Monday, May 26, 2014

Surprise! Bina's in town!

It's been a nice Memorial Day weekend. Yesterday I went on a picnic in Central Park with friends, then went to a standup comedy open mic. Definitely uneven, but it got me out of the house.

As much as I've wanted to, I haven't called any men, although I emailed the one I've just emailed with and not met in person. Haven't heard from him, or from the other guy. Not happy about that, but trying not to let it get to me. We scheduled a date last week for later this week, so I guess we're still on, even though we haven't spoken or emailed in days and days.

Today I planned to get a massage and a facial. What I didn't plan was getting a phone call from my dear friend Bina, who was in town for her cousin's bar mitzvah at a conservative synagogue eight blocks from my apartment. Could I come over?

"I'm wearing a t-shirt and cargo pants," I said. No problem. I walked over and saw her with Asher and their children: six-year-old Gingi, four-year-old Shimmy, and the adorable Matuka, two years old with a halo of curls and a penchant for taking photos with Ima's smartphone. Currently, her enthusiasm exceeds her skill; I was sitting next to them, and she got several shots of my arm, my decolletage, and my nose.

"I take pictures!" she announced, then started hunting through the phone's gallery. "That's me!" she said, pointing at a picture of herself. "Me winging!" (swinging)

"Do you like to swing?" I asked.

"Yes," she said, reluctantly surrendering the phone to her brother Shimmy. She frowned and rubbed at her eye. "Something hurt in my eye," she told me.

"Should I try to get it out?" I asked. My long nails made it difficult to draw her eyelid down and flush her eye with tears, so I thought I should try to rinse her eye with water. "Let's go find a bathroom, okay?" I suggested. She led me out of the sanctuary.

The ladies' room was downstairs, which Matuka negotiated backwards, painstakingly. We went into the bathroom and up to the sink, where I shook some water into her eye.

"Better?" I asked. She blinked, considered, shook her head solemnly and said, "Bettoh." We negotiated the stairs up almost as slowly and found Bina at the top. I guess I forgot to mention I was going to get something out of her daughter's eye. Fortunately, she wasn't mad.

"I wash my eye!" proclaimed Matuka. We went back into the sanctuary and Matuka sat leaning against me, one hand on my leg, one eye on the smartphone she hoped Shimmy would surrender.

It's amazing to see Bina wrangling three children, who always seem to be vectoring off in opposing directions. While she chased Shimmy, I tried to keep Matuka from grabbing a knob on the railing.

"It's dirty," I warned. "Don't touch. Lots of germs."

Crestfallen, she stepped back. "Don't worry, we'll wash your hands," I said, and turned back to look for Bina. When I turned again, Matuka was about to negotiate the stairs again -- by herself.

"Where is she going?" asked Bina, behind me.

"To the bathroom," I said, rushing to the stairs just ahead of about five dozen hungry Jews. "I promised to wash her hands," I continued, lifting Matuka up and out of the foot traffic.

We got the kids downstairs to the luncheon, found them seats, and grabbed them some challah rolls from the buffet so they could start eating while we waited on line for the rest of the food. Takes a village to raise and herd children; Aunt Ayelet is always ready to lend a hand.

Leaving was a little painful; I wish I'd scheduled the massage for later. I don't spend enough time holding and taking care of babies and small children. Feeling the little curly head against my side and small warm hand on my leg was comforting. Of course, the pictures Matuka took of me were vastly unflattering, but those can be deleted.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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