Sunday, April 24, 2011

Milestone in suburbia

Good days come in all shapes and sizes and when you least expect them. Today was a one of them.

I couldn't have foreseen it. I was up until 2:00 a.m. the last two nights, writing and then downloading, culling, editing, and uploading photos.

But it was.

This morning our little one woke me up at 8:00 a.m., mercifully late.

My dad emailed and said that my photos were beautiful.

My father-in-law came over for coffee with his son and grandson and brought me a Tim Horton's Steeped Tea (my weakness).

My husband filled my Kate Spade Thermos with coffee while I showered. I didn't need any more caffeine, but we have a nascent Bailey's-flavoured-coffee-Zoo tradition.

My son and I left the house at exactly the time I had agreed to meet our friends at the Zoo. But we live just 10 minutes from the Zoo, we had agreed to meet 15 minutes before it opened, and my friends were later than we were. I love that!

J was glad to see his buddies G and JL. The boys raced from exhibit to exhibit, often leaving their friend JL behind, and were reluctantly corralled when they got too far ahead. We re-grouped at the play structure, where the boys adorably delighted in feeding Goldfish to JL's baby brother A.

By the end of the morning I was sick of my voice and my own consistently lax-to-the-point-of-suddenly-barking parenting style. You know when you do exactly what you've criticized in others decades earlier? I'm not the only one, am I? But I actually managed to forget about it and enjoy the rest of my day.

And every time I started to feel guilty about not being a good enough mom vs. not being a good enough friend (yes, I can feel guilty about a lot), I somehow managed to stop and let it go. Being a mom won out.

The lions and tiger were active and spectacular and only barely caught J's attention. But suddenly, towards the end of the morning, he was mesmerized by the Prairie Dogs. He didn't want to go home, and we were both tired and hungry, but we got out of there and got home happy.

After lunch my husband went out (this being his big power-broom day), J eventually napped, and I started to think (and write) about supper.

I had just started cooking (very late for a roast) when we realized the time and woke J from his nap.
Then, just when we could have become really cranky, because we were way behind schedule, we didn't.

Instead, my husband enlisted our son to help him build his new toddler bed. He knew how much I wanted to get that bed set up. J had asked for a bed, had seen the box, and observed that it contained a bed, but was thrilled to hear that it was his new bed.

They built. I cooked and washed J's new sheets and got out the drill and finished something I'd been meaning to do in our guest room. Surprisingly, my husband did not step in and say, "What are you doing?!" when he saw me wielding the drill. He actually smiled. J was, of course, enthralled. (The boys were only using an allen key and toy tools for their project.)

Just when the roast was ready to come out of the oven, the bed was assembled -- but wouldn't fit through the bedroom door. The roast came out, the bedroom door came off, and went back on, furniture was rearranged to accommodate both bed and crib (just in case!), and our dear little one was delighted.

My heart paused when J asked us to "close" his new bed, indicating that the side was missing. But he accepted my explanation and my reassurance that his stuffed lion, Roar, would help keep him inside.

We ate supper an hour late; J went to bed an hour late.

But amazingly, he settled into his new little bed without a peep, our miraculous little boy.

My husband accepted a neighbour's invitation to share a bonfire and a beer, in appreciation for the loan of the power broom. He actually power-broomed four lawns today, out of the goodness of his heart. And built a toddler-bed. With a toddler's help. The man deserves a bonfire and a beer, and more.

Then I opened up my incredibly cheery polka-dotted Thermos and sipped this morning's leftover coffee.

And thought, with pleasure, this is Saturday night at forty in suburbia. My wonderful son passed a milestone today with joy and confidence, and is sleeping down the hall. My dear husband is his generous and serene and sociable self.

And then he came home from the bonfire and told me a couple of little stories and waited up for me.

I always know I'm lucky, but usually that just makes me worried. It feels good to be happy too.

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