Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Still looking for my marbles (and enjoying a lovely sabbatical in the meantime)

This fall I decided to spend a month-long winter sabbatical at my folks' house in Washington state. My post-holiday days have looked something like this:

1. Wake up. Put on daytime sweatpants.

2. Eat waffles.

3. Lay by fire.

4. Eat fudge.

5. Lay by fire.

6. Eat soup.

7. Lay by fire.

8. Eat more fudge.

9. Watch tv.

10. Change into nighttime sweat pants. Go to bed.

I'm thinking of staying forever. It's been everything I'd hoped and dreamed it would be and more. Minus the part where it's now hard to zip up my jeans. But hey, zipped up jeans are overrated, anyway.

I've had a number of goals for my sabbatical, one of them being to return to a state of mind in which I do not do things like lose my grade book, only to find it in the mailbox later. This has seemed like a reasonable goal. This has seemed like a necessary goal. But this has proven to be an unrealistic goal.

Because the results are in, folks, and the absent-minded professor is here to stay.

Last week my best friend from childhood, Lauren, and I decided to catch up over tea at her house. "How does Wednesday at 10 sound?" she wrote. "Perfect!" I replied. "Can't wait to see you then!"

Lauren and I were thick as thieves when we were kids. We attended the same church, lived in nearby neighborhoods, and had the same sense of humor and adventure. Some of my best memories are with Lauren.

And so, it was with great excitement, that I made plans to borrow my mom's car and visit Lauren for tea. And it was with great grace that Lauren invited me into her house when I showed up for tea yesterday.

Because you guys. I showed up a day early.

I still don't know how Wednesday became Tuesday in my mind, but it did. And it gave me and Lauren something else to laugh about, because not much has changed since the days we ran her dad's riding lawn mower over her mom's flowers and into the side of her house, or stalled her car in the middle of the road before either of us had licenses, or gave Lauren a hair cut that looked like I'd taken a rototiller to it. We still end up in funny pickles that set us to laughing deep belly laughs. Funny pickles are my very favorite life condiment.

So, after a month-long sabbatical, I have not reached my goal of arriving at a mental state in which I am cool, collected, and totally with-it. But that's okay, because I did reach my goal of spending time with a dear friend and her darling kids.

Despite me coming a day early, Lauren was able to whip up a lovely tea. And tea with little kids: you guys, it's the best. Chubby, wiggling babies; toddlers with backpacks full of rocks; a plastic "computer" that sings the ABC's — I loved it all.

Traces of a toddler and a tea party:

A ballerina fairy joined us for tea. She was too busy typing to do much tea-sipping, though. She had a very important letter to write, probably to the queen of ballerina fairies.

This little guy is happy-happy-happy. And he has dimples. I die.

 It was the loveliest — albeit unexpected for Lauren — morning with my old friend. And my time with good friends and their kids didn't stop there: I got to see another old friend from church, and meet her sweet little boys.

 We sipped tea while the slate sky spewed rain at the window panes, and munched on gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free cookies. They were yummy (and you should make them).

And forget raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens (okay, forget whiskers on kittens; raindrops on roses are lovely): little hands clutching chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite things. So are little boy tales of bugs and bulldozers. Baby boys, I tell ya. They make the world a better place.

Also, on second thought, whiskers on kittens are pretty cute. The problem is when kittens become cats. Cats do not make the world a better place.

Just when I thought my week couldn't get any fuller with cute kids, my cousins and their son Radley came to visit. His hat, his little Nikes, his button nose, his long eyelashes. It just doesn't get any cuter than this, folks.

He knows just what to do when he sees someone has whipped out the ol' iPhone camera:

I wanted to get a close-up of Radley, so I squatted low to the street and clicked away. He thought squatting was a good idea, too!

Oh to be a kid again, back when squatting was easy, ballerina fairy costumes were a normal part of Tuesday mornings, cookies were one of the seven wonders of the world, and jeans zipped up easily. But if I can't be one, then I'm glad to play with them. On Tuesday, Wednesday, it doesn't matter: kids make winter sabbaticals tee-rific.

Happy middle-of-the-week, friends,


© by scj


  1. I love this! Spontaneous hospitality. I identify with the toddler-isms. And, are you sure it wasn't "tea-rific"? Thanks for sharing! ~Sharon

    1. It was spontaneous hospitality! Which, I think, must be one of the loveliest virtues a person can have.

      And goodness, how did I miss that pun just begging to be written? Yes, "tea-rific" indeed!