Saturday, June 9, 2007

Fun in the Sun

Today was a good day. Most days are good days, but today was so good in so many ways. We slept in, for one thing. I'm a morning person--I love being up before anyone else in the house and puttering around getting bits of things done. Of course, the Loved One has referred to this as my "Russian peasant" routine, where I actually get up and start charging around maniacally getting things done. However, today was different. I did get up at 8-ish and make a cup of coffee with lots of milk and a big spoonful of cocoa, but I promptly went back to bed with a book whilst drinking it.

When I did finally get up for good, it was about 9:30 and we moved at a rather stately speed. We had the very best summer breakfast (fresh fruit, homemade yogurt with honey), with books at the breakfast table. We got a few things done at the house. We stopped by Sally's book sale, intending to stay for a few minutes. We found some great books, as usual, but ended up curled on an outdoor sofa with her two youngest children looking at books, talking about the upcoming wedding, and about the Loved One's job in Alaska.

Sally -- one of the truly most interesting people I know (and I would write that even if she didn't read my blog)--plied me with good conversation, cookies warm from the oven baked by her eldest daughter, and a glass of summer sunshine. Actually, it turned out to be a Junior League tea recipe involving fresh mint, tons of sugar and orange juice, but it was incredibly delicious and so refreshing on a summer morning.

Later in the day, Dear Daughter and I collected Best Friend and Best Friend's Brother and made for the pool at university from which I graduated. It's a smallish, Catholic school, so the pool is kind of off the beaten path and usually not terribly crowded.

The sky was clear, the water was cool but comfortable and only a few people were there. The kids amused themselves by bombing off of the diving board while shouting whatever goofy things they could think of. I love watching these three together--they have such a great time doing so very little. As Dear Daughter is an only child, having Best Friend and Best Friend's Brother so close and readily available is the next best thing to having siblings. They rarely squabble, and DD has learned some very valuable lessons about group dynamics just by playing and hanging out with these two.

After swimming about an hour, I hauled out on the deck and sat in the late afternoon sun. My book wasn't interesting at that point, so I kind of watched the children and tried not to doze off. My reverie was interrupted by a man who walked up to chat.

One of the things that I like most about this pool is that there are basically three kinds of people there: college students, professors and families, or members of the various religious communities. They're pretty distinct and easy to tell apart, excepting that one time years ago I spent an afternoon chatting up a very nice middle-aged man only to eventually discern I was subtly hitting on a Dominican friar. But the nice thing is, at this pool I generally don't have to worry about dealing with any unpleasant behavior of any kind.

Anyway, today this fellow wanted only to tell me how much he enjoyed watching my "family" play in the pool. He was very effusive in his praise for the children and naturally, I appreciated it. I did point out that only one of them is mine, but that they are very close friends and easy to have altogether in public.

This experience put me in mind of something I've always explained to Dear Daughter--that family is so much more than with whom we share DNA. We are fortunate to have an extended family of my siblings and cousins and elderly aunts--all of whom we love and see regularly. But our immediate family has always just been the two of us. We're in the process of expanding again with the addition of the Loved One and his grown sons and granddaughter. Lucky for us, we learned early that love doesn't divide, but rather it multiplies. Despite everything, I see that she is able to form close relationships and is not afraid to love deeply and abundantly, even outside our circle of "blood" family. And that love she shares is visible, not just to me, but even to a total stranger.

So, we just dropped off BF and BFB and DD is settled in for sleep. The house is quiet again, and I've run out of things I feel have to get done today. It's been such a good day.

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