Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Visit at a friend’s house
I park in front of my friend’s historic house and get my things together. My three-year-old is all excited to go to “Sissy’s” house. I’ve broken the rules of social engagements by inviting myself over, but my friend never minds. She lives right around the block from my children’s school, which is a half hour from my house. So whenever I am at the school volunteering, I give her a call and invite myself over. This time I am serving snack from 12 to 1, and have to be back again at 2:30 for a basketball game.
She usually puts out something nice for lunch, but I don’t want her to fuss, so we bring our own sandwiches and eat them in the car. When I arrive, I am glad that I did that, because she is still trying to get five minutes to eat her microwaved birthday dinner leftovers, as her two- and four- year-olds vie for her attention.
My three-year-old instantly makes herself at home, trying on Disney Princess dresses with Sissy and sipping “tea” while watching Little Bear. Every corner is a delightful discovery. In one corner is a writer’s desk, clear but for a laptop and a notebook. In another is a quaint table with antique tea cups – which kids are still allowed to use. On one wall you find an unused mantle where a life-sized china cat keeps watch over some dried flowers. Nearby on a Victorian-style couch lays a huge, long-haired, real white cat.
We alternate between sitting and getting up, as my friend attempts to eat something while her two-year-old, no longer restrained by gates, roams to far corners of the house asking for her help. The conversation doesn’t stop for anything – we have too much to cover in the course of an hour. Writing goals, personal dreams, childhood sicknesses, and housekeeping rants all need to be shared.
For an hour, I feel like a person with no required functions. I am just me, and my friend appreciates all that I have to offer without expecting me to actually do anything. Except listen.
It is over too fast, and it is heart-wrenching to have to force my three-year-old out of her Princess dress, leave her friends, and go out into the cold to go back to the school. For the next three days, she repeatedly pesters me, “Mommy, I want to be a Princess at Sissy’s house again.”
“Me too,” I reply.