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The Revolving Door That Is My Life

Just returned to Chicago again. This time, I was back East with the Pony Family. I got to kick things off by going to a wedding reception for my very oldest childhood friend. There were three of us, each born a month apart. I'm the oldest, and there was a boy in between, born in October, and then there was this boy, born in November. We were the Three Musketeers of the grade-school set; all for one, and one for all. I think we were closest when we were under six; because of grade-year age cutoffs, I went to school a year before they did. But because our mothers were all best friends, we didn't drift apart like two boys and a girl in that situation might do.

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.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
Sounds lovely! I am very jealous that you have a whole gang you grew up with. I moved around so much, I didn't get to experience that. Plus, my parents have always been fringe kind of people, in a way.

I did get back in touch with a childhood friend a year or so ago and that has been lovely, but we have a big gap in our shared history.

So, anyhow, yay for flights going smoothly and yay for being home for a while now. Sounds like your summer was busier than mine!
Sep. 3rd, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Dad Pony is certainly a fringe kind of person. But Mom Pony really liked having the Tea Ladies around, so I had a group that was not connected to school, which was important to me. To this day, I think of the Tea Kids more as cousins than as friends.
Aug. 31st, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
That's what holidays are for! get back in touch with the family and the old places, and watch people moving on and noticing how fast time flies... all mixed with good food, good weather, the proverbial rainfall (what would the small talk be about without that, I wonder?) Sounds wonderful. A good way of recharging batteries and going back to autumn.

Welcome back! And you still owe us pics of Ravenna! :-)

Sep. 3rd, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
Some things change, and some things don't. The Tea Kids all grow up, but Rockport remains Rockport. I love that.
Sep. 1st, 2010 11:14 am (UTC)
Oh, that sounds wonderful. There's nothing nicer than good friends together again. We were kind of lucky this year because it was the year of all the 30th birthdays so we all made that extra effort to get together for those but they've come to an end now and we're back to not seeing each other as often. Your gathering sounds so lovely that I think I need to arrange another catch-up with the girls!
Sep. 3rd, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, you do need another catch-up with the girls!
Sep. 1st, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough, I completely understand the Tea Kid thing. It's a different situation (bridge rather than tea), but the theme is the same for me. Whenever I'm around my mom's old bridge ladies, I revert to being somewhere around 10. It's an incredibly odd feeling.

Did you see my post about the guy I interviewed recently? If not, pop over to my page when you get a chance.
Sep. 3rd, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Isn't it nice to know that you've got Aunties in the world? Tea Aunties or Bridge Aunties, they're good to have at your back.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 12:39 pm (UTC)
That sounds like fun. It is great to reconnect and to be a kid again for a little bit. A good feeling to capture when you can.
Sep. 3rd, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
I can be a kid any time I want to be a kid! But it is kind of fun to be able to be 34 years old and refer to "the grownups," and have other 25 - 35-year-old friends nod sagely in agreement.
Sep. 3rd, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
The Tea Kids sounds like a great group. Speaking of birthdays, which you did at least indirectly, isn't yours tomorrow? (Or in about 6 minutes.)
Sep. 3rd, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
It's today, yes! Yaaaay! Been a pretty good one so far.
Sep. 4th, 2010 03:07 am (UTC)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )