May 16, 2010

The thing about this childrearing, I am finding, is that there is seldom a dull moment. Our weekends now, here in the glorious suburbs, are full of activities, both planned and spontaneous. On Saturday mornings at 8:45, both boys have gymnastics class, which seems absurd to me except that it is basically just a chance to jump on a trampoline and leap into a pit of foam blocks, and that is exactly what 3- and 6-year-olds need at that hour of the morning. (Truthfully, they need it at 5:30 in the morning, and if we had those activities in the house, I’d probably get to sleep later.) Then this Saturday, we had Max’s sixth birthday party, pirate-themed by request, which was as involved a soiree as I have ever thrown in my life: You see, the norm among Max’s peers is to rent out a hall of some sort, usually a place specially designed for such occasions, full of inflatable bouncy houses and the like, and staffed by listless teenagers. The entire kindergarten class is invited, and parents expect to drop off their kids and get a few hours free before returning. We weren’t about to go that route (not because we’re iconoclasts (although we are!) but because it’s costly), so we did it at home, festooning the place in pirate finery and hiring college kids to help us corral the youts.

In the end, we probably spent as much as if we had rented one of the bouncy house joints, but we had the satisfaction of having broken the mold. Plus, a few parents hung around for sausages and beers, which made the whole thing better, I think. Then Max’s best friend and her brother and dad stayed for present-opening, present-playing, and dinner, and the kids played nicely in the basement while the grown-ups got drunk upstairs. That was nice.

But today it was back on the grind: Laundry laundry laundry, cleaning cleaning cleaning, Home Depot trip, then little league, then lunch, then gardening, and then holy-shit-it’s-five-o’clock-on-Sunday-and-I-haven’t-come-up-for-air. That is one kind of flying – the disconnected, slightly-out-of-control, careening type of flying.

Luckily, my friend Kenny, who is in the midst of closing out his law school career, called up and proposed a bike ride, and that was just the thing – cool spring air, fading sunshine, and catching up with a friend while riding at a leisurely pace.

We crossed over my favorite railroad bridge to get to East Hartford, whence this gorgeous view of fishermen, with downtown in the background:

Fishing in East Hartford

And then we came across this brilliant, home made kite:

Home made kite, East Hartford

It was rather something, sticks and string, and, not shown, a tail some eight feet long, made from shopping bags and car wash rags tied together. Kenny even got it to fly:

Kenny flies the home made kite

I tucked the kite into my bag for the ride home, and its garbage bag flaps riffled in the wind behind me. The cool of impending night gave me a second wind, and then I felt like I was flying again, but in a much better way.


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