I woke up Saturday morning to an empty house, a box of donuts on the counter. Kids gone, car gone, bank card gone. A stack of French novels and magazines piled on the sofa. And I exhaled and gave thanks for one of the dearest people in my life, a friend from grad school, now on sabbatical and here because I asked. I opted for a second cup of cold brew, extra cream, and a long, hot shower without interruption.
Mister is traveling this week, maybe into next. I’m rolling right through week 36 of this pregnancy and rapidly approaching week 37 so I was a bit nervous to say the least. My friend and I had talked about getting together, working over her manuscript together, face to face. So during our weekly Skype chat I said, Hey! Care to cross the Atlantic and come hang out? And then twenty minutes later I had bought her a plane ticket and three days later, I gave a lecture to an English class then waddled to my car and headed to New Orleans to pick her up. And immediately, she hugged me and this baby, cooing in Creole in my ear and then to the wee babe, my shoulders came down from around my ears and I was filled with such a sense of relief.
My kids are thoroughly enchanted by the fact we just sit and converse in French and picked up exactly where we left off where we saw each last (2? 3? years ago). They love her because she brings a fresh selection of books and goodies from France and photos of us in our heyday—there we are in the Maghreb, in our rather derelict flat in Lyons, on a train in India, the two of us at a table on a café patio with my dad and a lizard in Lagos, on a beach in Martinique, and at her family home in Haïti, bleary-eyed in a pub in Ireland. And it feels good to remember all these adventures, the life I knew before this one, to remember how it felt to take off on a whim with little more than a backpack.
And so this week will be finishing the layout for Kindred’s eighth issue (Eight!), finishing up work for clients, and then a whole lot of nothing, and I’m looking forward to it. The little people are hoping to brush up on their Creole and are excited at the prospect of having company (the good kind they say and I nod knowingly). Brave soul that she is made it through Whole Foods and Traders Joes today (on a game day no less) with my five littles in tow and they have meals planned and movies to watch and well, for once mama is going to just sit back and smile and say, Yes, yes whatever, just enjoy while I sit back and watch the best and most loved people in my life come together to bring back old memories and create new.