Last week, I was here…
I don’t think I’ve mentioned that a couple of weeks before his fourth birthday, The Boy took flight and was able to start swimming on his own. He has wanted this for so long and suddenly everything just clicked and he started swimming like a little eel, or water lizard, or whatever animal that swims well that you like. I was so proud. But honestly, this is nothing compared to how AMAZED I was when I saw him not only start diving in head first, but diving off the DIVING BOARD. Let me be clear. They won’t let anyone dive in if there’s anyone swimming “in the well”. This means that whoever jumps in must swim well enough to make it back to the side of the pool on their own. And there’s my little guy, diving in head first, going down deep, coming back up, and swimming back over to the side. Wow. I don’t think I learned to dive off a diving board until I was 8 or 10. I can remember spending hours standing on the end, looking down at all that water and thinking how deep down my head was going to go when I went in head first. I just couldn’t do it (and I LOVE water).
Just before I left for vacation, the editor of Belle Armoire magazine, Jenny Doh, contacted me and said she wanted to feature some of my work in their magazine. If you’ve never seen Belle Armoire, it’s a gorgeous glossy magazine with international distribution. French for “beautiful wardrobe,” Belle Armoire® has the tagline “Art to Wear” and showcases “one-of-a-kind, handmade fashions and wearable-art projects.” Um, that sounds like my work. So look for the article in the January ’09 issue! The pictures should be impressive.
Here’s a tip. Whenever you stay in a hotel/motel, make sure to check the alarm clock before you go to bed. Especially if you DON’T want to wake up at a certain time in the morning. Usually hotels/motels have alarm clocks that are loud enough to wake the dead, so you definitely don’t want it going off at say…6am, when you were hoping to sleep until 8 or 9.
And if you’re a really kind and thoughtful person, you’ll turn the alarm to the “off” position when you check out.
If you’re a bastard, you’ll turn the alarm back on again to whatever time you woke up.
And if you’re a real sonnofa bitch, you’ll take the time to set the clock EVEN EARLIER than you—or any normal person—would ever get up. That way the person sleeping in your room next will get a little SURPISE! at say…4:45am.
And if you’re a lucky sonnofa bitch, no one will even be in your room when the alarm goes off to swear loudly, throw the thing across the room, then drift angrily back to sleep. But someone will be in the adjacent rooms, maybe even on the floor below. So that at 4am, all the people around your room will be blasted from sleep and confused about where the noise is coming from. Maybe they’ll be too tired to move, but the noise will be too loud to sleep with, even with a big pillow over their heads. And maybe they’ll have young children, maybe say…a four-year-old, who desperately needs sleep if he’s going to make it through the long day ahead of him. And maybe that four-year-old will get “freaked out” by the noise, which he will describe as making him “more and more awake every minute, until my eyes are opening and opening and my voice is getting louder and louder.” And maybe there will be no chance of getting that four-year-old back to sleep again once you’ve called down to the front desk to report the noise, because it takes them absolutely forever to find the room with the blasting alarm in it. Maybe that will happen. If you’re a really lucky sonnofa bitch.
So last Thursday The Boy turned 4. I won’t go on and on here about how quickly they grow up (they do), or how amazed I am that I made it this far (I am). I will tell you that this event has really got me thinking a lot about what I value in life and how I want to live my life. And I must say that these days, things for me are better than they’ve ever been, and much better than I ever expected my life to be (why I never expected this is between me and my therapist). And The Boy turning 4 has helped in this. It’s prompted me to slow down a little more and really appreciate as many moments as I can. I know life will always have its ups and downs, so at the moment I’m just reveling in what a nice up this is.
And The Boy is FOUR already! Wow. And what an amazing little being he is.
Of course he’s been anticipating his Birthday for a good four or five months now, ever since his friends started turning four he’s been asking, “Is it my birthday soon?” “When is my birthday?” “It’s my birthday too, right?”
On his actual birthday, we took it easy in the morning, playing trains (he likes to play morning commuter rush-hour with his subway trains), and though the little people catching their trains were in a rush, The Boy and I were in no hurry to do much of anything. Then, in the afternoon, we rode the ACTUAL metro train into town (one of The Boy’s favorite pastimes, of course), rode plenty of elevators along the way (another favorite activity), then went BOWLING (his new fav.).
He discovered bowling over the Christmas break we went to The Grandparent’s house in Tennessee. The Boy LOVED it! The balls! The pins! The objective of knocking things down! What a perfect game for a three (and now four) year old!
Sunday was the party and we were lucky to have it at our Pool. Honestly, the Pool is one of the very best things about living here. I mean, it’s like an unplanned party every day and every night. Most of the people we know are members, our kids all know each other and play together, it’s always at least 10 degrees cooler over there than everywhere else around here, and we don’t have to plan playdates for kids OR adults. Everyone just shows up, cooks food, eats, swims, hangs out. I LOVE the Pool.
So it was a great place for a 4th Birthday Party. Kids went swimming, parents went swimming, grandparents went swimming, we all sat around chatting in the shade… After everyone had played and swam for awhile, we busted out mini-cupcakes with sprinkles served on a fancy cupcake tree and sang Happy Birthday. The only “planned” event was to Make Your Own Sundae, which involved me scooping delicious vanilla bean ice cream into bowls and everyone else piling on as many toppings as they wanted. We had fresh strawberries and blueberries and pineapple (which I cut and crushed myself that morning), all sorts of chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, white), peanut butter chips, cookie crumbles, sunspire chips, nuts, whipped cream, cherries, bananas… If it tastes good on ice cream, we tried to have it. People had a blast making their fantasy sundae, and no indulgence was seen as “too much”. Honestly, it was the perfect summer Birthday Party.
And the bonus is, The Boy has had ENOUGH of the whole Birthday thing for awhile. By the end of the party, when people were leaving and saying “Thank you” and “Happy Birthday” to him one last time, he was saying, “I don’t want you to say that any more. I’m all done with that.” Ah, to be four and to be so straightforward and honest again.