Mom’s Day musing

My life seems to consist of one split focus after another. I’m astonished at finishing anything. This past week is a good example. Not only did my bride and I share the desperate need to get our house ready to go on the market, but we both had other things to do: some needed doing, and some just made us happier. My week consisted of writing, editing, teaching, packing and sorting “stuff” into what could be trashed and what could be given away. Oh, and planning for Mother’s Day. That, actually, topped the list.

picnic pic

The memory: something like this.

Knowing that we’d soon embark on yet another strange diet, Paleo this time around, I doubted I could sell my sweetie on the idea of a brunch or a big meal somewhere. And after 45 years with this gal, I know better than to try and cook for her. But there had to be some way to show her the gratitude and attention she’d earned after putting up with me for so long. Thankfully, she came up with the perfect solution: a picnic.



But not just any picnic. Nope. This one would be smack in the middle of the lot on which our new home will soon be built. “Remember that romantic picnic we had in Germany, so many years ago? We went to all those little shops to buy wine, fruit, cheese, and bread, then gorged ourselves under a shady tree in the countryside. We even found some edelweiss!” Shades of Julie Andrews and the von Trapps.

Anyway, I did remember, and despite my certainty that our lot contained neither trees nor flowers, it would be a great place for a picnic. So we shopped for the required goodies, packed ’em in the car, and after dropping off a load of stuff at Goodwill, headed for the hills. Or, more specifically, Soleil at Laurel Canyon in Canton, Georgia. (Here’s their website.)

First picnic at Soleil

The reality.

And there we had our feast. Under the bright May sun, on hard-baked clay with hardly a plant or animal anywhere on our absolutely flat, featureless lot, we ate like royalty (only without the servants, castle, and general hubbub that typically accompanies such).

I realized, somewhere between sips of sweet Rhine wine and bites of yummy cheese–Gouda and Cream Havarti–that building a home is a bit like building a story. One starts with a plain blank page and eventually constructs something beautiful and intricate. The trick is being able to imagine the thing before it’s complete. One must ignore the doubts and navigate around the plot holes, manufacture details and a convincing narrative, and ensure that each piece of the puzzle fits seamlessly so that the ending is not only satisfying, but surprising despite the logic that ties it together. “Whoa. I didn’t see that coming. But ya know, it makes sense.”

We'll really be living here!

We’ll really be living here!

The difference now is that we’re relying on others to put this story together. We’ll do our part, to be sure, but I won’t be wielding a hammer this time. The construction will be up to someone else, hopefully much younger.

Our job is to be patient, keep our ultimate objectives in mind, and–of course–to pay the bills. Eventually, probably in late October, the castle walls will be completed; the tapestries will be hung in the great halls, and the new residents will start dragging their stuff into the new domain. Hopefully, we’ll clear away enough of the mess to throw one helluva party!



About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
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11 Responses to Mom’s Day musing

  1. Looks like an absolutely wonderful picnic. 🙂

  2. Dr. Langston, DMD says:

    Thanks for sharing! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ☺

    McKenzie from Dr. Langston’s office

  3. Karen Boyce says:

    Wow Josh – way to go to treat Annie! Ever the romantic!

  4. An-l says:

    I love picnics and this was a wonderful idea to celebrate Mother’s Day. All the hard work you are going through now to prepare for the move is going to be worth it all. It absolutely looks like you guys are doing right. It’s going to be beautiful. Congrats! Annel

  5. Cedric Gifford says:

    Enjoyed your comment concerning this life altering event and stress associated with it.

    Late in life another change in life will come with the loss of mobility/mental agility/health problems. I am there an in the process of consolidating my varied interests of years into a manageable life style. As I perceive it I am trying to stop worrying about doing what I can no longer do and enjoy time being alive and perceptive. It is a difficult change for me from ” doing ” to ” being ” because of the expectations that have driven me for the past 87 years.

    I look forward to years of love with my wife and time to appreciate my God and the world in which I have journeyed. Living is a fantastic trip !


  6. Alice Carnahan says:

    Congratulations! House plan looks fabulous! And what a cool idea for a picnic!

  7. Amanda says:

    Love it! Can’t wait to see how the house turns out…

  8. lizziecant says:

    I love a good house story, especially one linking the past with today, and bringing in “Downton Abbey,” “The Sound of Music,” and Germany! Europeans seem to know how to do things with class, somehow…

    And I do like the house plan although you’ll Doug and his crane to transplant all those tall trees bending over the house in the drawing. They will be worth it: Man cannot live on dirt alone. Question: Only two bedrooms? So after that hellavu party, we’d need to get ourselves removed somehow? The Crawleys always have enough spare bedrooms for everyone, and somehow extra housemaids and under-butlers to pitch in.

    May peace be with you and yours,


    • joshlangston says:

      We’re making some modifications to the plan, including moving the dining room to an addition that’ll eat up about two thirds of the patio. The dining room in the drawing will become Annie’s craft room. The room across the foyer from there will be turned into a bedroom, but I’ll use it for an office (with a window–I’ve never had a window). As for the post party collapse, we’ll be sure to have plenty of inflatables for folks to crash on.

      The tree thing will definitely be tough, especially since in our current place we have too many trees and not enough sun. Obviously, we’re all about extremes!

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