for all the mothers (and Jake)

“Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only part of the first.”

~Anna Quindlen


Last weekend was graduation weekend at N.C. State, and the rest of North Carolina for that matter. Not for me, but for my brother Jake (Master’s), along with Richard’s sister Caroline (Bachelor’s).

It was also Mother’s Day on Sunday.

So I went to Raleigh on Saturday to join in the festivities capping off a lot of hard work. It is odd to think that I was there, feeling just like them, less than a year ago. And in some ways it feels like it’s been 20! But this time it was black and red instead of maroon and gold, and it was good to be on the outside looking in.

Sometimes celebrating people makes you happier than being celebrated.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone smile more than when Jake, my little brother who never did school as a kid, walked across that stage and then straight out of PNC Arena, diploma in hand. He’s the first and only one of us (so far) to get more than his bachelor’s degree, which he would tell you is highly ironic. As usual, God has a sense of humor. And I don’t think anyone was more proud than me.

On Sunday I went to church with Mom and Kate, who came to join the girls while Jake and Dad took the boat up to Ocracoke. We watched precious kids sing before sitting at a coffee shop for an hour and a half drinking too-expensive lattes and talking about life. Sometimes you just to spoil people with a hot daily beverage (HDB) and listen for a while.

Kate left shortly thereafter to drive to the Outer Banks, where the rest of the family is congregating for the week. Mom and I went on a 16-mile bike ride around town, which was a nice exploration of the cross-city trail, which she had never ridden before. It was a stunningly beautiful day, and I have the tan lines to prove it (they’re more line sunburn lines at the moment, but “tan” isn’t too far away.)

We finished with a late lunch of hamburgers and French fries and lemonade, and it was good. Sometimes you are reminded that life is not perfect, but it can still be pretty if you want it to be.

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I am thankful to my mother for a million things I could never innumerate completely. One of which is for being the one person I can always count on to tell the whole unvarnished truth. (Sometimes you need that person who will always tell you when your shirt is really ugly, and still love you no matter what.)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, and thank you for doing the hard things.


Blackberry Cobbler

Sometime last week Richard and I went on a grand adventure to find some blackberries, because it’s blackberry season in North Carolina and that is what must be done. It was a weeknight, after work, on one of those rare and beautiful May days when the humidity is not too high and you get a little bit chilly while riding bikes.

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We found our patch on the side of Eastwood road, and picked hard for 30 minutes in plain view of all the passerby’s. I’m still not certain whether we were trespassing or not, but it was well worth it either way. Blackberries in tow, we raced home feeling like we were 12 years old, summertime so close we could taste it.

In honor of these long days when the humidity isn’t too high, here’s a cobbler that could not be more simple. Share it with someone you love, and you will be happy you did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of fresh blackberries (or dewberries, which is what we actually have in Eastern NC)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Pour the melted butter into the bottom of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Mix the sugar, self-rising flour, and milk together until moistened, and pour the mixture over the butter. Do not stir. Spread blackberries evenly over the batter
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is browned and the cobbler is bubbling, about 45 minutes.
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