May 21, 2013 by Julia
It’s possible I may have run out of things to write about for this blog, which could mean it’s time to start a novel, but that’s entirely too overwhelming at the moment, so here I am. *Twiddles thumbs*
*Takes long sip of margarita*
Okay, some random bits that have been floating around in my brain:
My oldest BFF came to visit last week. As I told her, I was extremely stressed out about getting the house into decent shape for her stay with us. This happens to me almost every time she flies in from Chicago. I can put up a decent front for a playdate (picked-up floor, vacuumed, kitchen straight), but a houseguest is a whole different matter. They might actually have time to notice that things aren’t all that clean, per se. Grimy handprints everywhere, master bath (where the shower is, which she’d use) looking like a teenage boy’s, interior of microwave containing months’ worth of saucy explosions. And suddenly, when Sarah’s coming, I see it all in Technicolor, and I do my best impression of The Scream. No matter that she’s my best friend, and she knows all my most embarrassing secrets. I can’t turn off the must-clean-house anxiety.
Anyway, when I finally picked her up at the airport (after first going to the wrong one, mind you) the pressure I’d been putting on myself burst like a balloon, like it always does. I was just so glad to see her. I needed to be with a friend. I’d been having a rough time of it the past few weeks, and she was here for three days. She was here, participating in my life of housework and dishwasher troubles and the demands of children, and things were better. We went to a petting farm with the kids, had midday margaritas while Jack napped and Fiona played at a friend’s house, watched PBS documentaries on the emotional life of humans (not as high-falutin’ as it sounds; fascinating stuff, really!), and took a walk in the drizzling rain under cover of trees. It was good for my soul. I could see how beautiful my life is again, while talking about it to someone who hadn’t seen my life in a while.
Sarah was also here when Fiona graduated from preschool last week. Fiona had been telling me all week about their preparations. “Mommy, I’m going to make you cry happy tears. The parents are going to cry the SECOND the kids put their feet on the stage. They’ll all be like, waaaaahhhh! And then we’ll take our feet off the stage, and they’ll stop crying, and be like ‘oh, everything’s fine!’ And then we’ll put our feet on the stage again, and they’ll start crying again!” I told her she was absolutely right. In actuality, all the parents went “Awwww!” when they saw their young march out in a straight line onto the stage, wearing red graduation caps, and laughed when the famous graduation march music started up as they received their diplomas. I can’t speak for the other parents, but the moment of tears happened for me when Fiona finally spotted Dennis, Jack and I wildly waving to her, and she smiled and waved back. From that point on, I was wet-eyed, unable to control the amount of super-boring pictures I was taking. Here is Fiona sitting far away on a stage. Here is Fiona standing on a stage. Here is Fiona standing far away on a stage, looking to her right. Here is Fiona far away on a stage, scratching her elbow. Snap snap snap!! Yes, I am one of those parents. At least I didn’t post them ALL on Facebook.
And then that afternoon, after Fiona had been properly celebrated with ice cream, Sarah and I drove out to visit one of our old college haunts, a never-busy restaurant called The Blue Ox, where we’d meet for wings and margaritas (that’s the third mention of margaritas in this post – happy margarita season!). Actually, the place doesn’t exist anymore, but the strip mall is still there, and we went to the Mexican place that now stands in the Blue Ox’s stead.
The whole point of us being in that town halfway between our hometowns, though, was to surprise Sarah’s mom at her high school production of Our Town, which was premiering at the local theater. After twenty years of directing high school plays and musicals, Sarah’s mother was ready to retire, and Sarah wanted to be there for her last hurrah. Her mom had no idea that she was coming, and when she saw Sarah in the lobby, they both burst into tears and laughter and hugged for a very long time. It was a moment for sure.
Making it all that much more meaningful for Sarah and I was the fact that we’d been in her mom’s very first musical, twenty years ago. That’s right, I said twenty years ago. At the time, we were thirteen-year-old best friends, home-schooled through a Christian academy, and somehow we convinced our crazy brave mothers to organize, produce (my mom) and direct (Sarah’s mom) The Sound of Music. We landed our dream parts – Sarah was going to be Maria and I was cast as Liesl, the eldest Von Trapp child with that Sixteen Going On Seventeen solo (for the record, other people on the casting committee voted us in, not our moms – although I am aware the whole thing sounds fishy). It was the best. The best. And Sarah’s mom has been making home-schooled kids’ dreams come true ever since. That deserved to be honored. This last play was amazingly done in its own right – lots of deep reflection and meaning-of-life stuff, which she somehow managed to get across seriously with her teenage student actors. So when she broke her own director’s rule of never getting up on the stage after a performance, Sarah and I were immediately on our feet, and crying, as she made a speech about her twenty years of directing.
It was quite a day – my daughter’s preschool graduation in the morning, and then a trip back in time to my years of high school theater. By the end of it, Sarah and I were happy and all cried out. We had to watch a little Bridezillas in our pajamas to wind down at home that night. Funny how watching other people’s stress can be so relaxing.