Aaaaaaaaaah! (That was me screaming in frustration, realizing that another day has passed without so much as a word to you, Dear Readers.)
Those in my inner circle often say “You’re always busy” when I complain about how busy I am.
It is true. I am always busy. Busy was once a way I avoided experiencing feelings I didn’t want to have. It is much more productive than twiddling on Facebook, though fanaticism about the alphabetization of the children’s embarrassingly extensive book collection is, um, neurotic. I gave it up. Still, I have been busy. Busier than usual. I’m behind on everything, especially my laundry and my email. If you sent me something and I haven’t responded—I am slowly digging out!
So here is a quick game of catch-up.
- A favorite Auntie came to visit. She took Zeep to see the midnight opening of the Hunger Games, which Sissy is seeing right now with TAB, the Teen Advisory Board. (Library nerd perks.) It was great to see Auntie/my homegirl to bounce around ideas, and to feel valued and supported. We got to talking as we often do and one glass of wine turned into a second and before we knew it, it was three in the morning, an hour I rarely see these days. She got a visceral taste of the periodic frustrations that come with raising Zeep. It was good for him to have another someone who loves him hold him accountable and I felt validated. I’m not the only one he can make lose their sh*t. (I try not to, but DANG, some days it’s hard.)
We also had a great visit from friends who have known me since I was almost a newlywed. (That was a LONG time ago.) It is always incredible to reconnect with those with whom one has a long and kind history. It was fun to be the auntie for a day to their seven-year-old daughter whom I took into the District to meet up with them and Senator Sherrod Brown. The sweet girl simply shrugged as if to say he’s just another guy, no big deal. We should all feel that way. It would make it easier for us to raise our voices. There is something incredibly empowering about the sound of one’s own shoes on the polished floors in the halls of Congress and I wonder why I don’t go there more often and why the halls aren’t always crowded with we the people.
- The school term ended, which meant a scramble to turn in overdue work and another meeting at the school in an attempt to avoid one certain son’s falling behind in the future. (Supernanny, please, come on by.)
- I-wish-he-were-my-father also came to town for the Reason Rally. I sneaked away from my responsibilities to go museum hopping with him, taking in the International Spy Museum which I LOVE and which has the best gift shop in DC; and also the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center, which houses the space shuttle Enterprise, the Enola Gay, and an F-22 Blackbird, among many, many other marvels of aviation and aeronautics. It is seriously cool.
- Over the course of the visits, I did some cooking and we had to put the leaves in the table several times to accommodate a crowd. We even sang the happy birthday song to a dear friend who turned fifty years-young, which is not too old to have a girlfriend, in case you wondered.
- Last week we embarked on an epic tour up the coast, covering nearly a thousand miles, six beds, and twelve campuses. That meant twelve information sessions and/or tours on which the boys were dragged along. Challenging as they can be, the boys’ behavior was almost impeccable. There was one tiny incident in the library of a small women’s college. As the prim—and very sweet—tour guide spoke to the small tour group, Zeep took the opportunity to flop into a chair and spread out as he does. It was quiet. Very quiet. He busted a loud toot without so much as a flinch. No one was amused. I cleared my throat, the universal sign that one has done or is doing something objectionable. “Excuse me,” he whispered, realizing that everyone was aware of his flatulence. Yeah. All and all it was otherwise a fantastic trip. Sissy has a better idea of what she is looking for in a school and of what college life will be like. The boys got to bum around the chess shops in the Greenwich Village and kick around college campuses in the pleasant weather. We took time out in Boston to visit the Public Garden and to tour the USS Constitution. We swam, watched movies, ate well, and laughed a lot. We reconnected as a family and reaffirmed our relationships and our values.
- We came home so that Zeep could don the Easter Bunny suit and wander around the playground at church passing out candy during the annual egg hunt. Yesterday, we took one last vacay day and traipsed over to the other side of the river to the American Art Museum, which a friend formerly dubbed The National Museum of Dust. We took in an exhibit on the history of video game art. [yawn] Hey, it got them to walk into an art museum without protest. I call a win.
That brings us up to today: I picked Little Man up from school. He was in a bit of a funk. Writing partners had been assigned to write one another’s biographies. From the back seat, he told me one of the questions his new partner asked was “What was the time in your life when you were most afraid?”
I glanced at him in the mirror. He touched his scar. He told her the story, leaving out that his father had been drinking. It dredged up difficult feelings.
“It may have been the time you were the most afraid,” I said, “but it was also the time you were the most brave.”
He smiled. We are brave; all of us.
Life is busy and challenging; mostly it is immensely rewarding and beautiful and full of laughter and joy. I hope it is so with you, too.