I smirk each and every time my next door neighbor refers to me as Mrs. Leisureman. The moniker was branded and stuck last summer, and it tickles me no end. Sitting outside on our patio, usually reading, but sometimes only drinking coffee or chair dancing to my iPod during the summer months is something that elevates me to my happy place. Talk about delighting in the mundane–this is it. I’ve mentioned this previously, and it remains true: people like me fine until they remember that I don’t work full-time in the summer. In summer, I field a whole lot of “must be nice”s and sideways glances for my flawless patio chair dance moves. Whatevs. Neil, my neighbor, (I’m pretty sure) means it affectionately (usually). He has loaned me his dog to pet whilst I idle away, and this makes Mrs. Leisureman even happier. I still miss my Iz.
Yesterday was July 4, and I’ve always been a reluctant participant in the festivities. It’s always felt to me to be a day that I’m supposed to be living it up, but it’s more like I’m missing some fundamental something–don’t even know what–at my core being–but feel annually a day late, dollar short. Yesterday was a pretty kickass 4th as they go, the third best one in recent memory, and yes, I’ve ranked them because on July 4, 2013, I was at a Barenaked Ladies concert. Obviously, that’s first best. In 2006 I was at a Bon Jovi concert with supercool, fantastic friend Pamster, so that was all right too. Yesterday was a good day from start to finish. Now that I’m old(er), I get pukey on carnival rides. I can ride howling, twisty, suspended, outside looping roller coasters from dawn til dusk, but put me on something that goes around or stays up real high for real long, I’m slightly less pleased. Put me on something spinny, and I’m D. O. N. E. Eeeww. At the top of the ferris wheel around 9 last night, I asked my big kid what made him happy. He thought for a moment, and replied that July 4 makes him happy. Being on top of the ferris wheel made him happy. Fireworks made him happy. I was aiming for a shade more existential, but he’s eleven, and I was doing all I could not to freak the hell out at the top of the ferris wheel. Plus he was actually talking to me, and open communication is nearing the dawn of tween extinction here. I don’t want to judge, but let’s be real here–the rigorous training programs under which travelling carnies study and the portable nature of death machines for rental sort of leave me wanting more for my personal safety and for that of my firstborn.
So. Happy. What does that mean for him? Do eleven-year-olds think happy in the big picture or are they (is he?) capable only of right here, right now happy? That feels more like gratified to me vs. happy, so I’ll be thinking a lot about happy for the days to come, I know that. My big kid and I disembarked, and made our way back to our fireworks viewing spot with 10 minutes to spare. He was happy right there, right then. I knew that he was. My little one, all 105 pounds of 9-year-old, decided that he wanted to sit on my lap while the sky exploded, and I let him. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the last chance I would get to have my baby sit on my lap. In public. He’s a sweet kid, my little one, and he leaned in cheek to cheek as the colors lit up the night. Even when my hair pulled, even though my arm and one leg went kinda numb, I wouldn’t have moved for anything. Happy.