A very long drive

I took Friday off to celebrate part one of Sita’s birthday by introducing her to some amazing folks in her neck of the woods. These are connections through other connections that were random, or may be not, starting with a plane ride to Dhaka. I have a friend who met her husband on a plane ride to South Africa, these things happen and are wonderful. After a three hour ride we arrived in beautiful Ahsfield on a gorgeous fall day. We had a winter soup lunch and talked about complex adaptive systems, mathematical models, large group methods and working around the world.

Although we were not done talking, we had to leave, late in the afternoon to pick up Jim and the Bunwinkies’ instruments for a show in Worcester. The Bunwinkies were playing without their drummer and their male lead singer, making it an all women band except for Jim. It was the first time we saw them perform; we were in charge of the baby, a charge we shared with the other oma and opa who drove up from Beverly. We were the only people over 40 in an old firehouse that had been bought by 10 young men who’d made it into a very interesting living space with lots of space for band practice and performance on the ground flour.

The bunwinkies followed a guitarist whose poems we couldn’t quite understand but made wonderful music. Everytime people clapped Faro would startle throwing his arms wide open, then fall asleep again. By the time his mom and dad were on he had fallen asleep again, missing a wonderful performance, with Sita on lead guitar. This girl continues to amaze us. We left after the Bunwinkies had finished their act, knowing that Sita could look after Faro again. Besides, it was past our bedtime. After midnight when we tumbled into bed, I realized we had driven more than 200 miles.

The next day was Sita’s real birthday and continued with part two.  Seeing her now at 32 years, a mother herself, brought back many memories. She commented that birthdays should really be celebrations of motherhood and that it was the mother of the birthday person who should be acknowledged and feted.

We gave her a massage by Abi as a birthday present, knowing it would be exactly what she needed (it was). While she was relaxing I shopped for the ingredients of a rijsttafel, an Indonesian culinary extravaganza that required an entire day of cooking, another birthday present. We are now all of the age at which it is people’s time and effort rather than material gifts, that are the best birthday presents. I had assigned Axel and Jim a dish each (coconut chicken and beef rendang) while I took care of the remaining dishes (nasi goreng, telor bumbu, atjar, gado-gado and peanut sauce). All the spoons, bowls, cutting boards and knives in the house were used and re-used, making the kitchen look like a battlefield.

By the time the guests arrived (2 pairs of in-laws) I was exhausted. They ate, provided lots of compliments and then cleaned up the kitchen when not hanging out with our collective grandchild. We concluded Sita’s birthday watching Hercule Poirot after all the guests had left. Sita loves Poirot so much that for his first haloween Faro will be Hercule – the costume is already purchased, he has a pacifier with a Poirot mustache, only the white spats are missing.  His dad will be Captain Hastings (repeating ‘Good Lord’ over and over again) and Sita will be Miss Lemon. They will be quite a trio.

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