I know that sometimes he is over protective, and sometimes they just drive each other crazy. But they also really look out for each other. They take care of each other. It looks like they are on a path to be really great friends with each other for the rest of their lives. I don’t know that I could ask for more.
For the past 3-6 months, my kids are constantly misplacing or losing things. Important things. Expensive things. I’m not talking umbrellas or paperbacks (tho, those have been lost too). I’m talking keys, phones, wallets, train tickets, money, IDs, jackets, earbuds, hats, thermoses, computer chargers, razors, phone chargers. You name it, they are losing it. Like little costly breadcrumbs, trails of Underhill possessions are scattered everywhere. Berlin, Starnberg, Switzerland, on the trains, at the school. Continue reading They lose their sh*t; I lose my mind
You know I love my son, and I love all my friends’ kids to bits, but today Meredith gets the award for the Coolest Kid in World. She is celebrating the Buddhist New Year. She made gifts and cards for all of us, she decorated her room, and had a special prayer to read after pouring water on the heads of our Buddha statues. I took this opportunity to give her a book that can help with her adjusting to life in Munich. Happy New Year, everyone.
Meredith is continuing to grow into an interesting young pre-teen. She daily says or does things that tickle us and make us very grateful to have her in our life. She continues to make her room her sanctuary and retreat, and her style permeates the whole place. Her latest iconoclastic move is to communicate via hand-crafted signs on her door. I needed to capture them before this phase passes.
Turn to either of my kids quickly, and out of the blue ask them “What’s the first rule?” They will likely tell you, with eyes widening slightly for emphasis, and maybe surreptitiously looking around for a source of danger: Don’t Panic. Continue reading Our First Rule