Thursday, May 10, 2007

About last night

Since we already know that it's a busy week, not only for me, but for my family, last night was a much-anticipated oasis of "nothing to do." And, unlike my twenty-three-year-old self, I felt no need at all to find something to do.

I arrived home from work to be greeted by my kids. "Mom, when you were pregnant with Alex, you were huge!" (Duh. I was there. YOU carry a 10 pound baby on a size 4 body and tell me there's a way to not be huge. But I digress.) They were watching old home videos: Kids: The Early Years. I got completely sucked in for at least half an hour, as my poor dogs crossed their legs and stared at me. Y'all, my kids were so cute when they were small. And sweet. All the videos of those years were filmed by one of my parents (it was their camera), and one of the scenes I really enjoyed watching was an almost-three-year-old Susie stroking my dad's cheek, then hugging his neck, then pressing her cheek to his. Repeatedly. She's always been a physically affectionate child, but I don't remember seeing that moment before. Then she looks him in the eye and tells him, "I love you, Grandpa." So I was all melty before 5:30 p.m.

I finally tore myself away from the televised trip down memory lane, changed into comfy clothes, and walked the dogs (with Susie). We looked at the gathering clouds and made our rain predictions (our new "thing" we do....she's pretty good for a fourth grader). Her prediction: yes, it will rain, and it will start about the time dinner is ready. Once the dogs were walked, she wanted to check for ripe strawberries in the vegetable garden (none). We noticed that last year's lettuce had seeded itself and we had enough baby lettuce for a salad. She selected some pineapple basil and regular basil and oregano to add to it. And then she helped make dinner.

Those quiet, routine things are the ones I hope stay with her when she grows up. Working side-by-side in the kitchen, talking about everything and nothing, laughing, singing. She sang some of the songs she'll be performing tonight in the school music program. I sang some parts of the Gilbert & Sullivan concert. We made vegetable pot pie and macaroni and cheese for the next day's dinner. Basic, nourishing stuff. Nothing difficult or fancy, but made by us, not from a box. That's the kind of life I've tried to give my family.

The last time my parents came to visit, my mom and I were making a similar meal together. We had leftover chicken from the night before, so we made a chicken pot pie and a vegetable pot pie. And even though we had enjoyed a busy, fun weekend together, that hour or so we spent in the kitchen, listening to NPR and hearing about that stupid Don Imus story (and then discussing it, sharing a laugh at the thought of what would have happened if my daughter had been on that team....something about my boot being so far up his a$$ that it would come out his mouth...), that was the part of the weekend that stands out as the best part. That was the memory I'll keep for years.

Maybe last night won't endure in Susie's memory. Maybe it will blend in with other, similar nights. But maybe the thundershower will punctuate that night as special. Because, as before, she predicted the rain almost to the minute. That's my girl.

1 comment:

Mom said...

This post reminded me of some times in my own childhood and some in yours. Today I had to tell someone about the photos I have of you sitting on my bed (time: after Alan was born) with a hand mirror, putting on lipstick! I think it was close to the time you broke my string of pearls!