Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Only Thing

--Absolutely the only thing--good about having as much wine as I've had this evening is the fact that we stopped drinking shortly after 8PM because our guest turns into a pumpkin long before midnight!  I have a fighting chance of not being hung over tomorrow morning, but I wouldn't bet on it.

My friend Michelle came over this evening for dinner with our family.  We haven't seen her for a long time, and it was really great to have a chance to catch up.  I'm not much of a drinker, but the combination of Himself's spectacular sangria and the opportunity to have the kind of 'girl talk' guaranteed to embarrass the hell out of my husband (I have to live vicariously through my single girlfriends, right??) is not a good one for this lightweight.

And the best part about it was that I didn't have time today for my usual pre-guest craziness.  I have an unholy pathology (OCD maybe?) about making sure that the house is tidy and clean before people come over, and today it just wasn't possible.  A quick, superficial pass through was all I had time for, and you know what?  It was ok anyway.  We all survived.  We had a good dinner.  And it was fun.

Today was one of those Saturdays.  I went one way with Thing One: a soccer tournament followed by his TKD class.  We left the house at 8AM (ugh).  Himself went another way with Thing Two and The Girl: baseball pictures followed by soccer practice followed by a baseball game.  We met up again at 1:30, traded children and kept going.  I got home about 2:30 and Himself at 3.  And despite the fact that I had to drive almost an hour each way to get Thing One to his soccer tournament, I wouldn't change a thing.

You see, it's hard to talk to the kid--I mean really talk--when his siblings are around.  There is no such thing as a meaningful, serious conversation with him in the presence of the younger two.  But today, the skies opened and he talked.  For the first time, he really wanted a detailed explanation of what Thing Two's issues are.  How exactly he's different, and why.  What purpose our meetings about him at school serve.  Even though he was sitting behind me and I couldn't see his face, I could clearly hear his mental wheels spinning as he processed my answers.  The older he gets, the more I can see that I am going to value the one-on-one time we have in the car...the one good thing about far-flung soccer tournaments, I suppose.      

Another good thing--this one about good friends--is that you can serve them 'experimental' (i.e., new-recipe) dinners without fear.  I first met Michelle when I was pregnant with Thing Two, lo these many years ago--we've been through a lot together, including her divorce a few years ago.  With that as a frame of reference, if dinner had crashed and burned, we would have cheerfully ordered a pizza and life would have gone on!  But because there was no pressure, it came out great: roasted pork tenderloin with apples and onions, garlic mashed potatoes, salad and rolls.  And she brought over a lemon angel-food cake that was completely out of this world.

So, overall...a good day.  A happy day.  And even a sunny one.  Measuring success today in things done, friends caught up with and sangria consumed!      


  1. When the kids were in high school they either started their day at 8:30 or 9:30 and the day would end at 3:30, 4:30 or 5:30 depending on what their schedules were. The school bus did one pick-up, at 7:15, and left the high school at 5:30 every afternoon.

    Between school scheds and activities I learned to knit so I would have something to do in the car while I played taxi driver. And I came to love the times when I was driving just one of the two because as you say there is something that facilitates conversatio between you and your (pre) teenager when there is no "risk" of too much eye contact.

  2. Joan, it's funny that you say you took up knitting: right before Christmas, I was in Michael's and saw the yarn they sell for making ruffly scarves, which I love. I bought three skeins and the needles, but have not gotten around to re-learning how to knit yet. (My grandmother taught me when I was very small, but I've long since forgotten.) With the amount of time I spend at baseball and soccer and basketball practices, I'd love to use some of it productively! Knitting would at least yield something tangible and beautiful, unlike my current Angry Birds habit.

    How true that no-eye-contact situations make it so much easier to talk. Already I'm finding that my daughter talks much more to me than either of my sons do, so I'll actively be looking for situations in which the boys feel comfortable speaking their minds as they get older. For them, I find that I need to know what questions to ask to get them to open up about their days, whereas she just comes home and spontaneously downloads to me. Good thing we spend so much time in the car!


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Preview, Part 2

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