Hey, did you notice I fell off the face of the earth last week? Actually, what happened was that Mir came to visit, and it turns out my little brain must jettison one thing before taking on something else. Last week? Blogging was happily flung overboard to make room for sitting around talktalktalking with Mir.
Did you know she and I met through our blogs? What was it - five years ago? Six? I'm not sure, but we were both freshly divorced, and we spent hours on IM, giving our cold, dead marriages thorough autopsies. We hand-held each other through various traumas and new beginnings, and now here we are, in vastly different places in our lives, yet still talktalktalking. It makes me laugh, because before she got here, I told a few people that my friend was coming to visit, and they asked where we knew each other from, and I said, "um... the Internet." Which sounds a little seedy, ya know? And it's so not. Yahoo Messenger is the back fence over which I chat with one of my favorite people. Where was I?
Ah yes, so Mir came to visit. I must confess here, I was a little intimidated. I've been to her house, but she's never been here. I've met her husband and her kids and EVEN her EX HUSBAND. I've seen her Venetian plaster and eaten her flat-leaf parsley until my tongue was green. They were lovely and yummy, respectively. But she's never been here, never met my kids, never met Clay, never been shed upon by our dog. In a very middle-school sort of way, I really wanted to make my life perfect before she arrived.
Unfortunately, as I've mentioned, I don't even have time these days to finish the newspaper. So. Perfection's not likely to happen, now is it?
I pinged her on IM and told her, "Okay, look. My house is tiny. And a mess. My children are feral. My dog sheds A LOT. And I'm fat." I meant post-partum-ly-plump.
"Kira," she replied, "I'm not coming to judge your house or your kids or your dog. I'm coming to see you and snoogle the baby. And you're not fat."
I accepted that with such grace and maturity that I actually stayed home from church Sunday so I could clean the house before she arrived. Unfortunately, Sophia developed a little wound on her little cheek Sunday morning (NEVER MIND HOW. SHUT UP.), and I was so busy weeping over her and berating myself (speaking of grace and maturity), that I never seemed to get around to actually cleaning much of anything. Sheesh. Is it any wonder I have to troll online for friends?
Colorado has been getting all tornado-y with its afternoon weather lately, so Mir's plane was delayed for an hour. When she got off the plane, I welcomed her with an outpouring of gracious hospitality in the form of prolonged boring fretting over Sophia's wee cheek (NEVER MIND HOW. I SAID SHUT IT.), and my own tomato hornworm story, which is horrible and should never be repeated. (But I WILL repeat it, and I DO, whenever the subject of tomato hornworms comes up, making it entirely her own fault.)
And then I took her home with me, and you know how the story ends, right? I mean, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of their after-school-special-lore knows how this ends. It was just like the first day of kindergarten, when my dad came to pick me up and I ran up to him and informed him with great glee, "It was GREAT and NOBODY noticed the scratches on my shoes!" My kids loved her and she loved my kids and Clay sort of hung back, a little shocked by the sheer volume of words, but charmed nonetheless. Carmi loved her instantly, and proceeded to shed and look guilty, such was the weight of her love. I was worried that Sophia would be uptight, because she's shown quite a bit of stranger anxiety lately. See the tension in that little baby there?
Mir truly is the baby whisperer. I like to think that Sophia recognized in her a fellow delicate flower. They bonded.
We spent four days just doing what I do, trips to the library and baseball games, fighting to maintain the thread of a conversation in the midst of four kids and their various needs and noises, and driving lots of places. Home felt perfectly at home with Mir in the midst of it all, and it was certainly fun to have someone else around to narrate the baby's thoughts. From now on until eternity, whenever Sophia does this:
...I will hear Mir's voice, as Mr. Burns from the Simpsons, saying "EXcellent...."
And now she's back home, and things are back to the way they were before she came...except not. Because Mir is the sort of friend who makes me look around myself and see more possibility than I'd realized. And even though today is filled with very mundane details, with laundry that needs to be washed, and a trip to the vet to see what's wrong with Carmi, and two baseball practices, there is also the lingering freshness in the air left by a woman with no time in her life for stale. And that, my friends, is a fine woman indeed.
Even if she does eat babies.