One of the themes of my next book is how to make life feel more sustainable and joyful on an average Tuesday. Yesterday was something, but not really an average Tuesday!
In the morning I wound up doing Mommy Day #5. Every summer I do one-on-one days with my older kids. The youngest (whoever that happens to be) tends to get a fair amount of attention just by virtue of being little and needing a lot of care. So I don’t necessarily start doing official Mommy Days until age 4 or so. But I do remember in the summer of 2017 taking my then-2-year-old to the Shedd Aquarium solo, and him enjoying it. And sure enough, I did a Mommy Day of sorts with my current 2-year-old too.
We went to Sesame Place, which is only about 45 minutes from my house. We went on various rides — he wanted to try the roller coaster, but you had to be 3 years old or 44 inches! He did like the swings and the teacups (ugh). I think eventually he found it all overwhelming and hot, but he was revived by an Elmo cupcake and an Abby bubble-maker. We left around 1 p.m. and he slept in the car.
I did a little bit of work before leaving at 5 p.m. with my husband and older two boys for Longwood Gardens to see the Mary Chapin Carpenter concert there. I’d gotten tickets for this back in March, and so it had been an obvious entry for my Summer Fun List.
I was slightly concerned it wouldn’t happen. We’ve had two weeks of basically no rain, and then it started storming right around 6:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. outdoor concert. They delayed it for an hour — during which we got dinner, and walked around the lovely conservatory seeing orchids and such — but then the weather completely cleared up and the night was absolutely perfect.
Carpenter put on a wonderful show. I appreciated that she mostly played her greatest hits. I get that as an artist doing shows every night you might want to play new stuff, or your favorite pieces that you feel didn’t get enough attention…but your fans aren’t there every night and they want to hear their favorites. So that is what she gave us. Her one perhaps-not-as-well-known piece she played was the exact one I wanted her to play! She wrote “Halley Came to Jackson” about a scene from Eudora Welty’s childhood, when her father held her up to the window to see Halley’s comet in 1910, with a supposed wish that she might see it again. And in 1986, from that same front porch, she did. This song gets me every time, the scene of a parent wishing a long and full life for a child, and that blessing coming true.
I also really appreciated her band’s abilities. The piano player was just having the time of his life on the piano solo during “I Feel Lucky” (which isn’t my favorite song, but the piano interlude does sell it for me). And the fiddler on Halley Came to Jackson! Very evocative of a southern summer porch.
Anyway, quite the day. I am rounding toward the end of my Summer Fun List so I’ll post an update on that soon! In the meantime, happy end of August. On Friday the morning low will be in the 50s. The weather is changing. It was good to be outside listening to music, trying to hold onto the present even while watching summer fade into fall.
Photo: From the Longwood conservatory. Kind of fitting for the feeling of seasons blending into each other…