love and gratitude

Every once in a while life gives me a little bit of sugar.

After a trying Saturday during which Calvin was as stubborn as ever making it nearly impossible to grocery shop or do much of anything, the woman in line behind me at the grocer offered to fetch two limes I'd forgotten to get, and the main reason I'd gone shopping in the first place. Calvin had been so difficult—attempting to drop to the floor, turning on a dime nearly taking me down, planting his feet refusing to make any forward progress—that by the time she returned with the limes I was weeping from a mix of self-pity and gratitude. I thanked her and she smiled sweetly, seemingly pretending not to notice, perhaps to avoid making my despair any worse.

Later that afternoon, Michael and I dealt with what we thought might be a sick boy headed for a major seizure; the kid exhibited nearly every harbinger in the book: rashy butt, seizure breath, bouts of shrieking, dropping down, spells of spaciness and pale lips. An hour before his bedtime he lead us upstairs and patted on his bed, so we tucked him in early. Just then, Nellie began barking wildly at someone on the deck.

We were the target of a home invasion, and not the first of its kind by these particular culprits. Some dear friends, when they learned we could not join them for dinner, brought the entire meal to us. With Calvin seemingly asleep, we quickly retired to the screen porch where we sipped drinks, ate aged cheddar, and dipped blue corn and pita chips into a smooth red pepper coulis. It had been months since the six of us had gathered around a table together, and so we toasted to our friends' presence, thanked them for their generosity, then raised our glasses in honor of a couple of dear friends who, regrettably, had moved out of town the week before.

Living at the eastern edge of the time zone, we were bathed in twilight for quite a while. We sat surrounded by thirsty rhododendrons and azaleas, and day lilies flashing scarlet and yellow petals. One guest noticed that the string of hot weather and the long spate without rain had crisped most of the lawn into straw. We all hoped the heavy sky rolling in meant rain. And what with all the news about wars and despots and oligarchs and liars, it seemed the world needed a good cleansing, but the rain never came.

Michael helped our dinner hosts bring out a platter of pork tenderloin medallions with jars of chutney, plus bowls of herbed rice salad, rustic tomato salsa and a salad with apple and homemade candied pecans. The evening began with a personal anecdote about a fart (not mine), that inspired two amusing stories about dog shit, which then led to more lewd comments and hilarity. Several weeks, if not months, had passed since I last laughed until I cried, so it felt satisfying to wipe wet lashes wearing a smile. We went on to discuss books and politics and films and the wedgies Wonder Woman sports (on her feet) in the latest movie. We mused on San Francisco and the Bay Area since all six of us lived there in our former lives. And we asked after each other's boys realizing, as if for the first time, that we are all parents of only-child sons.

As dusk turned to night, Michael lit candles and oil lanterns, and not long after came our dinner host's to-die-for lemon curd cheesecake, which was served on special plates, each painted with a different bird, that she had brought for the occasion. Relaxing there surrounded by my furiously funny friends and my beloved husband, I realized there is nothing that quite compares to communing over shared food and drink with wicked smart, zany, open, thoughtful, irreverent friends amid candle glow on a warm summer evening.

When I finally crawled into bed, my mind was buzzing with thoughts of the laughter and happiness that had dissolved the bitter difficulties of my day. But it didn't take long for the angst over my sleeping, epileptic child to creep back in. So, I helped myself to sleep by repeating, in my mind, the words love and gratitude to the tempo of my resting breath.

And Calvin made it through the night.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! You deserve more of such exellent time and atmosphere.