Saturday, August 16, 2008

Whims in Racine

We headed off to Racine, WI today to spend the day with Leif's mother, known to some as Herbal Nan and to Emma and Finn as Nonna. Personally, I love spending time with Nancy, especially on her home turf. When we arrived Nancy was decked out like the Obamacrat she is, complete with red socks and Obama pin to finish off her patriotic look. She took the kids to shop for school shoes and we were all shocked and delighted to learn Emma now wears a ladies size six! After shopping rendered us hungry Nancy treated us to a delicious lunch at Shillings Irish pub in the down town area.

From there we simply went where our whims led us. Nancy showed us her gardens at the DeKoven Center. She is a horticulturalist and works in the stunning gardens frequently. Emma and Finn were particularly interested because Leif and I were married in the unique chapel on the property more than a decade ago. We sought out the Frank Loyd Wright home on the water and took a drive to see Leif's Fine Arts Elementary School. We even managed to find Leif's first grade report card; the current Elsmo students were distressed by their father's poor academic performance. I was simply tickled.
Later we ended up stopping at the lake front to let the kids take a little dip. It is hard not to smile while watching Emma and Finn frolic in the water...and for us smiling is a good thing when we venture to Racine. You see, going home to Racine brings a bit of sadness to the Elsmo four. We all miss Leif's dad. The weight his passing has put on Nancy's shoulders is palpable in many many ways. That "heavenly hunk" made our lives brighter at every turn and he was always eager to celebrate our family. Spending a day in Racine with Nancy would only have been better if he had been there to share it with us...strange how that thought can leave you both fulfilled and a little lonely. I am sure Nancy lives with that paradox every single day and for that and much more she has my love and utmost respect.

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