Yesterday was not so much fun. Yesterday was SO not much fun. Today was better.
I woke up at 6.30am to cries of "mom. Mom. MOM. MAMA!" from my toddler. I let him do that for awhile, then remembered it was Saturday, and that the landlady, who shares a wall with the toddler, might still want to sleep, so I got up. I changed his diaper, got him dressed, and then remembered the most beautiful thing: My teen is in TROUBLE! With absolutely NO guilt, I roused Tristen and installed him and his brother in the living room with cereal and cartoons and instructions to stay alive for a few hours. I fed the dog, let him out, let him in, and took care of the turtle. Then, with great glee, I went back to bed.
The next time I looked at a clock, it was 9AM. My husband was looming over the bed with a greasy paper lunch bag in his hand. He grinned at me and said: "This is for you!"
Feeling brave, I opened it. The greasy bag turned out to be full of the most wonderful popcorn, lathered in garlic and paremsean. I scarfed, figuring morning breath couldn't get any worse. The bag had come from the movie night Josh had attended the evening before, where he watched Troll Hunter with our friends. The bag was my goody bag, since I had missed the showing. At the bottom, I found a small bundle, wrapped in paper and tape. Inside was a handmade pendant on a leather cord.
"Chris made them." Josh said. "They're Troll Crosses, to protect you from troll attack."
I promptly took off my dove pendant and donned my cross. Then I passed out again, knowing I was at least safe from trolls.
The next time I opened my eyes, it was after 11am. There was a curious lack of yelling, screaming, fighting, or harranguing me to get out of bed. I milked it until my bladder protested, then snuck to the bathroom. The cat accosted me, but I escaped back to bed, and stayed there until almost noon, staring at the ceiling, trying to remember when I had last slept so late.
I think it was the smell of my own garlic - parmesean- garlic breath that got me out of bed. I got myself dressed, and started hunting down the things I would need to pack for the day ahead. I chatted with the landlady a bit, about gardens and porches and grass. I supervised the outfit picking for my teen, and convinced him that a RED shirt was much more defiant than a black one. We were going to see my high school friends, after all. They had seen me in black shirts for years.
By two we were on the road. The back roads of Berwick and Ogunquit and Wells, which have a hypnotic effect on my family. We all look out the window, and slow down at houses for sale, and contemplate what it would be like to live in the woods. Sawyer yells "Look out! Look out!" when we go around curves. I could drive with my family all day through Maine.
With only one wrong turn, we found Walker Stables, home of my friend of umpteen years, Danielle, and her family. Noelle and Sean, whom I also went to school with, and their boys were already there. So were Janice and her husband, and their son. High school reunion take 5 began.
I'm not positive, but I think I was the only one there who had seen everyone else, and met all the husbands as well. We had 6 kids between the four families. ALL BOYS. Jackson, 11 months. Sawyer, 2.5 yrs. Travis, 4 years. Luke and Alex at 6 & 8 years (?) and then Tristen, 14 years. Danielle boards horses for a living, and teaches riding. There were also: goats, chickens, ducks, cats and one very brave squirrel.
I could go in to detail, but I'll sum it up with this quip:
At one point in the afternoon, Danielle, Janice, Noelle and I were sitting in the kitchen, sipping glasses of wine. All of the boys and our husbands were outside. Through the window, we spotted the three middle boys surrounding the front paddock. Each had a large stick or two, held like bows and arrows, or possibly machine guns.
"I think the boys are hunting the ponys." I said.
Danielle and Noelle didn't bother turning around, but Janice leaned a bit to the side to see out the window. "It's ok. Travis knows if he 'kills' something he has to eat it." she said. We all nodded and sipped our wine. "So," Noelle said. "Have you heard about the recall on drop side cribs? Turns out they're dangerous."
A few minutes later, Tristen came in. He had the same hunted look as the ponies. "How's it going out there?" I asked.
"Good," he said. "One of the ducks cornered Sawyer in the barn, but we got him out." We nodded. "Then one of the ponys bit him." he added.
"Is he yelling?" I asked.
"No, It just got his shirt and he fell down. No marks." Said Tris. We nodded.
"Then," Tris added. "One of the boys, Travis? Grabbed the electric fence."
We looked at Danielle, who just smiled and said "It's off."
"So he's ok, then?" I asked.
"He's fine." Said Tris. "But now he thinks he can channel electricity through his stick. The boys all headed in to the swamp, and the dads are chasing them. I had to use the bathroom so I came in."
We nodded, and sipped.
That was the best afternoon I've had in a long, long time. I grew up with these women ( and Sean!) and in the woods, and with horses and electric fences. I chased people through swamps and fed chickens. Later in the day, Sawyer would head off by himself to play digger trucks in a pile of what I like to call "Proccessed dirt." (Horse poop.) I watched him and remembered doing the same thing myself, in the woods, alone. I didn't die from it, and I was sure he wouldn't either. And I was surrounded by women who also grew up with processed dirt, and ducks that corner you, and swamps to chase people through. And for once, I didn't have to explain myself, or my boys. My husband was there to see it, and my kids. To get a little perspective on what I was like as a kid.
We left at bedtime, with hugs and promises to do this again soon. At home I dumped Sawyer in the shower with his digger truck, and then did a serious tick check. He went to sleep easily, talking about 'the farm."
I got to pat a horse today. (A horse that is older than me!) I got to watch my boys run wild one minute, be compassionate towards 'hurt' friends the next, and then tear off down a hill after a flock of chickens. I got to spend some time with some awesome women who have honestly known me longer than anyone else I still hang out with. I got to come back to the place I was growing up, and feel like I belonged there.
Best. Day. Ever.