“Oh, is that the new dress you were telling me about? Yeah, it looks… great!”
“I finished the book you suggested. It was… interesting!”
“Aww, how old is your son? Oh, I’m sorry, that’s a girl. Ahem. She’s… beautiful!”
“We had a fabulous time, I hope we can get together like that again soon.”
Sometimes you lie. It’s just the polite thing to do, even if it’s not entirely morally right. Sometimes soothing words trump honesty.
I’ve noticed that it happens in direct proportion to how little I know you. If we’re standing next to each other in a store and I know I’ll probably never see you again, I’ll compliment your ugly kid, smile at your unfunny joke, agree with your stupid political blathering. If we’re close enough that you have a space on my speed dial, I’ll tell you when your ass looks big or when your kids are annoying. Because I’m sweet that way, and because I would rather just be honest (as gently as possible, but still) than worry that I’ll forget later and get caught in a lie. (“Oh, right, that was the weekend that your kids were absolute jerks! …Wait, I didn’t tell you?”)
So it’s a relief, then, when I can say, unequivocally and with pure honesty, that I just had a lovely, fun, happy weekend with Jenny and her kids.
Willem had a gathering with several of his college buddies down in Boston, and neither of us feels comfortable with me having the kids alone overnight. I’m good in the afternoons and evenings, but first thing in the morning I’m just in so much pain (having not moved much in my sleep, assuming I did sleep, and not taken meds for a long stretch of time). I can barely function on my own for the first hour or three that I’m awake, and am not confident that I could competently manage three children at the same time. So he made his plans to go play, and I asked Jenny to come up, with her kids, for the night.
Her kids and mine have always matched up well. They’re similar in age, and carry similar interests, and they tend to cry when it’s time to go home, so obviously something appeals to them about their get-togethers. But there are times when I swear they bicker more than they play, and they tattle more than they interact. Those times are exhausting to me, and I look at my kids later like, “Really? That was fun to you? Because for me it sounded like one big misery-fest.”
Not this time. This time they had a blast, all of them. I can’t remember a single tantrum the whole weekend. (Except for her youngest, this morning, but what else can a not-quite-two-year-old do when he’s exhausted beyond all measure and little enough that he still wants to glue himself to Mom instead of playing with the other kids? He was a normal, to-be-expected toddler, so that doesn’t count.) They took turns, they accepted changes in plans, they laughed a lot… it was just good. And when it’s good for them, that makes it good for me.
So, truly… Come back anytime, guys. We had a blast.