A fine friend


That’s our girl. She’s at a party right now to celebrate a friend’s ninth birthday. It’s a sleepover with a luau theme, featuring pool time, bowling, and watching the birthday girl’s big brother run a 5K in our little town.

When I was our girl’s age, my parents would never have let me be at a party from 2pm till 9am. Things are different. I’m different. Parties are different. I’m getting nearly hourly updates via text on how the girls are doing.

I told our daughter as I took her to the party, “if you need us, ask Ms. J to call me.” She “mm-hmmed.”

“I know you probably won’t need me, though.”

“Yeah, I never need to leave a party.”

And not this party, especially. The birthday girl is a lovely person–kind and enthusiastic, laid back, independent… I love our girl to be around her. This friend is heading off to a magnet school. Our daughter will miss her but said, “That makes sense, though. She’s so good at so many things, she’s so creative and smart, she’s really special.”

She said all this with such blithe generosity. Not even an atom’s worth of envy or self-doubt. (I fear I learned those two last things too early in life.)

She saw a piano in this friend’s house. “Oh YES! I can play ‘Happy Birthday’ for you! I’m learning piano.”

She is a fine friend. The finest. She has no idea how to be anything but.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep.

Terror, love, and perspective

About seven months ago I told you about my husband saving me from a giant monster in our bathroom.

Well, tonight, as my husband flew over the Pacific Ocean, I ran out of children’s fever reducing medicine, and our boy had a fever that woke him up. I put out a call and a couple messages–ended up with one friend driving out to a store in the middle of the night for me, only to meet up in my driveway with a neighbor who had also responded to my plea having just returned home from work, medicine in hand. I am a lucky person.

I gave our son some medicine, and he wanted to bunk with me. He climbed into bed, but then decided to go to the bathroom. I took him, and saw a large… I mean Large, really large, bug on the bathroom wall. I escorted him out and said lightly, “let me just get that bug.”

(I said this, even though I am ashamed to admit I thought about calling my next door neighbor who had just been to my house… She had come by last year to find a snake near our pool. She fears nothing… But I am proud to say I let that impulse pass.)

I left the room and came back with three sheets of paper towel and a plastic bag. I attacked the bug and believed I had it in the bagged paper towels. My son watched me crush the bag and take it to the kitchen trash. I returned, he headed to the bathroom, but we both saw the bug. I missed him.

“Mommy there’s a lizard in there. It just went behind the toilet.” THAT’s how big the bug was, he thought it was a lizard.

Well. I got the nearest poisonous spraying substance nearby: kitchen cleanser with bleach. I re-entered the bathroom, and aimed and sprayed, repeatedly, until that thing could neither hide nor crawl nor move. It was stuck to our wicker trash can. Hmm.

I got a kitchen garbage bag and put the whole thing in there and took it out to the garage. Came back, smiled at my son, and told him the bathroom was ready.

He said, “you’re just like me with ladybugs.” (A few weeks ago a ladybug landed on him and tickled him, startling him enough that it scared him. He’s a boy that will pick up lizards and frogs and dead worms, but a fluttery ladybug scared him silly.)

“Well, we’re all scared of something. But I forgot to be scared because you were here. You made me brave.”

He smiled.

And now, finally, at 1:14 am, I will sleep, peacefully.