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June 20, 2002
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago
four years ago

Dinner at Sakura's

Jet had a pretty grumpy morning. He didn't go to sleep until the afternoon and then only after Isabel bundled him into the stroller and took him all the way around the neighborhood. When he got back home, he was fast asleep in the stroller, so I helped Isabel bring him in. I finally just parked the stroller in our room, let the back down so that he just slept nearly lying down, and turned on the humidifier.

Jet then napped for nearly three hours.

I got a lot of uninterrupted work done, had a good breakfast and a light lunch as we were headed for Sakura for dinner. Isabel was treating and since it wasn't Sunday we were sure we could eat there. I had been craving Japanese food from Father's Day, so it was good to get some.

John called at 5, just as Jet was waking up and we got out the door at 10 after. We were supposed to meet him at the restaurant at 5:30 and as we went by the intersection that led to work, I saw John's car. So we arrived at the restaurant at about the same time. John got a table. The booths had been problematic that last time we were there, and it was nice to have the room and Jet neatly contained in a high chair.

Dinner was wonderful. Isabel got tempura. John and I shared a tonkatsu dinner and a plate of sushi. Yum. The fried foods were all light and crisp and perfect. The sushi was cool and light and yummy. Jet ate rice, knobs of Isabel's tempura chicken and some of the vegetables, and bits of our katsu. Jet was cheerful and happy and behaved marvelously for the entire meal. He got a packet of chocolate cookies at the end of the meal while the adults were given a free treat of a salmon collar.

The collar bone of the salmon had been lightly breaded, deep fried and doused with a sweet and salty sauce. It was crisp all along the skin and edges and tender along the muscles of the fin and jaw. There was gorgeous dark meat, lots of crisp skin and plenty of omega fatty acids all along the the bones. Yum. I loved it. I may even order one of those some day.

Even though we were all pretty full when we left, we were on a mission. We went to the brand-new Cold Stone Creamery near work. We had to see if it was open and if it was the same as all the others. It was crowded. Jet got a chocolate ice cream with marshmallows mashed in. I tasted the caramel turtle fudge and decided to get a small cup of that. John and Isabel got their own flavors as well, and Jet insisted that we walk.

So we walked.

We walked around the tiny little cluster mall, and got to see the Starbucks and the back of the creamery before finding the Noodles and Company completely chockablock with people at a party. Everyone near the fence of the outside eating area noticed Jet. Two girls were teasing a guy about how Jet was perfect for him, in tie-dye and loving chocolate. He drawled, "Well, sure, but he's definitely too young." which got giggles from the girls. That amused me.

When we got around the corner, a woman with two kids laughed on seeing Jet and said, "Look! It's the chocolate monster! Don't you want to give someone a big kiss/"

As can probably be guessed, Jet was pretty much covered in chocolate by this time. The very hot weather was not so kind to his face and shirt and arms. He was good about eating what he could from the spoon, but with his new control, he was spilling a lot of it to the sides, still. The front of his shirt was stiff with chocolate. By the last leg, he was reaching into the cup to pull out marshmallows and just eat them and not bother with the melting ice cream.

Jet's grip on the bowl had changed from his Flatiron adventure. Tonight, he was hooking his thumb over the edge, instead of just clinging determinedly to the side. Ah well. He learned a far more efficient method.

We got a couple of wet paper towels and cleaned him off enough to be able to pick him up and put him into his seat. Isabel offered to ride with John to keep him company, so I offered to let them take Jet home as well. John and Isabel took Jet home while I took the Baby Buggy to the Safeway gas station and I got a chance to take advantage of the prices my parents had discovered at their gas pumps. I got 12 gallons at 1.17 a gallon! That was pretty nice.

I really enjoyed the time alone. Even something as small as the drive home was refreshing for me, now. I've had too much of people, lately, and it was nice to just have my own mind for a while.

It helped, too, that John and Isabel gave Jet a bath when they got home. I got to just sit and read for a while. Isabel's lent me The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which is what the movie is based on. It's a difficult book for me to read. I'm having real troubles with it, but I'm also learning a lot from it. Some of the troubles go with a character who becomes a mother simply because it's expected of her, and there's this scene where two of the kids have bronchitis and then the other two get stomach flu and she's left entirely alone by a husband who has gone off duck hunting. And the sheer rage of it all touched me too close to home.

There are times when taking care of Jet gets really hard. There is nothing that says that I always have to put Jet before myself, but where that balance is is difficult to define. What do I need to do to take care of myself? Something as simple as being able to drive home by myself was a wonderful tonic. I don't think I'd ever, in my life, have four kids, but to be put in such a situation, to even imagine it, is too close to a raw nerve I have about how much is too much?

Where would I crack?

I have no illusions that I wouldn't crack. There's going to be a point when I'm so mad, so frustrated, so overwhelmed, that I can't deal. So far, when I've come even close, John's been great at helping me out of it and dealing. When I can discover that it's so, and articulate that fact, he will help. Period. But I'm lucky. It would have been very easy to have had a spouse that wouldn't have anything to do with a kid, and realistically, I would never have had a child with such a spouse.

So to read about a mother in that situation is just too painful, fresh, right now.

The good thing about the book is that the characters are complex creatures, living, breathing, growing, changing, and mysterious with their contradictions and realities. It very much fits the Difficult Conversations premise that emotions are all ANDs, not BUTs. That one can love someone deeply and still be irritated or angry or even hate them as well, at the same time. That mothers can be flawed and give pain and still love and, maybe, that's enough. That daughters can resent things, hate what has happened, refuse to forgive, never understand, and still love their mothers.

That was an important thing to be spelled out for me. I was glad of that part of this book.

I didn't look up until it was past midnight. I guess I needed the time with my own brain.

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Copyright 2002 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.