Mommy tries not to cry out as Lily brushes her face during "beauty parlor" on Amtrak
The kids put on a variety show that ends the weekend with a bang
I didn't even know they still made these. They're still disgusting.
Ah. I'm back. I think all I really needed to do was climb aboard a big, comfortable, magical train and take a journey out of my own head (and New York). Does a psyche good. Nervous breakdown averted.
Lily and I had a wonderful trip. Amtrak was so much fun...it brought back strong memories of my childhood, when my family and I would take the auto train to Florida, because my dad didn't fly. Lisa and I would get new travel bags and Mom would get us paper dolls, coloring books, Hubba Bubba, and later, Mad Libs and Judy Blume novels and lip gloss. I always managed to meet a cute boy on the train once I hit junior high age. I'd stalk him in the snack car and walk by his seat a bunch of times, tossing my hair and trying to seem hilarious and mysterious and I'd try to sit next to him at the evening movie in the dining car. Man, I was boy-crazy-psycho even before I got my period.
The trip to D.C. was really nice, though. Really restful. We stayed with my cousin Brenna, who was the consummate host. Upon our arrival Lily ran right up Brenna's two kids as if she'd just seen them, and the they took off together and played almost nonstop for 48 hours, taking a few breaks to eat, pee and sleep.
On Saturday we went to a birthday party at one of Brenna's neighbor's houses. It was an elaborate space-themed gala that reminded me of the Halloween parties I used to go to in New Paltz, but without the drugs. Or maybe there were drugs. But I wasn't offered any.
Brenna took the kids over to the party and I stayed behind to read, then followed a little later. When I walked in, the host, a very sweet woman in a cardigan and Mom Jeans, said, "Oh, you're just in time. They're hunting for aliens in the basement." Oh.
I walked downstairs into a room that was lit ominously by blacklight, the walls covered with black tarps and smattered with stick-on glowy stars. The entire cement floor was covered, covered in white balloons, which eerily resembled giant, prehistoric larvae.
I immediately spotted Lily, standing in the middle of this clusterfuck, while balloons popped sharply all around her, her eyes all wide and freaky. Kids were going nuts all around her, stomping balloons and running full speed into the black walls. It was the most awesome thing I have ever seen.
There was even a pinata in the shape of a rocket ship. I love the new "modern" pinata at today's birthday parties--it has a gazillion long strings dangling from the bottom and each kid grabs one and pulls, thus releasing a trap door in the pinata, which spills forth its contents. This is, I guess, preferable to what my generation of parents feels is a "barbaric" practice of whacking the shit out of the pinata with a stick until it explodes and hemmorhages its assorted goodies. I still take issue however with the fact that children literally trample each other to try and fill their pockets with all the stuff on the floor. That to me is the really barbaric part. Lily though, never much for competition, tends generally to hang back and wait. And then she asks someone, usually a boy, to give some of their stuff to her. Ah, that's my daughter.
It was a really cool party though. And they gave out pop rocks in the goody bags. Lily hated them. This is a kid who's been drinking seltzer since she was like 6 months old.
I'm glad I went on the trip. It was lovely. The kids finished the weekend by putting on a show for us parents on Sunday. Her cousins danced and sang while Lily sat on a lone stool with a giant pink guitar, strumming a soulful song about "all the love in my heart all the days". There was something that kind of reminded me of that scene in Forrest Gump where Jenny comes out on stage to play a folk song. But she's naked, and her big acoustic guitar is the only thing covering her lady parts. I don't know why that would remind me of my daughter. File that under "Things that I probably should not blog about and which should stay in my head". It's the folksinging part that reminded me of that scene though; I had a vision of Lily in 10 years at her junior high variety show playing a Joni Mitchell song, right before she gets on the bus to go march on Washington.
The train ride home was equally relaxing; Lil and I staked out a booth in the club car and played Go Fish while eating nachos and calling people. Then we went to back to our seats and watched it get dark while we played beauty parlor (I hate this. I hate anyone brushing my hair. But I clench my teeth and allow Lily to do it because she loves to), and played with paper dolls and watched movies on my ipod.
And I'm back in the city all washed anew. Welcome back me.
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