In fact, we remained pretty close with a larger circle and with the younger sibs because of Tea. Mom Pony and her four or five (it varied over the years) closest friends met every Friday afternoon for Tea, and all the women would bring their kids, so there was one enormous playgroup, which would inevitably split into the Older Sibs and the Younger Sibs. Little Sister Pony's best childhood friends are the Tea Kids. I'm the only girl in the Older Sibs generation of Tea Kids, so there was an awkward phase there, but I've always been able to get along well with boys as friends. I think it was Tea that made that possible. The Tea Ladies were all honorary aunties to each others' kids, and two of them threw me an old-fashioned kitchen shower when I moved to the Midwest. Most of them have moved out of town, but Mom Pony and the one Tea Lady who still lives there still have Tea faithfully every Friday, and every now and then, there's a big Tea Lady reunion.
This wedding reception was sort of the Ultimate Tea. The Tea Ladies were all there, along with the Tea Husbands, most of the Tea Kids, and (this was really fun) an assortment of Tea Kid spouses/significant others and two Tea Grandkids! It really felt like an extended family reunion; the Tea Kids are all around my age, much closer than any of my biological cousins, and I've known them since forever. Meeting The Bride felt just like meeting Cousin Halbarad's wife, for instance. And it was neat, all of us Tea Kids being in our late twenties to mid-thirties. We were grownups, yes, but in that group, we're still the Tea Kids. At one point in the conversation, I was chatting with another Tea Kid (who is now the assistant principal of a girls' middle school), and unironically referred to "the grownups," meaning our parents. Not only did he not laugh at me, he nodded sagely and agreed with me.
I'm immensely glad that I got to go to that party. Not just to see David happily married to Natalie -- though that's great, and she seems like a nice person -- but just to be back with the Tea Group again. There's nothing quite like being a kid and a grownup at the same time.
Following that, we went to Rockport, where we had a nice week, marred only by four days of torrential rain and the fact that Little Sister Pony couldn't get off work, so she could come to visit only on the weekends. But we made up for that by going into Boston to see her at her workplace on Wednesday. We had a grand time and embarrassed her mightily, as families are wont to do.
Now I'm back, and I'm planning to spend the month of September getting my course ready. (No dissertation interviews for a month -- the High Holidays plus Sukkot plus Simchat Torah are coming up, and that's the busiest time of year for cantors.)
I'm also the owner of a new used laptop computer. I wanted one for my birthday, so I could back up La Dissertation on it and have something to use in class, so Mom Pony gave me an old one that she no longer uses. I must think of a name for it. Decisions, decisions . . .
Finally, I will cop to having been extremely . . . alert when the plane landed, first in Hartford, then back in Chicago. Mom Pony smiled when I told her this, but she also thinks it was a good idea to take this trip so soon after Europe, just so I'd get right back on a plane again without any time to develop a phobia. She's probably right.