Archive for category Family Musings
Tweetit was about ten years ago that i received a certain letter from nick
and he used a phrase that i haven’t forgotten after all these years. he wrote, “today was such a beautiful day and yet i know that it’s also a day that i’ll likely never remember.” i remember reading that sentence and being struck by its complexity about the gift of our lives, compounded by our inability to remember much of it.
today was like one of those days. i would call it a perfect day in my little life // perfection, as in, i had a day that perfectly reflects the joy in my current life situation. not the absence of flaw. //
nick was off with his best buds, enjoying the morning after cinco de mayo in pittsburgh. and i was left with nothing but a bouncing two year old with an expanding vocabulary and eroding interest in naps, along with one of the most gorgeous weather days cleveland has ever seen. i kept wishing my skin had a sensory camera to capture the sweet lavender in the air, the near aqua skyline, and fresh burst of lime green trees. it was almost unreal, my eyes kept scanning the horizon of wherever I was, i just wanted to keep taking it in.
isaiah wondered into my room when he woke up and proceeded to tell him me that he did NOT want to go to church. i wasn’t alarmed. he also says that he doesn’t like pizza and i know that is definitely not true.
i spoke sternly to isaiah to stop playing with my glasses case because the cleaning cloth i stored inside the case was missing and i knew he was fond of opening and closing it when i wasn’t looking. as i turned my back on his somber face, i wondered if i had come down too hard on him. the thought evaporated as he gleefully called my attention, “mama! look!” as he held the small piece of cloth that had been missing. “it was on your chair!” he said proudly.
i couldn’t believe he found it.
I packed cheerios (“mama! that’s too much cheerios!” he said as i filled the sandwich bag) and pretzel rods: his staple church food. i loaded him in his red wagon, strapped him in, and tossed his diaper bag and my monstrous purse in the empty seat and began the slow wagon walk to church, closing my eyes into the wind. the quiet was delicious.
we parked the wagon in the back of the church and slipped into the cry room where isaiah has learned to behave quite well for an hour mass, including shaking hands and giving peace greetings.
we headed home.
we danced in the kitchen to FM radio and changed our clothes to play outside. it was only 10:30am and i felt he and i had already loved each other and the world more than three times over. our heads were delirious with excitement over nothing.
i had more energy than i knew what to do with and washed the windows outside while isaiah trotted back and forth on the lawn, pretending to mow it. after i dragged his miniature basketball hoop to the front stoop and began taking impossible shots from the lawn, isaiah quickly learned context as i shouted, OH MONEY! when the ball swooshed through the net.
he ran around dunking it screaming MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! for ten minutes.
the neighbors think we’re wack.
then our favorite next door neighbor, ms. m., came outside and we talked on and off while we both worked on our homes and trees, weeds and herbs. isaiah talked to her as well:
ms. m: how are you isaiah?
isaaiah: great! did you see squirrel in tree?
ms. m: the squirrel? oh yes. all the time. they run everywhere. they’re so…so…oh what’s the word?
ms. m and i laughed for a good several minutes at isaiah’s vocabulary suggestion.
as i pruned the trees that draped from our property onto ms. m’s driveway, isaiah dutifully picked up the long branches and put them in a pile. this went on a few hours. neighborly exchanges, borrowing tools.
when we went inside, i was shocked that i was already 3pm but isaiah’s tired hungry face didn’t lie.
i filled a plate with a sandwich and a few of his favorite treats, marshmallows. a glass of milk within arms length. within minutes the food was gone. i turned around to ask him if he wanted more and his head was hanging low, his eyes half closed.
the kid was asleep on the table.
i gently picked him up and his head rolled onto my shoulder and brought him upstairs. he smelled of the earth, spring, and toddler sweat. a perfume of boyhood and love. i laid him in his bed, second guessing if i should change him. he was adorable, but filthy. for once i let him be dirty. i took off his sandals and his fat sweaty toes instantly took a breath. his eyes never once opened.
i wandered to the kitchen, wondering how my allergies had not yet kicked in at all, or my seasonal asthma. as i chopped a baby eggplant and sautéed it with garbanzo beans, i nonchalantly labeled it a miracle from god. i tossed the eggplant and beans over small serving of golden fluffy couscous and a king size bed of mixed greens and ate until my heart’s content, feeling like my appetite sharpened from so many hours in the sun. as i admired the rare occasion that our house was tidy and our landscaping was reasonably under control, i heard a familiar laughter in the driveway.
nick was home.
as we exchanged updates about our weekend, we laughed like a couple on a date, when everything someone says is fascinating yet familiar which makes you laugh even harder.
as i laid back in the couch, i heard nick rustle and felt him gently lay his head on my chest. quiet.
we could feel the spring wind coming through the newly washed windows. a small kiss. made me think that our 7 year anniversary is in a few weeks and felt, in that moment, “this is exactly why we got married. to have this moment right now.”
and before i could tell him that, i heard the pitter patter of excited feet, the small wood groan of a door on a rusty hinge, and a voice, “mama? mama?”
i walked up the stairs and turned the corner to find two huge brown eyes looking for me. they were my eyes, but nick’s expression. dark pupils, an unassuming spirit lingered behind them. his father’s son indeed.
nick went into laundry gear and I went on a bike ride. a 43 minute cruise of the noiseless streets, with a scant showing of human existence. everyone seemed to be elsewhere in the world. i didn’t mind.
i strapped on my heart monitor to keep track of my workout pace and challenged every hill i could find. push. push. push. puuuussshhh.
when i came home, isaiah met me at the door, squealing and nick was on the phone with his parents. he was updating about our impending events. my father’s 70th birthday party. nick’s graduation and graduation party the following weekend. then memorial weekend. it was a busy time.
isaiah came outside to help me put my bike away and somehow found the remnants of the costume he used when making a snowman. he flopped on the hat and swung the red scarf around his neck. and then he grabbed the shovel out of the driveway. as i swept the helicopter leaves, nick talked on the phone, and isaiah the snowman started shoveling non existent snow, my heart swelled.
an ordinary sunday evening at dusk, with no particular reason to be grateful except that’s all my heart could muster. even this photo of isaiah is ordinary. slightly fuzzy, the lighting off, begging to be sharpened, but it’s real. it’s perfectly imperfect. it’s isaiah. it’s life.
i whirled a spaghetti and garlic bread dinner as “a league of their own” – nick’s favorite movie – came on tv. we ate, chatted, joked. isaiah tried out his newly cemented manners, “i don’t like this anymore, thank you.” as he pushed his plate as far away from him as possible when he was done eating.
we watched the rest of the movie, dancing during commercials and tickling each other until someone screamed STOP.
and then we ate vanilla ice cream with sprinkles before showers, prayers, and bedtime.
and now i write this.
i write this not to share what a grand life i have. i write this not to throw joy in your face if you feel joyless. i don’t even write this for anyone else but myself. to remind myself that every once in a while, a day, a moment comes along that gives us amnesia. it has no memory of what brought us to that day, it only knows what is happening in real time. in those rare moments, there is no past or future, or even whimsical dreams. there is only now.
i write that moment down now so i can have that fraction recorded somewhere. i write it because i know that most things written today are about anything but what i just wrote: un-newsworthy events that affirm every goodness still in the world. a sunny day. a child’s innocence. gardening. dirty feet. a conversation. spaghetti. a photo taken. scrubbing a toddler clean.
and these things i write are only a handful of the million moments i experienced today, but already, i cannot remember all that took place. i can’t remember what isaiah said to me after i asked him if he wanted strawberry milk. (but i do remember the face he made when he licked the inside of a lemon for the first time last night) i can’t remember what my neighbor shared as we exchanged parenting stories. i don’t even recall what i wore today.
each thing was done with love and gratitude.
//it was a perfect day//
My brother Fran has four kids, 3 of them are boys. Nick and I try to visit their family in North Canton as often as we can. Now that the weather is turning, it’s easier to get down there and let all the kids run around. (Well, Isaiah, for now, just kind of lays there.) It’s amazing to me to know they will all grow up together and are so close in age. Cousins are an invaluable part of our lives and I know it’s true for Nick and I that we love spending time with our cousins. So, it’s important for us to see Isaiah grow familiar with his.
When we see our niece and nephews, we get a glimpse of what’s in store for us down the road. A lot of it looks wonderful. Some of it looks a bit intimidating…
Right after this picture was taken, Zach started hiding in the living room. He finally admitted to Suzi (my sister-in-law and Zach’s mom) that he had swallowed a nickel. Specifically, it was Jesse’s nickel.
Apparently this wasn’t the first time one of the kids swallowed a coin. So after a scolding and punishment, Zach was sent to his room. Jesse, looking adorably confused as to why Zach was in trouble asked what happened. When he realized his beloved little $.05 was missing he screamed at the top of his lungs, “MY NICKEL!!!!!!”
As sad as he was, I couldn’t help but laugh my butt off — he was just so darned cute and the situation was so ridiculous. He left the table with his head down in utter sorrow.
I looked at Isaiah, munching away on tongue and watching angels float around him, and wondered what was in store for him. If he was going to swallow any precious heirlooms or coveted trinkets in the future.
God, I hope not. I still need to learn know how to do the heimlich maneuver.
TweetI was just looking through some old things and organizing our office when I realized that one year, I had just returned from my 2 month trip to the Philippines.
So much has changed in one year as Nick and I have settled into jobs, our first house, our 4th year of marriage, and, now, our first pregnancy.
These were the roses that Nick bought and greeted me with when I returned home. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how wonderful those months were, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget how dreadful it was to be separated for that long, too.
Looking back, I am so grateful that I went on that trip that was so much more than a trip. It taught me so many things about interdependence, family, culture, and belonging. It was worth every sacrifice made to bring it to fruition. It also sweetened our marriage in ways that I never expected. Never again since I have returned home have I taken Nick for granted. Not once, not one day.
If I, or we, ever seem cheesy or overly happy, it’s because, frankly, we are and after being on the other side of the earth for 9 weeks without him, it taught me a thing or two about gratitude and love.
TweetTwo words: car accident.
Minor, but any form of a car accident has a ripple effect. It puts these tiny but significant wrinkles in your day.
Nick was at a complicated 4 or 5 way stop, turned into the intersection while someone decided to pause and keep going into the intersection, part of her brain erasing one important fact: THERE’S ANOTHER HUMAN BEING IN THE INTERSECTION.
A frontal collision, the bumper ripped off, some damage that left her car scratched and ours not drivable. The most important thing, obviously, is that Nick is fine and the only thing affected was his anxiety over paper work, car rental, insurance, and my need to get to work that morning but our 1-car situation made that slightly impossible.
Nick is fantastic in high stress situations. He claims it’s very Borchers of him, and I must agree. When the pressure is on, the shields and blinders come up so he only sees his goal, strategy, and the most direct access to resolving the issue. My brain, in times of crisis, assesses the likelihood of survival and then ponders how precious life is, how short and fleeting our dreams are…You can see the difference.
What I think is hilarious is we were just in Russia this weekend when Kay and Kelly (Nick’s mom and sister) were out running errands when the car overheated. Fortunately but against Kay’s will, they pulled off the road to make sure the car didn’t explode or anything like that.
They call Ron (Nick’s Dad).
According to Kelly and Kay, it was 2:40pm when they called and Ron said he could leave in about 20 minutes. According to Kelly and Kay, they sighed and complained to one another as to why he couldn’t leave right then and there. According to Kelly and Kay, he should just come to their rescue whenever a crisis occurs.
Ron comes to the rescue, of course.
We all laugh at the expectations in the story and I giggle at some of the similarities I see in Nick whenever a crisis occurs.
While Nick was the one in the accident, he called to let me know, ask me to find the location of the closest Enterprise, but then took care of all of the details after that. I did nothing. I offered my help, but I just sat there, watching him make phone call after phone call, eating my salad and listening to him give policy numbers and identifying information a bazillion times to a bazillion people.
When he was done, I threw my arms around him in a big hug and asked if I could make him something to eat, relax, and take a moment to enjoy the fact that he was fine, our life is great, and no one was hurt.
He just smiled, said, “No, thanks…I’m heading off to work now to get some stuff done.”
My forehead wrinkled in confusion and disbelief, “Uh, you work for a parish. I think most folks would understand if you’re in a car wreck to at least take your lunch hour to breathe.”
But he just grabbed his briefcase, kissed me, and walked out the door, heading to the office, his original destination.
You gotta hand it to that Borchers work ethic…they sure don’t mess around.
It is the end of the year and I always right a Year in Review. That probably won’t be posted until we edge toward New Year’s Eve, but going back even further than a year, I was thinking about how much has happened to my life, Nick’s life, our life since we smashed cake into each other’s faces and our guests started taking bets who would win in a wrestling match. A lot has changed, especially this year.
Nick’s doctoral program, moving to Boston, moving to Cleveland, buying our first home, my trip to the Philippines, Nick’s new job, the garbage disposal…all these things have given us tremendous opportunities to grow and learn about ourselves and each other.
We thank God everyday for each of our friends and family members who have supported us this year. And while my Year in Review is still a few weeks away, we just wanted to take this time and say Thank You to all of you who have prayed for us, helped us move in anyway, and assist us in realizing our dreams.
So, thanks. (in a really, really big, Statue of Liberty kind of way)
(By the way, in case you don’t remember, or didn’t see our wedding cake fight, just know that I TOTALLY won. Look at his face if you need evidence.)
TweetAfter we completed as many tasks as we could, Keith arrived.
Perfect timing. He was all smiles.
By Thursday evening, everyone was tired, but every 59 minutes someone would say, “Thank God the hall is done.” That would followed by a chorus of, “yeahhh….TOTALLY…”
We watched a little sneak peak of the slideshow because Kay “does not want any surprises,” and I agreed. It’s better to get the crying out now, I thought.
Of course there were tears and it was the first time I managed to stay dry eyed throughout it. I love watching people’s reactions when they see funny or moving pictures set to music. It’s almost like you can see their memories popping up in their heads.
We woke up early and immediately went separate ways. Ron went on errands. Kelly went to go get her manicure and pedicure. The boys went golfing. Kay and I went to go get the dress. Ben Norris’ wife and daughter, Bhumika (pronounced: Boom-ick- cah) (nickname is Bhum- prounounced “Boom”) and Lilly were at the house while everyone disappeared to get the last minute things finished. When we picked up the dress and dropped it off at Kay’s parents house, we hung it up and fluffed it out. It looked majestic. I didn’t know if Paul would leak out a tear or two, but all seemed dry when we were on our way out.
“We better get going,” Kay said to her parents after we were done hanging the dress.
“Yup,” Rose would agree.
I started inching near the door thinking that was our cue to leave.
“Bhum and Lilly are at the house waiting there. We might go back there and take them to the hall.”
“Oh, okay!” Rose said.
Paul was confused, “Who’s BLOOMING LILY?”
I nearly fell over laughing so hard.
“No,” Kay said, “Bhum – short for Bhumika – and her daughter Lilly. Not ‘Blooming Lily!’”
We made it back to the house and began to get ready for the rehearsal and dinner.
The closed and ripped up roads provided a bit of struggle, but eventually everyone arrived at the rehearsal. It was a great time, including when Tim had to pull out his cell phone to practice his vows. Apparently, Kelly texted what he was supposed to say and it was held in the cell. Always a good resource, that cell phone.
Fireside, an old winery, was the perfect backdrop for the rehearsal dinner. Rog Borchers and Don Cordonnier were the trusty bartenders that night and were quite generous with the Crown, I must add. It was a great evening, but the highlight was the “siblings’ speeches” that took place after dinner.
Nick, Keith, and Jay were all giving individual speeches and toasts for Kelly, a moving gesture I thought. Once I heard the plan I thought, “Oh, this’ll be a ride on Disaster Transport. They’re going to be bawling their eyes out.”
Before rehearsal, Keith asked me to hear him out and I did. Twice. In the garage and then Kelly’s empty room. It was good. Poor guy, I thought, he’s going to bawl like a baby.
Then at the church, Jay asked me to read over his speech, handwritten in green notebook. Poor guy, I thought, he’s going to cry himself to sleep tonight.
Nick jailed himself in the basement refusing any help or rehearsal with his speech.
So, the three musketeers marched up to the front of Fireside and stood shoulder to shoulder to deliver their toasts to their one and only sister, Kelly. I had Ron’s video camera and thought it’s be fun to get it all on tape.
First up: Keith. Funny, moving, delivered well. Choked up midway. Glanced at Kelly – bawling her eyes out.
Second: Jay. Bawling throughout. Miracle all the words came out. Glance at the audience. 65% crying. Kelly – still crying.
Third: Nick. Walks from side to side, dry eyed. Calm and sincere. I hear a whisper, “He talks like a pastor!” Glance at Kelly – tears are under normal control. Glance at self, train wreck. I’m bawling like a big fat baby and can’t stop. Why do I have the camera? Whatta horrible idea.
We get through rehearsal and decide to end it around 11pm-ish.
I spot Tim and Kelly alone outside and hear her say good-bye to him. In reply, Tim says, “Next time I see you, you’ll be walking down the aisle in your wedding dress.” Another hug.
I look at Nick and start crying again. That’s what you get for eavesdropping.