Some days are just plain better than others.
Today was not promising to be one of those days. I got up ridiculously early, against my will, and then took care of the needs of various people of various ages with varying degrees of righteous indignation (my mother-in-law is always the most gracious, and the one who has the most right to not be). I also took care of the chickens, who love me.
In the process of taking care of the chickens I opened the top a little too far, allowing Honalei to escape and run around the livingroom while Nod, Narnia, Gondor and Oz all chirped and flapped their encouragement. When I finally caught her I let Lucy and Studley pet her a bit. That'll teach her.
I was feeling particularly taken for granted (read: sorry for myself) today. While doing my morning stuff I drove by a hotel and noticed the pool with lounge chairs arranged around it. I thought about how nice it would be to just sit by a pool all day and read a book. Swim a little, sun a little, have a little lunch, repeat. But this is just not in the realm of the possible anymore. I have people I'm responsible for and even on my days off I don't get to do things that are just for me (although I am taking a Personal Day in a week or so and believe me, you'll be the first to hear all about it).
So I grumped my way through my morning and then I was supposed to go to a meeting in The Big City, so I called my city friends to see if we could get together while I was in town.
They were not in the city.
They were at their cottage on the lake and they asked us to join them there. By the time they completed voicing the invitation I was pulling into their driveway.
The cottage is tucked into the woods and is a quintessential beach cottage. It's been in the family for generations. Wood paneling everywhere, screen porch, picnic tables in the yard, a small and efficient kitchen, couple of bedrooms, a latch on the bathroom door instead of a doorknob (I don't know why this is important for cottages, but it is). I didn't snoop as much as usual, but I'd bet there's Yahtzee and that puzzle that's a picture of marbles. And a bunch of paperbacks and probably checkers. There is most likely sand in the closets, the drawers and behind the books.
There's a short, rough hewn stairway that leads down to the lake through the trees. The beach is sandy, as is the bottom of the lake - at least until you get deep enough to swim and not put your toes in the muck.
The beach is about as big as my livingroom and is bordered by trees and rocks, making it a naturally occurring playpen. The kids made sand castles and splashed. Lucy, aka Esther Williams, swam. And swam.
And I sat in the sun and waded in the water (still chilly) and had lunch and chatted and watched the Men Folk put the dock in for the summer. And after a few hours I moved my chair into the shade because I am of English descent and destined to remain fishbelly white.
A consummate professional, I blew off my meeting.
Eventually I noticed the sun glinting off the water in that suspiciously late-afternoon way and I started very slowly gathering our stuff. Lucy jumped off the dock 500 more times.
And then we were running out of food, so it was time to go.
I took dinner to my mother-in-law and when I came up Lucy had gotten into her pajamas - because she wanted to do something nice for me.
We had dinner and read stories and when I tucked the kids in bed they hugged me and kissed me and thanked me for being such a great mom.
I would feel guilty if I weren't so darn happy.