I’ve been traveling so much this semester that it felt good to stay home for a weekend. On Friday night, I went out to the movies with my husband, all of our kids, plus a bunch of extras – thirteen in all. I didn’t even know until I got to the theater what movie we were seeing: I just like to be part of the gang. I ate popcorn, listened to the whispered comments of my family members, laughed at the funny lines, and held my husband's hand. Afterwards, we stood in the theater and talked about the movie before heading out into the cold night.
Saturday afternoon, I picked up my daughter and then my mother, and we drove to Red-haired Niece’s house, high in the hills above Snowstorm City. Blonde-haired Sister and Blonde Niece greeted us as we came in. Family and friends were already filling up the kitchen, talking and laughing over plates of food, while the living room was filling up with baby shower gifts. Schoolteacher Niece will be having a baby in May, the first of the great grandchildren in the family.
The shower invitations had asked everyone to bring a children’s book instead of a card, and it was fun to see what everyone had chosen. While Schoolteacher Niece opened gift after gift, I sat on the floor and read through all the books. It’s funny how baby shower gifts come in and out of style: I didn’t even recognize some of the gifts she opened. Looking at all the baby clothes made the upcoming baby seem suddenly real. I’m going to be a great aunt.
Saturday evening my husband and I headed over to the castle, the ironic name for the little house where our oldest two kids live. We knew that Shaggy Hair Boy and Smiley Girl would be arriving to share their big news: they announced their engagement! Of course, we’ve all known they’d be getting married: we’ve all known it since practically the first day they met. But it’s nice that it’s official now.
“No, there wasn’t a sexist proposal,” Shaggy Hair said. “It was a mutual agreement.” He finishes his Master’s degree this summer, and Smiley Girl graduates from college next month. The wedding will be next summer.
“It’ll be outdoors somewhere,” Smiley Girl said. “That’s all we’ve planned so far.”
On Sunday, I worked on a journal article I’m writing. But then I noticed that the sun was shining. When my friend Makes Bread called to see if I wanted to take a walk along the canal, I agreed right away. It was still cold enough for winter coats, but at least the snow had melted. The afternoon light through the bare trees was lovely, and the sun on my face felt warm. We walked briskly, and soon I was warm enough to unzip my coat. We passed a few families, several people on bikes, and a man walking his dog. Everyone, it seems, was eager to get out into the sunshine.
After the walk, we met some friends at a restaurant, where we enjoyed platters of Middle Eastern food. “We can actually plan these get-togethers again,” said Long Beautiful Hair. “The roads are dry. It’s spring!”