Another fabulous, fun, special, sacred weekend in that big, warm, cozy, yellow house. I laughed til it hurt, I sang and I danced, and I even cried a little. And oh yeah, I changed a lot of diapers--some more successfully than others!
Friday night, I arrived a little early, greeted Nerissa and headed upstairs to relieve Erica. I took the kids and we headed downstairs to wait for the writers. I had reminded L about all of our friends, naming each of them for her. When we got downstairs, I asked her if she remembered who was coming..."who's coming?" she replied. "Is Bill coming?" "Yes." "Is Lora coming?" "Yes." "Is Fred coming?" "Yes!" "He is?! Who's Fred?" High pitched giggles followed and she ran laps around the downstairs shrieking "Fred's coming! Fred is coming!!" J just watched and smiled big. Lora arrived, followed by all of our other friends. L got a little shy, so Mike took Mr. J and I snuggled L. Ashley and Melissa came to say hello..."meow!" L took on her cat persona, and because they are wonderful, our friends played along. She warmed up pretty quickly and soon, she was yelling across the room and calling them names. Reluctant to eat her own dinner, L got very excited about my rice and green beans. Hey, as long as she eats, right?
When the writers began their work, Tom and I headed upstairs with the kids. I read L a book and we cuddled a little bit before Tom and I switched off and I headed to try to put J down for the night. We read a book and I softly began to sing to him...he didn't so much love when I put him in the crib, but I stayed close and he held my thumb in his little hand while I sang another round of "Molly the Donkey." He protested when I left the room (still singing), but by the time I closed the door to the stairs, he was off in dreamland. Tom helped me in the kitchen for a while...then it was off to Packard's.
We insisted on the library room, agreeing to pass drinks if the room felt too crowded. Every corner split off into its own conversation, but there was a general feeling of community in that room. Snow fell outside the window while we ate gross (but delicious) food, drank everything from virgin bloody marys to 007s, and laughed loudly and often.
Saturday was a blur of diaper changes, guitar strums, endless rounds of "We're Off to See the Wizard!" (complete with dancing), food, friends, and a long car ride on which L and I "hootenanny boogied." A fairly competitive game of Ataturk ended our night together (Lora and Tracie proved to be a dynamic duo), but we dragged Bill back to our hotel for drinks and guitar.
Sunday morning came too quickly...the writers wrote and sang while I cuddled and sang and danced and rolled with J upstairs. Tom and L returned in time for a rendition of "Enough Said," which I sang with a girl in my lap and tears in my eyes. After a few rounds of "Pig Pile on L" (possibly my favorite moment of the weekend occurred when L looked at me and whispered, "Kwis, do you think Beel wants to play pig pile on me?), we took some group photos--which came out great for once--and headed for our last traditional haunt. (But not before L and I said goodbye--"I love you, Fingers!" I called to her. "I love you, Feet!" she replied with a grin.) Tokyo and Taipei was our last stop and we squeezed another hour out of our time together. I'd never been so grateful for carpooling, as Tracie, Nichole and I extended that retreat feeling just a *little* bit longer as we drove back to the Woo.
I don't want to forget the feeling that accompanies this weekend, the magic and electricity that fills the room when we are all sitting together eating dinner or listening to a song. I am so grateful for all the little moments that add up to a big memory--dishes in the kitchen with Tom, cuddling up with L & J to read a story, a quiet conversation in the corner at Packard's with Melissa, late night lyrics-on-the-fly with Bill and Tracie, me frozen at the top of the stairs with J in my arms listening to Bill's beautiful story, last minute alcohol runs with Tracie to the "package store" that sells individual bottles of beer, watching closely as L sings every word of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with Tracie, Teresa presenting L & N with Polly the Monkey, the Brewery waitress who never wrote anything down and brought all the right things, looking around the room at dinnertime and seeing everyone so engaged and happy...
In 3 short years, we've become our own little family.