Monday, June 13, 2005
Existential Page Turner
Friday night was an outdoor movie night at Nick's school. It was the last day of school and so the evening had a definite summer blissfulness about it--warm, a little breezy, pregnant with the promise of a slower schedule, more freewheeling, unplanned. Tech Daddy set everything up--he of the van and mondo stereo/video equipment. I am sure he was the guy in college who was on the spring party committee, securing the mega tweeter/woofer ensemble, the cool bands and head of the joint rolling committee. Moms were on the grass with lawn chairs and the younger siblings. This year, finally, I know some of the mommies and so I shared bugspray, Nick's friends greeted Ian, and Daisy ate free popcorn on her blanket. The trees were epic, full and gently stirring, like models for sweeping 19th century American landscapes. The babies got restless so I took them home. MZA stayed with Nick and his friend.
The next morning was massive preparation for Nick's 8th birthday party. One of those "life is what happens while you're making other plans" kinds of mornings. 7:00 a.m. at the Safeway with Ian, buying sherbert punch, ginger ale, brown bags and Mylar balloons: Sponge Bob, Rugrats, soccer and a general "Happy Birthday." The cashier didn't charge me for the balloons. Happy moment of semi-stolen serendipity. Thanks Mr. Safeway Man. Forgot the ice, back into the store holding pudgy Ian hand. C'mon! Back at the hacienda, MZA is feverishly mowing the lawn, clearing the walkway, Daisy lights up when she sees the "boons." She carts them by their strings all over the house, "Boons. Boons. Boons."
Trying to get ready for a boy's birthday with two toddlers is like peeling your sanity away with turpentine. Daisy is in a full time mommy knee hug, I'm walking around the house like we're father-daughter dancing--she's on my feet, trailing me around the house as I do cleaning triage and determine the family room can slide--the deck is more important.
Transparent duct tape to apply the hula grass "accents" to the deck, Hawaiian flower tablecloths, matching cups, and then I realize we don't have any snacks. Not one. I start making microwave popcorn and put it out in a festive blue glass bowl. Hostess emergency solved! The cooler is packed with ice, Capri Suns, bottled water, and a coupla Daddy Sierra Nevadas, just in case.
The boys arrive--all sweet boys and one beautiful mermaid in a blue bikini--armed with massive water weaponry. One kid has a back pack arsenal to feed the weapon, another one has a "cooler" that the water feeds through so ice cold water comes out. I said to his mom, "At least there's not a boiling hot water feature!" The moms stand on the deck and chat and...I like them. I feel communal. It feels weird in that my "newest" friends are people I have known for 12 years.
Nick wears his Hawaiian "Punchy" hat. He's in his "Italian" surfer bathing suit--a black affair with flames and Asian surfer/zen artwork. He asks me to put on his silver chain and religious medal before the guests arrive. Nick likes his birthday parties. He's stylin'. My husband, MZA, is down on the grass with the boys, hurling water balloons and shooting the water guns. The boys run around the yard, climb up into the fort, and have a great time. I bring out platters and platters of pizza, which disappear at an alarming pace. Nick opens his presents and is delighted--a mummy kit, a radio controlled space ship, giant Bionicle, lots of stuff. Cake, abbreviated pinata--the boys hurl themselves on to the pinata and, with their wet bodies and primal screams, it is a "Lord of the Flies" moment. Quickly lightened by their bright faces scooping up candy and cheap trinkets to add to their goody bags.
Sunday we take the kids to the pool and it is a langorous morning, sunny, light, breezy, hot--all summer. Watching Ian and Daisy in the baby pool, mouths open, splashing, screaming, rays melting into me. For their break, all three kids sit on individual long lounge chairs on the grass eating gourmet kettle chips from Trader Joes. MZA reads the Sunday paper. I paddle back and forth in the big pool, squinting up to look at them on the grassy hill.
Dinner al fresco that night. Pesto fettucine, pinot grigio, garlic bread, nice salad. Share birthday cake with neighbor. Fulfillment level: high. Nightly prayers, repetitive, thankful. Sleep comes down.
The Band |
Cynicism is another word for reality