I have a fear that the pet store was not totally accurate in their presentation of the genders of these guinea pigs. It’s just a feeling I have; plus last night’s dream about finding giant white mice, the size of lop-eared rabbits living in my refrigerator on top of the lettuce and the eggs. Also, the diagrams on the internet to demonstrate the sexes of guinea pigs are troubling. That’s all I’ll say about that for now. But if we end up having a litter of baby guineas, I am going to take them babies back to Dave’s Soda and Pet shop and politely inquire how much it costs to neuter adult guinea pigs.
My kids are in heaven, though. The guineas make very sweet chirpy sounds. They purr and cuddle and eat kale leaves out of the kids’ hands.
I am in heaven because Jay now sings pop songs, like “Let it Go” and “Brave” and “Sir Duke” in his sweet little soprano. Elle whistles along, or plays songs on her violin for the rodents. Not every day is like this, or to be more precise, every day has its share of screaming fits and dramatic exclamations about the torture of being so bored by life in our house that Tom and I should be seized and have our parental licenses taken away. But I know how fleeting these golden years will be, these years when the kids would mostly rather be with us than off on their own. And so I breathe and try to remember to look up at the sky and really pay attention.
But this is not my forte. On the weekends, I try to take it all in and be one giant pincushion of appreciation, and usually by 9am all of us are yelling at each other. Then we have to lower our expectations, have some tearful apologies, and go on about our business. By afternoon, we are all friends again, and by Sunday we are exhausted as though we did not just have two days “off.” (Of course we didn’t have two days off!)
I am getting ready to go to my 25th Yale reunion. I am sick with anxiety about the whole thing, though a part of me is full of healthy anticipation and curiosity. Back in 1985 (!!!!!) I was, to put it mildly, anxious to be going away to college, even though I went with the ultimate security blanket: my high school boyfriend, an excellent guy who was very patient with my extreme co-dependence and neuroses for almost five years. I look back at pictures of myself and cringe. Not so much for the 80s fashions (white flats, balloon pants, bad perms) as the look in my face. I so desperately wanted people to like me, and I didn’t yet know that I was pretty much OK. The first two years of college are a wash of misery, conviction that I was the mistake in the admission process, and overeating. The second two years I climbed (or was lifted) out of the muck and mire and fell so deeply in love with the place that all I wanted upon graduation was to figure out a way to stay in New Haven for the rest of my life. Failing that, I got engaged and started a rock band.
In anticipation of my reunion, I just listened to “Tangled up in Blue,” the song I loved so much I named my singing group at Yale after it. Listening today, that song is clearly about Bob Dylan’s 25th college reunion! I am pretty sure Dylan went to Yale and was writing about all the same people I used to know who are (somewhat of) an illusion to me now. But many of these people will quickly prove themselves real on Friday when I see them again, 25 years later, and I may well fall in love with New Haven again.