After being rescued by my mother at the airport in Boston, and whisked back to the house in Rhode Island, I walked into a living room that was filled with HAZEL. HAZEL is my niece, and she's 10 months old but if anyone were to just be walking by and happen to look in the windows (that's not an invitation by the way, freak) and watch us interact with her you would think she was the second coming of Christ. No lie, at any given time three of us are chanting her name in some dopey, singsong voice because we Cannot. Help. Ourselves. There is always almost a camera or cellphone pointed in her general direction, attempting to document every miraculous moment that is her life in general.
SO that was wonderful, and then suddenly my entire body sort of twisted inside itself and reminded me that I hadn't slept in several days and perhaps now might be a good time to do so.
So I made my way upstairs and clibed into bed with Lucy, who also felt like maybe she needed to take a break from the fabulousness going on in the living room in order to rest and recharge. We passed out in short order, and woke up hours later sort of disoriented and cold and confused about whether it was early morning or early evening. Fall in New England can be like that even if you haven't just arrived on a red eye flight.
After our nap, I ran to T.J. Maxx, which is a family ritual that goes back generations. When a family member arrives from the other side of town or the other side of the country, the women folk head to TJ's for a little quality time right off the bat. We talk about our kids, our houses, our jobs, our lives, we stop by the grocery store when we are done, and then we head back to the house for dinner. So my sister-in-law and I took up the TJ torch and kept the tradition alive this weekend. It was fun...but also a little weird to know that we, the kids who used to be left at home with the menfolk, are now the women of the family, heading out the door to buy discounted shoes, some hand towels, maybe a new bra or a pair of socks. Mission accomplished - I got Lucy two t-shirts and an ear thermometer, and then bought a bunch of baby legwarmers that were too cute to pass up.
We had dinner, which I took almost no part in preparing but was thrilled to enjoy with my kids, my brother, my sister in law, my parents and HAZEL. As fabulous and amazing as she is, man, she gets even better when food is involved. That girl loves to eat.
So we had a lovely dinner, all of us but most especially HAZEL and then the kids and I pretty much crawled back upstairs to bed and slept for about 14 hours straight without so much as getting out of bed to pee. I went to bed around 9, and woke up at 11:15 the next morning all sweaty and confused. The confusion cleared quickly enough when I realized that I had about an hour to get my shit together and meet my girlfriends for a lunch that I was really excited about. I was supposed to make an apple pie but with 45 minutes to go, that was just not going to happen. SoI collected the ingredients, blew through the grocery store and the Dunkin Donuts drive through, and headed south to the gathering of the girls.
The afternoon was surreal - it had been a very VERY long time since we had all been in the same general vicinity, nevermind just sitting down to have a lunch for the sheer pleasure of seeing each other and catching up. I have the oldest kids, I think because my reproductive system just tanked earlier theneveryone else's, and I was married and encouraged to procreate when I was just out of high school. All that to say that there were lots of little ones, including one in utero (which totally counts) and three recently freed from utero, available for passing and sharing and sniffing. It was heaven and a tiny little part of my homesickness just floated away right then and there. Yeah, I'm missing the backstories. But when you hang out with people who knew you 20 years ago and have witnessed all of those moments that you remember, or don't really remember, or still have a scar from, or a police record related to them......well. It's a special thing. These people know why I am the person I am today. Because let me tell you something.
A lot of the shit that makes up who you are right now today ? That happened in high school. Everyone saw it happening even if you didn't.
So here we are 20 years later, raising babies with names our mohers would love, in clothes out mothers would wear, in houses our mothers would decorate, parenting our children using the guidelines and catchphrases from our youth.
It's surreal and yet strangely comforting. The kids ae gonna be alright. We turned out just fine, and since we have clearly become the 2.0 versions of our mothers, we are the A-team coming atcha.
Bonus.....still hot. But with better cars then we drove in highschool, and boys who have grown into hot men to take us places and be our partners in grownup land, which is - by all accounts - a weird, fucked up place to be.
We may be the ugraded version of the latest model, but we are indeed our mothers children. And we are raising the next generation even though we frequently feel like our mothers still have some parenting left to do with us. Let's be honest. If someone throws up in your house, isn't your first thought "man, who is gonna clean that up." Like, just for a second, before you realize that you are, that you are the grownup and YOU have to do it. You instinct is to gag and call out "mmmaaaaaaaaaaaa. I need youuuuuu" but she's not gonna come rescue you anymore, man. 24-7, we're in charge. And while sometimes it seems kind of "Lord of the Flies" and we're all comparing piercings and tattoos and debating getting more.....this is it.
We're the grownups.
And for the record, when you kid shits in the tub ? Even though it seems like someone - hell, ANYONE - else should be responsible for this, you gotta clean that up too.
To be continued...........
34 minutes ago