Even though I can sense a web of support surrounding us in this community, we’re flying solo now. Thanks to Viber and WhatsApp all our devices light up in the middle of the night with texts from a faraway place called Peru. Glad to know the parents arrived safe and sound. Even more comforting is the return of the teens from an out-of-town football playoff game in the wee hours of the morning. Teens on the road after midnight still scares me more than long haul flights, Ebola and terrorism.
Early dismissal at the junior/high school opens up a window for a one-on-one visit at Starbucks with S. With each sip of our creamy cup of smooth warmth we weave in and out, and all around, the usual topics that grownups bring up. Stretching into the second hour, the cups are empty, the decks are cleared of the preliminaries and that barely perceptible, but critical decision point arrives. We’ve drunk up, talked out – do we leave? OR do we sink deeper into the bubble we’ve created around our table in this overcrowded coffee hangout? Do we explore further and venture into new territory? We stay. That’s the zone where magic happens. The clock eventually dictates that we get back on the road for the next school pickup.
It’s TGIF at the next pickup as two more jump in the car. There are rumors of snow next week — every school kid’s rarely realized dream in the South. The turkey coloring project turned out to look like a zebra instead of a Dalmatian. Homework assignments for the weekend are reviewed. I’m informed of the standard Friday night routine. Supper. Game. Movie + Popcorn. In that order.
We agree on the menu for the evening and who wants to get involved in what. There are many cooking lessons planned for the week, so we get started right away with pastry, according to grandma’s recipe, for the quiche tonight. There’s a spontaneous decision to turn the extra dough into a chocolate pie. And we mustn’t forget ‘dog ears’! What are those? Everyone learns about the deliciousness of ‘dog ears’ — scraps of dough baked with a dusting a sugar and cinnamon.
Eating quiche lead to a too-complicated-for-me explanation of a card game by the same name, and assurances that I would love it. There’s a negotiation about what game to play. I managed to steer everyone towards Sequence instead of Quiche; this time at least. I didn’t think I could sort out the tangle of rules for Quiche.
Next on the program is the movie which, of course, also requires negotiation. This one’s too “inappropriate” – their words, not mine. That one has been seen too many times. This other one looks stupid … choice is exhausting. The young fingers zip through the controls of the smart TV like Olympic athletes. I’m dizzy. A good choice is made in the end, Christmas with the Cranks . We make popcorn and melt into the big overstuffed couches. The busy week, full tummies and cozy scene lull us into a dreamy funk. Ahhh. The credits roll, one last check of the football game twitter feed, showing a very sad zero score for our team 😦 before crawling into bed. Hoping for some good sleep before the older ones arrive home.
What I learned — or relearned — today:
- the dishwasher is a real friend if you remember to run it
- doing nothing together is priceless, but ironically takes planning
- large families are incubators for great negotiators — nothing is decided without a negotiation
There’s talk of buttermilk pancakes for breakfast, bread baking, sewing projects and a trip to the mall for the weekend. Are there enough hours for all the plans?