Clare was born with an umbilical hernia that never healed (for most babies, these hernias eventually close on their own). Clare had reached the age at which doctors recommend closing it. The concern is that part of the intestines could get caught in the hernia, which would result in a serious health crisis. During the past school year, Clare began experiencing tenderness in the area of her hernia, so her doctor recommended surgery over the summer.
Easier said than done. The hernia surgery requires about two weeks of recuperation. Most of the possible dates for surgery would have required Clare to drop out of her Irish step dancing camp or our family to delay our scheduled vacation. I picked August 21 to avoid these conflicts and because she would have one full week of recovery before school began. She will be on limited activity at school, but considering they start with half days that should be fine. I knew August 21 would mean we had to return from Rhode Island in weekend beach traffic, but it didn't occur to me that surgery on that date would interfere with our solar eclipse viewing.
I don't suppose it had to interfere completely with our family's viewing. Clare and I were back from the hospital before noon. She was in a lot of pain, but I had her tucked into bed. I could have taken Meg and Anne out to see the eclipse, but I had not gotten the special eclipse glasses because we were on vacation for the previous two weeks. I did not want to take three-year-old Anne outside without the glasses, because telling her not to look at the sun would be an invitation to look directly at the sun. My husband caught a glimpse of the eclipse and took Meg out to see its reflection. I watched from the window as it became slightly darker outside (we only experienced a partial eclipse in our area). Soon Clare woke up. We fed her jello and yogurt and I let her watch NASA coverage of the eclipse on my phone. That's the best we could do.
We may have failed on the eclipse around here, but we had a big win in the garden. While we were away, we hoped for rain but didn't have anyone look after our garden. When we returned and Meg inspected our garden, she found the zucchini pictured above. We are so proud of it. We decided if we had a fair to enter it into, it would definitely be a blue ribbon winner. There was some debate over what we should do with the zucchini. We've decided to compromise. We will grill some slices from the zucchini and turn the rest into zucchini bread.