Last weekend, the boys’ bestie across the street had a sleepover. His parents have a pretty large property for our neighborhood (where generally the “yard” is the size of a picnic table). Their house is pretty small, maybe 900 sf, but they have a giant outdoor courtyard area and a back-house with a tiny upstairs bedroom, even tinier under-the-stairs bathroom, and small main room with two daybeds. The boys stayed in the back-house with another friend (the 14 yo girl from the last post), and they had a blast. The mom snuck in briefly at 11pm to see if they were asleep, and they were not – they were all in the upstairs bedroom having a serious heart to heart about bullying. She eavesdropped a second, and then quietly asked that they turn out the lights soon, and left them to it. Gah, love it. Love their little independence, their friendships, their hearts.
The next morning, I ended up taking just Liam to Costco after church, while the Prof took the other boys to a Sunday School teacher appreciation picnic (he is a Sunday school teacher for the 5 yo class, is that not darling?) We had limited time to do the family chores, so we had to divide and conquer, and Liam was kind of terrible in church so he was forced to go with me. He whined and complained at first, but then once we got there he got really into it, in a way that Liam occasionally does, and it was actually really kind of fun. He enthusiastically ran and fetched things, he got thrilled by getting to choose cereal and juice and really agonized over whether to get our favorite tortilla strips or try a new brand. He has always thrived under individual attention, and while not every solo trip with him is glorious, every glorious moment with him I’ve had has been with him solo. Chalk that up to the curious enduring character traits of the middle child, I suppose. After we finished, he helped me push the cart to the car and unload it, and then we rewarded ourselves with a slice of Costco pizza. He was just happy as a clam – such a delight. It was a good weekend.
Then this week, several basic, easy things that should happen in a civilized society just didn’t work in that particular way that NOLA has of failing to meet basic needs that other cities seem to find easy – like mail, and education, and basic street maintenance. Last weekend I was sure we would live here forever, nourishing our children’s hearts and independence in the jasmine-scented, urban streets of humid magic New Orleans for the rest of their days, and this weekend I am ready to pack it all up and move somewhere more functional. I will never not have this two-faced feeling for this city, I guess. Its good moments are sublime perfection, and its bad moments are just maddening.
Today we plan to take the boys on a bike ride. I have an abusive client (it’s actually 3 people on a very dysfunctional in house team) that email me over a hundred times yesterday, and they have already started in on the abuse this morning, and I am ignoring them. Stick a fork in me. If anyone in my reading audience is a lawyer, all of this nonsense is over Rule 26 Initial Disclosures – INITIAL. DISCLOSURES. Like, one of the least important things EVER. I need to get out of these weeds and get some perspective, so they can shout into an echo chamber while I shepherd three little boys along a paved path and enjoy spring in NOLA before it gets so hot we can barely stagger through the day.
We are tentatively making plans for my upcoming 40th birthday, which conveniently falls over Labor Day weekend. The plans involve a camping trip to a national park with sweeping vistas, and no cell service – just the kind of calm and perspective that is called for on a Big Birthday. I want to take the whole week off. I want to do long hikes, and be so tired out at the end of the day that sleeping on the ground poses no problem, and answer/read zero emails. At the end of it, I want to stay one night in a luxury resort and get a massage and a pedicure and drink champagne and eat chocolate covered strawberries, and pamper a body that I will have overworked during the prior week. Details are still being worked out, but this is the rough idea.
This week’s meals are listed below, mostly for my own edification. I will also note that I made this Lentil shepherd’s pie a couple of weeks ago and it was AMAZING. The BBQ sauce is vital. Highly recommend.
Wishing you all a good week – with minimal maddening moments, and lots of joy.