...from a long day of running around.
First we hit Toddler B's Sherman Oaks casa for a rousing run through the yard, scurrying through tents and the obligatory Thomas the Train. B's mama made lunch for the kids, I made her chicken salad from the steamed chicken I originally brought for Sophie, and she returned the favor with a tuna sandwich and baked chips. Despite more than a few time outs and one large pissing contest between Nick, Sophie & Toddler B. over a muddy plastic car, it was a relaxing afternoon. When two moms get together and split parenting, it conjures up images of kibutz living... one automatically chops while the other gently disciplines... one washes while the other dries... One changes a diaper while the other wordlessly pulls out wipie. Somehow information is exchanged, support is given, and plans are made for the next communal gathering - in our case, a trip to the zoo. (For any moms who are reading, I find the most interesting part of female caregiving is the ability to stretch a 15 word sentence over the course of an hour... "Do you have any -- Sophie get down off that table--- knives--- Nick, you hit Toddler B one more time we're leaving -- for the onion--Yes, Nick, that trains boiler is busted--which I'd like to put--SOPHIE MARE GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE CAT DISH! - - in this tuna.)
After a two hour pit stop at Casa di Mama P, where Sophie miraculously slept and Nick pretended to snooze (and I pretended not to notice so I could drink a cup of coffee in peace) we were off to my friend JK's for a mom's meeting. JK is more open than I am when it comes to having people over, despite the circumstances. In her case, she was knee deep in kitchen remodeling, yet she was able to prepare Thanksgiving handouts for the kids, lead a craft, set up food and sent me home with hand-me-downs. JK is one of my oldest friends (we met when we were 5 at a summer school class... we made aprons. She obviously got the hang of it, while that was the last time I ever wore one.) JK is the no nonsense, coupon cutting, craft queen of the Valley and I am blessed to have her in my life. In a show of appreciation, she wins the El Pollo loco quesadilla package tomorrow night so she doesn't have to set up a makeshift cook top in her garden (and believe me... this chick would). ** Note: El Pollo Loco has the BEST dollar menu on the planet. I highly recommend the cheese quesadilla. For a buck you get four grilled pieces of flour tortilla with generous helpings of cheese. A savior for moms and non-moms alike.
After prying Nick off of Toddler M's dollhouse, we met my sister, Hennie, and her kids, Barbie and Ken, at McDonalds. It was all fun and games until an oversized grade schooler blew his nose threw the open weave tubing, narrowly missing my left eye.
On the way home, out of nowhere, Nick proclaims "Talk about Xmas, Mommy! Talk about Xmas!" I put on my Sunday School hat and immediately talked about the baby Jesus who was born in a barn. How his mommy and daddy loved him so much. How he came to earth to save us from bad things. Which sounded great, until it turned into...And we celebrate this birth by buying Xmas trees, and keeping the fireplace clear for Santa to come stuff you silly with presents. And we drink egg nog and hang lights and go shopping and have to keep from saying that expression you're not allowed to say when the BMW nabs our parking spot because they obviously are more important than we are.
I gotta work on this talk obviously. When I was through, Nick thought Joseph was a reindeer and Mary was the elf that saved Jesus from the Grinch at the mall who took his parking spot. It's a work in progress.
Tonite, after baths... after I read Nick his turtle book from James' folks.. after we brushed teeth and he used the toilet for the last time... we lay in bed and said prayers. And then I sang to him one of my favorite songs from my youth "Longer than, there've been fishes in the ocean... I've been in love with you." And by the end, like a scene from Mary Poppins, that kid was snoring. I ran my fingers through his hair and thanked God for this little person that lights me up more than any holiday bulbs. And despite all the running around earliar, my brain took a breather, and it was peaceful. Love was tangible and goodness abounded. I made a note to myself to remind Nick that it's these feelings that Xmas should be about.
Then I went downstairs to Ebay and make some cash.