The Friday Five!

1. It’s not only Friday: it is GOOD FRIDAY, which, although I am not religious in any specific way, is a holiday I can get behind. Who doesn’t like Good? Today has actually been really nice in a lot of ways, but mostly because my daughter and I went to have lunch with my mom at her new retirement community. With my dad away, it was just Us Gals. I have to tell you: if you’re having one of those parenting days where you are at the end of your rope and totally frazzled, just take your small child to a cafeteria full of seniors. You are instantly reminded of everything that is wonderful about children, even if your own has been a bit of a pill for the last few hours. I mean, it’s like coming in with a celebrity, I swear. When my daughter was spotted, conversations stopped. Wide smiles came over faces. Everyone was waving, saying hello. Of course, because this is MY kid, she responded by burying her face in my shirt (she’s a bit shy, I have no idea where THAT comes from) but it was still just so, so sweet. The whole time we were eating, I could feel people watching us with kind, happy expressions…which I tried to remember when she whined the whole way home. It helped.

2. Something else that will lift your spirits, always: listening to a happy song. My latest on repeat is, in fact, “Life’s a Happy Song,” from The Muppets. I bought it from iTunes JUST to have on hand when I need a quick jolt of everything good: Jason Segel, Kermit, Miss Piggy, and that plain old Muppet optimism. Sigh! Add in a pretty day to drive through and I’m almost manic. You have been warned.

3. This weekend is Easter, which means, among many other things, more candy. I swear, it was not until I had a child that I realized how many holidays are now candy-related. Valentine’s? Check. Easter? You bet. Christmas? Two words: candy cane. And then, the MOTHERLODE that is Halloween. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am far from anti-candy. But I can’t let my kid mainline it all year, that’s just irresponsible. So what I do is let her have some of whatever bounty she collects (more each holiday, I swear to you) then, after a few days, put it up high in a closet so she forgets about it. The flip side is that I, too, forget, only to find it months later, gathering dust and all sticky, and toss it. Until the NEXT holiday, when there’s even more to deal with. The only exception: Kit Kats and Reese’s Cups, which go into their own secret spot and do not stay there for long. And no, I am not telling you where that spot is. A mother needs her secrets. (Oh, dear, that sounded VERY Mommy Dearest, didn’t it? It’s the sugar, I swear to you.)

4. Is it just me, or is lately there, like, NOTHING on TV? It’s not Sweeps time, I know, but I feel like every night when we finally sit down to watch something, we can’t find anything but reruns of Intervention and the few reality shows I don’t like. I get the sense that a lot of shows just feel TIRED, except ones like NEW GIRL (which just gets better and better: come for Zooey, stay for Schmidt) and MODERN FAMILY. People keep telling me that I should be watching HAPPY ENDINGS, but the last time I tried it struck me as so crass. I know, I’m a total prude. I’ll give it another shot. But if it’s this bad now, what’s going to happen over the summer? Last night I found myself watching the Barrett-Jackson car auction with my husband, who was in HEAVEN, because there was absolutely nothing else. People, I cannot be watching car shows until September. This is serious. Help! (And please don’t tell me to turn off my TV and read, I promise you I am reading TONS—MR. FOX, HEFT on my iPad and GUTS on audio—but I need my shows, too. I’m only human. And kinda weak.)

5. Finally, something a bit more serious. Even as I write this, I feel like I may very well delete it and put something else about TV or food, something silly and easy. Because I worry that it makes me seem sort of nuts. But I think some of you out there might understand.

Back when I was pregnant in the summer of 2007, we made friends with another couple that was expecting around the same time. We hung out a bit, watched TV, compared plans and cravings, that sort of thing. My daughter was born in early September, and they came over to see and hold her. We were all so excited. Their baby was born a couple of weeks later and, for reasons that have never been clear, did not make it. I know. I know. The day I got the news I felt like the world just stopped.

And ever since, as my daughter has grown from an infant to a toddler to a rambunctious 4 year old, I have thought of them so much. On those days when my heart was just swelling with love for my kid…and on the ones where she’s driving me nuts. Every time I throw pennies in a fountain, they are among my first wishes. On stars, too. I can’t even explain it. They were trying for another baby, it wasn’t happening. They began an adoption process. The woman had a blog where she chronicled all her anguish and hope and fear and sadness, and I’d just read it when I was alone and cry. (See, this is why I thought I shouldn’t share this, but hang in there, if you would.) Occasionally we would see them, or they’d call, and I always felt so awful (I know it makes no sense, or maybe it does) that we had a baby and they didn’t. It was cruel and unfair and just mean of the world, and my heart broke for them, even though I am sure they never knew it.

Then, though, this spring, a friend of ours who was doing some work for them but didn’t know their whole story said to me, offhand, “You know, I think she’s pregnant.” I stopped where I was. “What?” I said. “Are you sure?” He nodded. “She’s showing…but she hasn’t said anything yet.” I could not believe it and did not want to get my hopes up, so kept reading her blog, throwing more pennies, wishing on more stars. And then, one day, she wrote an entry saying she was. Oh, my God. Like a million prayers, answered.

So here’s this woman that really doesn’t know me very well AT ALL anymore, and it’s ridiculous how invested I have become in her pregnancy (which is going great, no complications, a blessing for sure). I know she thinks I’m a total stalker freak because I comment on her blog and have already offered to walk their dog if they need it and bring food even though they haven’t seen me in months. I’m like some crazy person. But the due date is coming ever closer, and even though I know everything will be fine I just…oh, man. I just have never prayed so hard for anyone in my life. Bad things happen all the time: I know that. But when there’s a chance for something really, really good to occur to someone who deserves it, who has had the hardest time….that’s when I have to believe that good things, and great things, happen too.

I don’t think she reads my blog or even knows I have one and I probably shouldn’t be writing about this anyway. But on this weekend of Easter, with their baby almost full term, I have so much hope, hope, hope for them and everyone else who needs it. I am thinking the best thoughts, wishing on all the stars, emptying my pockets of coins into fountains. It’s just time. Come on, universe. You can do this.

Have a great weekend, everyone.