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Friday, October 22, 2004

Menagerie on Restaurant Placemat

We went to the Blue Ridge Mountains the other weekend. I used to go there as a child with my parents.

It's funny how, with my brain rewired for parenting, vicarious joy seems more intense than personal joy. Aviva and Noah's fun somehow tastes better than my own fun.

There was a lot of hassle that weekend -- ambitious hikes are a thing of the past -- dinners were a constant juggling act to keep all parties in their seats, with their feet off the table, eating and not making a mess or getting food in each other's hair. I'd been waiting for this trip to have pancakes with blackberry syrup. I remember being ecstatic about the pancakes with blackberry syrup as a child.

They were good. But, you know, good food is just, like, good food. On the scale of things, the joy of personal consumption of good food is, like, just not that far up there. The yumminess of the pancakes did not really counterbalance the stress of keeping the kids from running amuck.

But: Aviva and I got up early in the morning and hiked through the forest and were quiet and saw a family of deer.

And Aviva got to ride on ponies. Two different ponies. And take ponyshoes home to keep.

And Noah is crawling, and would tear through the woodchips of the playground towards the swing where his sister was swinging, and giggle gleefully as I carried him away from it again. And regard the woodchips in his hands with wonder, chewing on them contemplatively.

And as we were going home late, all tired and ready to crash, I saw how different the stars were from the ones we have in the suburbs, and convinced Aviva to walk down the trail with me to the amphitheater, where it was dark and we lay on our backs and looked up and she agreed that there were, indeed, lots and lots and lots of stars.

And the joy of all those things is so very far past the joy of eating raspberry pancakes, that I feel like a whole new category of joy has been invented just for parents.

On our way back to the cabin, I said to Aviva, "Wasn't that great! All those stars! I'm so glad you came with me, Aviva!"

"Yes!" said Aviva.

"I'm going to remember this always! Are you going to remember this always?"

"No," said Aviva, very seriously. Which cracked me up.

Here are her drawings from the restaurant:


Posted by benrosen at October 22, 2004 03:20 PM | Up to blog

Hi, Ben! Don't know if you remember meeting me and my 3 kids at Wiscon, but I wanted to say that after meeting you and reading this entry, you sound like you are a great dad, and thanks for reminding me how cool it is to be a parent. (Some days I need reminding LOL.) Hope y'all are all doing well :-).


Posted by: Angela Boord at November 3, 2004 12:17 AM

Hi Angela! I never remember anyone from a con by name alone (I am terrible about looking at badges, and my memory of events is terrible in general), so this was mystifying; however, Image Google came to the rescue, revealing your picture on Jim Stevens-Arce's OWW page. Of course! Angela! Nancy's friend -- we all talked about our novels -- and then I hung out with you and your husband and adorable children at breakfast.

I know those days you're talking about, the ones where you need reminding. :-) You're clearly a wonderful parent too...

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at November 3, 2004 10:34 AM

Oh, and now that I found it, I read "Forget Me Not" and loved it. Is there more of that story, about what happens to Aria next?

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at November 3, 2004 10:42 AM
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