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    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Mothering at Mid-Career: Peach Season
August 5, 2008 - 4:51am

I like to eat a peach every day when they're in season. It's not a resolution or a wacky diet or anything; I just like peaches, and when there are ripe ones around I try to eat them. Peach season is brief and the fruits don't last more than a day or two once they ripen; they remind me that summer is winding down and I need to enjoy it while I can.

A week ago we drove an hour west to pick peaches in a lovely orchard on top of a mountain; within less than an hour we had twenty-four pounds of peaches, almost half of them from a single tree. When we got home I peeled and cut up four quarts for the freezer (for peach pies in January, when a ripe peach is a miracle), made a peach pie for company, and then worked my way through the rest (with the help of my family). They didn't last out the week, but we've got more in the house now--from the grocery store that buys its peaches from the same orchard where we picked. Sometimes I peel myself a peach and just stand over the sink to eat it, licking the juices that run down my hand. Summer is short, and peaches are good.

It's a sign of the times that I am thinking about peaches at all right now. I'm leaving for a conference on Thursday, and in past years the week before a conference was all about making sure the house would run smoothly in my absence. I'd be doing an extra load or two of laundry, making sure the refrigerator was stocked, writing out schedules of the kids' school or camp days and making sure my husband knew who had what commitments when.

I'm sure I'll still throw in a load of laundry before I go, but as for the rest: I'm eating peaches. My daughter is 18 and reasonably self-sufficient: she'll get herself to work, and to choir practice, and anywhere else she needs to be. My son, who turned 11 last week, is in full-day camps this week and next, and my husband Mark will get him there and pick him up; they both have the routine down pat. Over the weekend, Mark himself has a two-day commitment that briefly gave me pause, but Mariah has already promised she'll keep an eye on Nick. I think they may have plans to go see a movie together.

So I can just keep eating peaches. Oh, and finishing my paper, but that's all. It's a good life we're living right now.


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