First I had some highly skilled parenting moments in which I had the following conversation:
Me: "Kid A, will you please water the garden for me? We need to go and meet Claudia at the beach and I'm running late."
Kid A: "I can't. I'm too tired, and I don't want to."
Me: "Fine then! Just wait until the next time you want help! I'm not going to help you!"
Kid A: "What?" (Genuinely baffled.)
Your welcome for the stellar example of boundary setting, including a nice wallop of impossible consequences. No help for you, kiddo! That's what you get for being so unhelpful! Of course, I blame my lapse on the fact that I sometimes turn into a nine-year-old, without warning. It's not my fault!
But then the kids and I made it out and met my friend for breakfast on the beach. She was leaving today to go traveling to other places in India (with Renee! Ack, Renee-less and Claudia-less! Double blow!) and we had coffee and peered at the ocean in the distance and tried to tell each other how much we mean to one another. (That was an awkward sentence, that.)
The kids played, and Solo tackled the other babies, just like I've trained him to. I've tried to warn him, though. Go for the toddlers that have elder brothers and sisters! Because those first-time parents can be lethally protective. To his credit, he doesn't mean to attack the toddlers. He just gives really big hugs and then if you start pulling him away because the other kid is shrieking, he kicks at them, for good measure. Sigh.
A man yelled at me for getting in his way in traffic. I cried.
Then we ate grapes and cheese and bread and I had a blissful hour of doing embroidery work on a skirt I was making for Claudia while listening to This American Life. I think it may be my favorite way to spend an afternoon.
Then Solo pulled a mayonnaise jar off of the counter and it shattered on the floor. Let me tell you, my friends, that you haven't experienced the true bliss of life until you've combed your fingers through gelatin-like mayonnaise on a marble floor, pulling pieces of glass out. There is nothing to equal the greasiness, the potential danger, the pure fatty sharpness of it.
And then it was time to say goodbye at the taxi. Big hugs and kisses and Claudia and Renee spun off, a little late, to catch their train. I love my friends. I will miss them.
Back to the house and while I was making dinner, Solo broke my favorite coffee cup, which was nice because I loved it and I didn't want it anyways! Stupid coffee cup! So smooth in the hand, so brown, so perfectly sized and shaped. I'm glad I'm rid of it!
But around the dinner table I was filled with this warm rush of love for all their crazy selves. I love this family. I love these kids. I even love these kinds of days, when Solo makes me crazy, and then runs into the room, teeth first in that way he has, just to throw his arms around my legs and try to kiss my knee cap. I love that he lets me pinch his cheeks (gently and ceaselessly) and I love the conversation that never stops swelling and ebbing all around me. I love goodbyes sometimes, because we try to say what we feel shy to say at other times.
Also, I love Ira Glass and my blooming bougainvillea and going to the vegetable stand to find the perfect purple cabbage. Life, in other words. God and His eternal goodness.