I'm home alone for the first time in forever. Between a work trip/vacation with the family and camping with the kids, I feel like the kids have been attached to me for weeks without a break. I would say, "like leeches," but it felt more oppressive. After they left for my parents' house today, I really wanted to jump into bed and watch crap television for the afternoon, even though I should have been working. Instead, I did something altogether different: I made a creamy peanut butter pie.
A fellow Yahoo! Motherboard member lost her husband suddenly on Sunday, and today, the day of his memorial, she asked that people make his favorite pie and share it with their loved ones. My kids would have flipped out to see me make the pie. I only buy Oreos once a year, for our Christmas cheesecake, so this would have been a great surprise. The person who would appreciate a peanut butter pie the most is my dad, but he has my kids right now, and I can't invite him over, for fear he'd bring the little monsters back with him. The pie is for Kevin. At least the thought behind the pie is for Kevin. He's anti-sugar, so while he may try a little to be kind, there will certainly be enough left to save for the kids and my dad.
Most wives fear exactly what Jennifer is going through right now. I grew up with Sicilian superstitions and Catholic fear, so I worry all the time that something will happen to Kevin or the kids. The pie represents love, caring, and nourishment (even if sweetened condensed milk on top of an Oreo crust isn't remotely healthy), all things that I hope I provide for my family. Rocket dreams that he and I will one day open a bakery called Baking with Love, something he brings up periodically, usually when I'm feeding him. He makes plans, tinkers with a proposed menu (lemonade and cupcakes!), and he makes me happy because - back to being part Italian - he gets the love that comes with a homemade meal.
Earlier this year, I started making connections, finally seeing how so many aspects of my life overlapped. My kids go to the hippie school, which is very much about learning through hands-on work, while strengthening the person at the same time, and allowing people to be themselves. No surprise, I saw many of these people at the Maker Faire, which I attended for work. Part of that including writing about it for a camp that I work for, that stresses hands-on learning, teamwork, trying different things, pushing boundaries, and embracing failure as a learning experience. There is no surprise that all of this overlaps - on some level I sought this all out - yet it surprised me in the moment when it first clicked.
This month has been filled with the same overlap. I spent BlogHer with some of the most amazing people I know, a few who truly feel like sisters, and at the same time, the greatest lessons during the conference were about life. It is necessary to laugh so hard you cannot breathe and you almost pee your pants, even if that happens in a pedicab during a ride where you fear for your life in the middle of an intersection, or maybe that comes at Disneyland on the Tower of Terror, as you squeeze your daughter's hand tightly while airborne, laughing so hard and feeling so out of control as the ride lifts and drops that you give up and just go with the moment. Prior to the conference, I was lucky enough to hear Gretchen Rubin talk about happiness, and even though I've read - and loved - her book, her talk was filled with more great things. It was a reminder that when my son jumps around and practically bounces instead of walking, he is being playful, and rather than telling him to settle down or walk with me when we're out, I should embrace this and certainly not try to squash it, which is what I'd been doing unintentionally. After Gretchen, I heard Penny De Los Santos talk about food photography, people, culture, and her work with such passion that I started to cry. Photography is about finding new eyes and seeing the minutiae, and so is life.
The day after our return, we headed out to our annual Moms and Kids Camping Trip that began five summers ago when Clover was in preschool. We don't see each other much as a group during the year, but when we come together, we pick up right where we left off. I hate camping, but I love these people. They are the kind of friends where when I say, "I know I'm high maintenance," the response isn't a reassuring, "No, you're not!" but rather an immediate, "At least you can admit it." They're honest (it's meant in a supportive way), supportive, funny, and best of all, they put up with me, even though I can be a baby out there at the campsite.
The last few weeks have left me tired and ready for quiet time at home, but they've reminded me how lucky I am to have found my tribe. This is a metaphorical creamy peanut butter pie for all of you. Thank you.