This morning (after the whole "All I Want for Christmas is Booze" thing), Linden was acting odd. Listless. Grumpy. Resistant to being cheered up. I took her temperature, and it was normal. I brought her over to the couch to snuggle with me, and that seemed to help. She asked me to read her a book, and we giggled our way through "Frog and Toad All Year," but then she slumped back down and didn't want to do anything else. I said, "Are you just feeling blue today?"
"Yes." You can always spot the relief in someone's eyes when you've spoken the truth they were masking. "Holidays are hard."
She didn't really want to talk about it, but it helped that we acknowledged it, and then she was able to ask me if I could just stick close to her for awhile. We went up to her room and played with her stuffed animals. I fed them all goldfish crackers. She was a puppy, and did tricks for hers. Then I remembered a stash of nail polish my sister dropped off after her grown daughter moved out. I said, "Do you want to paint our nails?"
This is the result:
In the meantime, our "stuff it; don't talk about it" son was playing Legos with the Winemaker. Thanksgiving, after all, isn't celebrated in either of the countries where he had other families, so it is easier for him than Christmas and Mother's Day. He was attracted by the sound of story reading and came in to see what we were up to.
This is the result:
He wouldn't let me put any on him, but he wanted to put some on me. I am not a manicured girl by any means, but how could I say no?
I've only had a few pedicures in my day. I really enjoyed them, but I'm too much of a cheapskate to indulge often. This mani-pedi involved no warm foot baths, hot oil massages, or trim. I didn't get to choose my own colors, and the execution is...enthusiastic. Not only that, but here I am, reinforcing gender roles to my kids, not to mention introducing them to some truly nasty chemicals. (Linden took a gigantic whiff of the nail polish remover--oops!)
It was lovely. The concentration on their sweet faces. Their hands in mine. The mutual caring. The bright (BRIGHT--did you see that orange?!?) reminders Linden and I carry with us of the loving care we lavished on each other. The elaborately casual way Oak checks to see if his work has chipped throughout the day.
From there we rolled into an outing to the skate park, where instead of working on my laptop, as I intended, I spent the whole time watching, cheering, and photographing my kids. By the time we got home to prep the potatoes for dinner, they were ready to dash out back to climb trees with the neighbor kids. Half an hour later, when Linden came in to change, she announced, "Having all that Mommy time today really helped. I feel good now."
Me too, sweet pea. Me too.