In the distance — not so very far away at all, but obscured by trees and campers and people stuff — I can see a glimmer of blue. A lake. And I assume it has a nice beach, because this campground was, over the weekend, absolutely filled with families and kids having fun.

I, however, haven’t looked at it, because Zelda can’t really walk and she makes bad choices when left alone. Bad choices! I used to tell R, when I sent him off to do things with his friends as an early and then late-teenager, “Make good choices,” and eventually he said the same thing to me whenever I left the house. It always made me smile.

But I would scold Zelda with that phrase if I could. Alas, she wouldn’t understand. But if I leave her on the floor, she jumps onto the seats to look out the windows, and if I leave her on a seat, she jumps to the floor so that she can go try a different window. She wants to be able to see my return. So no walks for me, because every jump for her causes a yelp of agony and yet she refuses to not jump if I’m not immediately available to stop her.

I like my campsite, though. The campground is very much a seasonal place, a mix of permanent installations and trailers that look like they’ve been here for a while with some short-term spots. But there was a grassy row — I’d guess four campers could get squeezed in if necessary — that I had all to myself. With a cute family kitty-corner to me with three small kids and a brand-new trailer and very Canadian accents. They made me smile, too.

Today is seven years since my mom died. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately, about why she is the only person I want when I need to cry. She was a brisk mother. My ex once described her as “austere” to me, which I thought was totally wrong, but she did not suffer fools gladly and his experience of her was undoubtedly different than mine. But she could be quite dispassionate. I could cry to her and she would be warm and loving and sympathetic, but she wasn’t going to take on any of my pain and she was going to stop me as soon as she decided I was wallowing.

It occurs to me that maybe I said it best in my eulogy for her, so I’ll link to that: my eulogy for my mother.

But I didn’t need to be a grown-up with her. It wasn’t about love, it was about her endless ocean of calm. She was extremely good at pulling small children’s loose teeth, because she didn’t particularly care how much you fussed. If you were ready to have the tooth out, she was going to yank it. If you weren’t ready, she was going to shrug and leave you alone. I think she was probably an excellent nurse.

There’s a line in Grace — oh, a paragraph. I’ll quote it:

She wished she could talk to her mom. Just for half an hour. To hear her mom’s voice, to let herself be folded into her mother’s hug. She could imagine the sharp, searching look her mother would give her, followed by the, “Chin up, darlin’. That’s my girl,” words of approval.

Pretty sure my mother never, in my entire life, said those words to me or would have said those words to me. That wasn’t her language, and she wasn’t a southerner. But a look, a nod, a “You’ll be fine,” the confidence in me, but the hug, too. That was my mom. I miss her.

But no wallowing! Moving on, I’m on the road today, headed to a provincial park. Did I mention that I’m in Canada? I’m in Canada. It was fun being confused by the distances on the road signs — 88 miles to Ottawa? How did I get that so wrong! Oh, right, kilometers. Sigh of relief...

And today I’m looking forward to trying out a Canadian grocery store. I’ve eaten only snacks for the past two days — healthy-ish snacks, carrots and nuts and dried fruit and jerky and turkey slices — but I am ready to buy some ingredients and cook some real food.

So those are my goals for the day: get moving, go to a grocery store, eat some real food, and enjoy Canada. And not let Zelda hurt herself anymore. I’m not happy with how the stitches look, but I’m not yet so worried that I am searching for Canadian vets. And she’s putting weight on her foot now, so that’s a good sign.

Eight days until Grace releases. I’m trying not to be anxious about it, but I am. I try to avoid reading reviews, but you have to read the first few in case there are issues with the file or problems with the download. I’m going to bet myself a container of Sanders dark chocolate caramels with sea salt — extremely delicious, not at all good for me — that at least one of the first five complains about pronouns and Avery. If two or more do, I’m going to buy myself something even nicer, although I’m not sure what yet. Maybe a sushi dinner at a good sushi place. A win! (Although if you’re reading this, planning on reading Grace, and willing to write a review, don’t let this influence you, please. I know that people are going to complain about Avery, just the way people complained about not knowing that Henry was black in A Gift of Ghosts, but that doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to it.)

Ooh, after 10 already, so time for me to get going. More about Grace soon! I’ve got some fun bookmarks to give away, so I need to think about how to do that. But check it out:

spine of book

That is one ridiculously thick book. By my standards, anyway. My sister-in-law’s review: “Oh, it’s so pretty!!!”