It’s been busy enough around here that I haven’t written, haven’t caught up on slush at Gyroscope Review, have laundry piled up, and am completely distracted with thoughts of road trips and gardens and outdoor cooking.
But that’s the beauty of being a writer: we get to let our attention drift around sometimes, focus on something new or different, ignore conventional work hours. I don’t want to live any other way at this point.
My attention over the weekend was taken up with two things: a major birthday celebration for a special five-year-old and a guest from The Netherlands. That the two coincided was strictly coincidence and a nice one at that.
The five-year-old happens to be my granddaughter, Camille. Her father, my son Shawn, and her mother, Beka, asked us quite some time ago if they could have her fifth birthday party at our house because we have the space for it. Of course, we said; that would be amazing. And so the planning began: a balloon theme that spawned a balloon obstacle course, balloon piñatas filled with candy and toys and glitter, paint-filled balloons tacked to a 2X2 board where they could be popped by the kids to make a painting, temporary tattoos in balloon designs drawn by Shawn. Camille showed up on her birthday on Saturday decked out in a sparkly dress, pink cowboy boots, and a black leather-like motorcycle jacket – her choices. She was awesome. The half-dozen tiny people who joined her in all the balloon activities laughed and whooped and got paint on their fingers and glitter on the garage floor. They crawled beneath balloons hung from a table and wrestled in a balloon pit. They got to pop all the balloons in the basement at the end of the party. And the adults standing around supervising got to laugh and wish the table was a little bigger so we could crawl under it, too. But we all got ice cream cake.
Amidst all this hoopla, we hosted a student who arrived from the Netherlands less than a week ago and stayed with us while she waited for her student summer housing to be available. Since it wasn’t ready until yesterday, she was plunked into a kid party where she knew no one. I don’t blame her for taking her jet-lagged self out on one of our bicycles about half-way through the party so she could have a little time alone to explore our neighborhood. Once she returned, the party was done, the kids were gone, and there was just a little glitter left on the soles of our shoes. We drove her around to a few sights in St. Paul, took her to dinner, then showed her the Minneapolis skyline at night.
And then all three of us came back to our house and promptly went to sleep. We moved our Dutch guest into her summer housing yesterday afternoon, followed by taking her to Target which may have overwhelmed her just a tad. We forget just how big Target stores are until we’re there with a visitor who has never set foot in one.
The greatest thing about this weekend was how we got to look at what was going on around us through new eyes: a child’s excitement, a foreign visitor’s curiosity. There was no time to be anywhere but in the moment, thinking about what was happening right then. It was a weekend to be gleeful, offer the best of ourselves, acknowledge all the awe that is front of us at any given moment.
What could be better than that?
Happy Monday, everyone.