It's rained all weekend. All weekend.
Yesterday, I was going to take Urban Kid 1 downtown. The Joffrey Ballet has a nifty new building that's just opened. You can see the huge rehearsal space a few floors up from the street and the dancers doing their thing. And on Saturday, they were going to let the public have a look-see at the new space. I thought that U-Kid 1 might dig that.
But it poured all day long (just like today). And the thought of maneuvering a 5yo with an umbrella through the puddles and onto a bus and downtown seemed far less carefree than what I had envisioned when I first marked this in the calendar.
So I assured U-Kid 1 that we'd look into a real show, The Nutcracker or something. She bought it. We continued our rainy-day-hunkering-down instead.
Then it was time for a birthday party to which she'd been invited. Luckily, it was a 10-minute walk from our place. I ended up staying and chatting with the other parents. And while it was pleasant enough, I eventually felt rather...... iconoclastic, I guess. Let's say it wasn't quite my crowd. For example, everyone gushed over how great San Francisco is, comparing detailed notes on how often each made it out there and listing all of the genius things done in SF that should just be done everywhere. Instead of regular chatting, it felt more like a strange game they were playing, like they were sizing each other up or something. And I've never been to SF and won't be going anytime soon. So I quietly tried to help the kids paint their flower pots instead.
After that was a comparison of how often everyone made it to yoga (not since having U-Kid 2). We all belong to the same neighborhood gym, so I was at least able to tag along when the yoga chat made that turn.
And when the food came out, one family made their good-bye's. I overheard a quiet explanation of a vegan diet or this or that. Well, hey, ya can't knock 'em for trying to make everyone else tiptoe around them, I guess.
Then came a conversation about schools: private, public, neighborhood, etc. And how one couple was totally committed to public education -- but had their 4yo in a private preschool. And how great the neighborhood elementary school is (it isn't). And another family isn't Jewish, but has their 4yo in the local Jewish preschool. They were careful to let us know how much they are not religious and that they were oh-so-nervous about accidently causing offense. Yet they chose a religious preschool. So I guess by choosing another religion's school, they're showing ... oh, I don't know anymore ... I started having trouble keeping up. It's a personal decision for each family, so I guess I'll leave it at that. I ended up contributing that my kids' godparents are Jewish, and I was familiar with the school through them, and had heard lovely things and that more than 1/3 of the students are inter-faith, so don't sweat it.
I did not volunteer that we're homeschooling. And that we plan to for as long as we can swing it. And probably for another year after that. And that the delightful little girl at the cupcake table is reading at a 3rd-grade-level, doing 1st-grade Math, learning Spanish and Piano and loves Art class. I just got the vibe that I did not want to reveal anything deeper than polite surface conversation.
Later, the Birthday Girl's Grandparents were chatting about their recent retirements. And they shared that the grandfather had been with the New York City Fire Department. And the grandmother was a flight attendant with United.
And... I'm not kidding here... one of the mom's actually asked... OUT LOUD even...
"So did you lose anyone on 9-11?"
I got busy gathering plates. And luckily three other people wandered into the room, and the subject changed.
But U-Kid 1 had a blast with the other kids. And she has a very cool flower pot and a bulb to put in it. And she tromped home in the rain, happy as a clam and buzzing like a chainsaw from the sugar intake.
And while it's fun to meet new folks, especially from around the neighborhood (we all live within a few blocks of each other), I realized how wonderful it is to have people in your life to whom you can reveal your real thoughts and feelings. Don't get me wrong...I like knowing people who have their own take on things. And in this town, and in this neighborhood, I definitely get that. But it's also nice to let your guard down now and then and not be the one smiling and nodding like you're deaf and mute.
So if you're one of the handful of people I know IRL who know about this blog, whether we see things eye-to-eye or not, I'm eternally grateful that that we've built such lovely friendships. I'm well aware of what rare and wonderful gifts you are.
Now.... when the hell is it supposed to stop raining!