It was a cool great day on the Taconic Parkway, but the weather was perfect for walking around Manhattan.
We had zipped down to help a friend move a few things to their apartment on the upper West side and then headed to the other side of Central Park to see a Turner exhibit.
T1 drove us, a huge change from the country driving when he cut his teeth. It was unnerving but also a little thrilling to see him navigate Manhattan streets and city life with the skill and confidence of an adult.
The Big Guy lived in Boston when you’re first married, and our day trip reminded us of how much we once loved city living. we took a secured us walk from the parking garage to the museum and back, soaking up the music of at least seven languages heard from passersby and the aromas of myriad restaurants.
It was a feast for our senses and a change from the daily grind almost as huge as realizing that Thing1 will be perfectly fine when he gets out on his own. But a lot of times a changes isn’t just as good as a rest, it’s way better.
There’s that moment in April or May with the world goes from hinting at spring to exploding with it. I was lucky enough to have the day off yesterday to see it as it happened.
Portrait of Oscar asking one of the minions to please not bring snacks to meetings of the Guppy Poet Society as it distracts from the creative process (although this artist has never found that to be true).
I like my life. It’s busy, and it’s full, but, like most people’s, it’s pretty routine. We were headed to hibachi after practice to celebrate my birthday a night early since Thing1 had plans for tonight, but even that seemed pretty routine.
I love celebrating the kids birthdays, but I’m not really big on celebrating my own. I’m not afraid of getting older, but they seem to highlight how unsurprising life has become.
Last night’s birthday celebration turned out to be full of surprises.
We were all surprised when friends walked in after we’d ordered, and we said happy hello. The Big Guy surprised me with a gift certificate for a serious car wash–inside and out (guaranteed to remove that faint smell of spilled milkshake). On the way home the Burlington county sheriff surprised my son with a quick stop to let him and us know that the front license plate was loose, but the best surprise was yet to come.
We got home well after dark, and we knew we needed to get in and let the dog out. The car lights switched off as we exited the car, and realized I’d forgotten to turn on the porch light before I left. It was then that we saw the light on the gravel driveway and path. Surrounded by mountains, we get very little light pollution, so we instantly looked up expecting to see the moon.
Instead, we saw a field of stars, scattered like dust across a velvet sky. We stood in silence. The only sound was the wind moving through the trees, and just before the dog could be heard whining from the house to let us know she really had to go, I was quite sure I heard it whisper, “Surprise!”
In retrospect, regaling the boys with tales of Summer camp on Lake Champlain highlighted by trips to the original Ben & Jerry’s to tackle the Vermonster with my bunk mates could only have been seen as a challenge by your all-american ten year old.
After all, I only told them about the free T-shirts we got for consuming a scoop of every single flavor Ben & Jerry’s made in 1985 and not about the all night bathroom visits that followed. In the end, I could only blame myself when Thing2 spotted the Ben & Jerry’s store on Church street in Burlington and began mentally planning a scaled down version of the Vermonster for one – after a healthy lunch of course.
But it was vacation — however small, and I let him get two scoops of Fully Baked in a chocolate dipped cone if only to prove to him that, despite the start of a new growth spurt, his stomach hasn’t outgrown his eyes or his imagination.