Every once in awhile, a couple of days full of goodness attach themselves to each other and I find myself stopping for a moment to appreciate them for the miracle that they are.
This was one of those weekends. I woke up early to talk with a producer from National Public Radio, who wanted my opinion on the beleaguered apostrophe, the star of a Wall Street Journal story about the future of this punctuation mark--at least on our maps. (Read it here.) While I've done local radio, this is the first time I've been on the national version, and on Weekend Edition, no less. It's been one of my favorites for more than twenty years. I was beside myself with the nerves. Maybe I would've been more relaxed talking about the semicolon; in any case, this was the English's major's equivalent of getting called to major league play.
I turned to my Facebook friends for help, but by 8 a.m. or so, more than thirty of them--including my sixth grade English teacher--had weighed in.
I haven't listened to the broadcast and never will, but here it is, if you're so inclined. I was done with this by 9 a.m. and then off to Lucy's first middle school track meet. We bundled up and sat under the bleachers and watched her run the 50- and 100-yard-dashes, and she came home with a second place ribbon and a piece of cardboard marked THIRD PLACE, because there was some sort of ribbon shortage. Disclosure: I like the cardboard ribbon much better. If I were in charge of track meets, I'd hand out single socks and buttons and other lost objects. Look! You made it! Take good care of this lost thing, which is kind of more important than how fast you run.
There is obviously a reason I am not in charge of track meets. As much fun as it was to watch Lucy race, my favorite moment was when a boy shoved a Hershey bar at her and walked off silently. This is the same boy who earlier in the year took the blame for one of her farts. This is what love looks like in middle school, and it breaks my heart in the best of ways.
During the track meet, I kept texting my middle sister for news of our youngest, who was giving birth to her fourth child. Lily was born between the 50 and 100-yard-dashes. My sister gets an actual ribbon for this.
This is Lily, meeting her big sister, Charlotte.
Afterward, I got a haircut from the stylist I've been going to for probably fourteen years now--amazing how long these relationships last. But when someone does good hair, you don't let her go. Then we made a big dinner for a friend who was turning forty-five, and while our kids played in the basement, we told funny stories and talked about the truly important things we'd learned along our respective journeys, most especially the value of kindness. And we ate several kinds of dessert, the goodness of which can never be underestimated.
The next day, my friend Cat and I took a hike up to Rattlesnake Ridge, which is a beautiful, gently sloping climb through a tunnel of greenery. Though it was a bit misty, the air was the right temperature, the ground soft beneath my shoes, and the company unbeatable.
After this, I got to hold Lily and marvel at the fact that an entire life, an entire unwritten history, is fully contained in a six-pound parcel of adorable and perfect flesh.
As if that wasn't enough, then we got to watch "Star Trek: Into Darkness," starring everybody's favorite actor, Benedict Cumberbatch. If you haven't seen the BBC version of Sherlock yet, please step away from your computer until you've solved that problem. It's so good, as was the Star Trek movie.
We finished our day with Sunday dinner at my parents' house, where the kids played with their cousins in the late-spring sun, and then we went home together, exhausted, but happy.
Life often has its hard moments. We fear their arrival. We suffer through them and let them occupy our minds and hearts. But there are those good times, too. The times when people are healthy and out in the world, when babies are born safely and well, when we have time to see and talk about things of substance with the friends we love, when generations can sit around a giant table as the sun sets.
So when those good times come, it's nice to stop and consider them a moment, to give them one last polish before tucking them away into our memories. This was a good weekend. I'm glad to have lived it.