I spent almost all of last Wednesday hungover. I know that makes me sound like a terrible mother, but I don’t feel bad about it. I still took Avalon to swimming class and picked up her toys while singing a song. I’m really trying hard to believe what I know in my brightest moments: I am the best mother for Avalon and I am doing my best. I’m actually kind of proud that Scott and I made it to a concert on a weeknight with Mike, Scott’s friend since diaper days. I thought the part of my life where I stayed up late and mixed alcohols and expresso had been put in some mental storage box marked ‘save for later’ along with the prospect of sleeping in.
Iron and Wine sounded the same as they do on their albums, but louder like the notes were seeping straight into my bones. I wanted to cry at this concert. Really, really cry– quietly and to myself, but with all the feelings I’ve had while listening to their music. Feelings about the things that hurt us and who God is; About what it means to be good and beautiful; About fog in the ocean cliffs in the morning and grass when it’s dying, but still looks pretty in the right light; About Avalon when she dances and wakes up smiling and how she holds my neck and how hot Scott looks when he gets out of his car when he gets home. I wanted to cry because Maddie got cancer and maybe someday more people I love will too. I wanted to cry because I needed to. But I didn’t.
Instead, they played their new album almost exclusively, I caught myself being jealous for Sam Beam’s wife because he was signing love songs with a pretty girl in a gold, gold dress and some douchey hipster with a zitty beard and a beanie told me to “Shut Up!” for requesting ‘Trapeze Swinger’.
It wasn’t so long ago that I kicked a girl straight in the leg for blocking me and my dad at a concert on purpose and for flipping me off. Maybe I should be glad that I’ve outgrown this behavior. Maybe I didn’t kick that guy because I have an Avalon now and it was the kind of concert where everyone sits and because Sam Beam was hauntingly playing a violin or something sacred sounding at the time. Maybe a part of me knows that the beanie boy probably had things he could have cried about too and to just leave him alone. Maybe I didn’t kick him because I’m tired and I still had optimistic expectations for the night. It did end well. Mike and I made a commercial jingle for Italian alcohol bitters, we saw his latest art projects and Scott and I talked the whole way home while an Uber driver chauffeured us to my parent’s driveway.
Before the concert we went to Austin for a reunion with my best friends. The first night we danced in a parking lot and under a tree. I can only see the tree’s trunk in my memory because I never looked up at the top. Avalon and my best friend’s daughter were throwing leaves towards the tree well, so that’s where my focus went. Avalon and I shared a veggie burger from HopDoddy’s, then put our feet in the cold pool of a hotel while I sipped a Moscow Mule with a sweaty glass and talked to Cassie about that time she borrowed a bra from the stranger she sat next to on a plane. It all felt so rebellious in this new family oriented stage of our life; Having Avalon up past her bedtime and holding a glass cup near the pool even though no one cared.
The rest of our college roommates and their families arrived the next morning. It was humid and cloudy and Avalon had allergies. We rented a boat and went out on Lake Austin. Scott and I got to try surfing because Michael’s brother has a fancy boat and likes sharing. The water was grey and shallow, the boat was fast and quiet. The surfing was hard, but rewarding.
Saturday it thundered and poured and we made funfetti cake to celebrate Nicole’s birthday and Nell’s pregnancy. We played this game where everyone tried to describe each other’s jobs. I only really understood what Nicole did because she’s a teacher and I’ve had plenty of those. Avalon thew up after her nap, but I was led to believe it was a reaction to the Benedryl I gave her for her allergies. We went to a restaurant that night with brick walls and a crappy singer that I had Avalon give two bucks to. She loved dancing to his songs anyways. Basia and I had a heart-to-heart in the bathroom that made us both cry. A handful of us went out that evening to a bar with a DJ on the roof. Basia requested a certain song that she and Phil like to listen to and the DJ laughed and acted like he’d never heard of it. I threw an ice cube the size of a slice of butter at him from about fifteen feet away. It hit him right in the nose and we had to run (or at least I thought so). I had forgotten that detail until just now as I’m retelling this.
All of this goes to show I guess my wild days aren’t totally behind me after all. Good.
And in an attempt to make some kind of conclusion, I would like to remind myself that the best days might not always be what you expect, but the best days are here, right in front of us.