They arrived Friday just before noon, while I, their unappreciative daughter, had decided to shop with the girls for the day anyways, figuring that food in the house was important when guests are around. Have I ever talked about our weekly shopping days? I can never remember if I'm being repetitive. Or if I'm being repetitive. But anyways, due to unseemly gas prices (you're not going to hear the end of it, now that they're going up again) and the strain of eight hours of shopping with kids, four of which are spent in the car, we contrived a day during the week when the kids stay with the dads and the girls shop. It's great, we all look forward to it and we save on gas and fuel emissions, and we all drink a lot of coffee and run into bathrooms a lot. Sometimes we spend two hours in a thrift shop, or an hour in a yarn shop, only to race through the rest of our shopping. Sometimes we have fun and laugh all day. Sometimes we get hit on by men driving by, while we're walking down the street ("So much beauty on one CORNER!") which we attribute to absent husbands and kids. Renee loves the shopping days because she's single, and she rarely gets us girls to herself. (Although I have to say that Renee is pretty much the most perfect friend a mother could have. She's fun and great with kids, but LOVES to do girly non-mommish stuff. I don't know that I could say that I'm the best friend a single girl could have. I wish.) And then sometimes we are grumpy and we snarl at each other and apologize too much and I flounce around like my fourteen-year-old pouty self. (She's still lingering in there, not having entirely grown up.)
On Friday we were having a good day, although it was our first Friday shopping day without Candace, something that made us all sad. But I did phone Chinua's phone about five times to find out whether my parents hated me for not being there when they arrived. I had hemmed and hawed and hooed about whether or not I should go, and the food issue tipped the scales, but later I feared that I had made a VERY BAD DECISION. And Chinua reassured me that, no, my parents didn't hate me, not at all, and then at one point my mom called and said, no they didn't hate me, silly girl, not at all. And slowly my anxiety began to lift retreat back to that place under my kidney where it lives and waits to pounce on me.
My parents are not haters. I have parents who are more loving than any parents I could ask for, more loving than I deserve. But I do have this crazy anxiety, see? And I remember that when I began this blog I wondered if it should be a chronicle of trying to overcome this anxiety, but then I thought, no, I'm made of more than the knot in my gut. And usually it's true, but lately (again) it is like it's all there is. Like where's the girl? Where'd the girl go? What's this clenched fist in her place?
I need to find a way to work this out. It is a thread that weaves in and out of my life, and HELLO! There's just too much going on for me to be climbing through obstacle courses all the time. I'm not sure what it is. But for as long as I can remember, my whole life maybe, there's been this turning away inside of me, a feeling of needing to escape many things because that's too much to handle, that will put me over the edge.
After freaking out all day Friday, though, I had a really great time with my parental unit. The kids had fun, too.
Yesterday we went to Santa Rosa, just for kicks, we thought, let's drive for a few hours to get to a bigger town. It ended up being really, really fun. Have I ever told you that my Superstar Husband is a little strange? Example: While we were eating, at In 'N Out Burger, the California treat my parents craved, Chinua was doing that thing, you know, the thing where you flip your eyelids inside out? Totally disgusting. Kid A calls it the "red eye" trick. Yum. I was turned away, since I don't want to imagine the inside of my husband's eyelids the next time I'm kissing him, and he was trying his best to get my attention, apparently not caring that he may never be kissed again. Or maybe so confident of his charm that he was sure he'd be able to overcome his red-eyed stigma. And then the kids wanted to get involved, and Chinua spent the next ten minutes trying to help them flip the insides of their eyelids out while we were eating our fries. Am I the only one who finds this a little odd? My mom was laughing away, everyone in the restaurant was getting a good show, and I was trying not to see the insides of my little children's eyelids. My babies.
Then, at the mall (it was rainy and cold out) I emerged from the bathroom with YaYa, only to find Kid A standing in the hallway with his overalls on backwards. He was not alone, his dad and grandpa were there with him, so I asked, "What happened?"
Chinua said, "He's got his own style!" My dad said, "I don't even want to go there," (since apparently Kid A had insisted on taking ALL of his clothes off to use the toilet) and I realized that they were both totally okay with letting Kid A walk around for the rest of the day with his overalls on backwards. I quietly took Kid A into the women's bathroom and helped my poor kid out. Is it just a mom thing? I mean, they don't fit that way, there's this bulging thing that goes on in the front and a tightness in the back, and that can't be comfortable.
Then, when we were eating dinner, YaYa managed to spill her water, which is totally normal, for a three-year-old. And we cleaned it up. And then she managed to spill it another three times. The floor was very clean, when we were done eating and left the establishment. We had pretty much mopped the whole place.
What else? We ate ice cream, YaYa opened a few early presents, we bought things, and on the way home we listened to a live recording of Chinua's music from 2002 that someone recently gave us. We didn't even know it existed. And I drove and thought of my parents and how much they love me and their son-in-law and their grandchildren, and how they didn't even hate me at all! And I was glad, and I was thankful, and I was also the teeniest bit quite anxious, as I always am, and when I got home I asked Chinua if he thought that they knew how much I loved them, and he said, "I don't know, maybe you should tell them." So guys, if you don't know it already, I really, really love you.