Monday, May 15, 2006

"NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL RIDICULOUS!"

That's what my daughter called out in her 1930's child-star stage voice during a driveway drive-in showing of Cinderella at our friends' house this weekend. I think the scene that elicited that remark was when the king was so furious that the Cinderella couldn't be found, he was bouncing on his bed with the Grand Duke, and they were floating up and down in cartoon slow motion.

The kids curled up on blankets and pillows in front of the big garage screen, while we parents sat behind sipping sangria and munching popcorn. The air was a perfect upper-seventies temperature.

Behind us, motor running and radio playing was our car, keeping our nine-month-old niece in blessed slumber. Her parents had taken her to a wedding, introduced her around to all their college friends and then dropped her off with us, so that they could enjoy the reception and stay overnight at the hotel. They were seven hours away from home and the baby was exhausted. That, added to her fear of all men not her daddy, made for some angry, fearful crying. So her Uncle Gene put her in the car and took her around the block a few times until she went silent.

Back home, baby did well at our house as long as she was sleeping. Awake, she kept noticing that man walking around the house and every time she noticed, she started crying. Fortunately, she slept long enough for Gene to get up, wake Emma and take her to Einstein Brother's to fulfill my Mother's Day dream of bagels, coffee and a Wall Street Journal in bed. The happy morning lasted all of 45 minutes, and was filled mostly of Emma handing me every scrap of paper she'd run a crayon over for the last three weeks in anticipation of this day. I swear, I'm not sure which she was looking forward to more--Mother's Day or her birthday.

She had it planned perfectly and choreographed it by having me go back in my bedroom to shut the door so that I could open it and she could shout SURPRISE! holding two gift bags of the previous month's artwork. Some displayed her cutting-with-scissors skills, some her putting-stickers-on-pictures skills and some just random thoughts of how certain colors would look on a certain scrap of paper. Each one needed to be thoroughly examined and discussed. Which sticker did I like best on this picture and why? Really? Because my favorite is this one.

I'm not sure at which point Mother's Day becomes more about the mother than the child, however, when I get there, I will dutifully report back. I don't remember it being a big deal in my childhood, but I'm thinking of making it (and father's day) a big deal in our house--should she ever lose steam--to get her used to thinking about people other than herself. I consider that one of my failings. I'm generally very busy thinking about myself--a little too busy to think about you, dear reader.

Anyhoo, I then got up and held, fed and cared for the baby for approximately three hours.

And then I cleaned the kitchen. Wheeeeeeeeeee!

I kid you not--it was a very happy Mother's Day. Happy to have the children I have. Happy to not want another, and thoroughly amazed to be celebrating this made-up holiday for the fifth year . Will wonders never cease? I love you, Mom. Thanks for creating the mold. I'm still trying to fit it.

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