How quickly time flies...on one hand it's difficult to believe it's been seven weeks already; on the other hand life has been moving so quickly that it seems like an eternity. We ran into Bethenny and LuAnn at the Habitat for Humanity event a few days after the dinner party at Jill's. We had a chance to laugh about it - again, there was so much more than met the eye going on before, during and after that dinner. We were pretty amused to see that I was captured on tape in this episode saying almost exactly what I said in last week's blog! That evening we helped raise money for a very good cause. Simon and I got a little wild at the silent auction and had a great (and rather late) night!
This time period was also one of sadness for us. Just prior to Simon leaving Australia 22 years ago, his mother met and married the writer Eric Rolls. While Eric didn't raise Simon, they have had a very good (albeit long distance) relationship since that time, with great conversation about everything imaginable every time they (and we) were together. Eric died of pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed at stage 4 only a few weeks before his death. He wrote up until the end, racing the breakdown of his body to get as much of his last book as possible out of his head and into his manuscript, as well as an outline for another to be written by Simon's mum.Trying to strike a balance between work, wanting to be with his mother and the sheer amount of time it takes to get from the U.S. to Australia, once the funeral arrangements were in place Simon flew to out to be with her and serve as a pallbearer along with his brothers and Eric's sons and son-in-law.
It's no secret that Simon and I spend a lot of our spare time together, and that's the way we like it. We're completely apart during the work week and are both so busy during the day that we hardly speak. In our down time, we like to spend time with each other, our boys and our friends. One can never time emergency trips like these, and Simon's trip to Australia coincided with what we in the retail world call "holiday". Yikes. For those outside the retail sector, it's a period where everything we normally do for stores is multiplied exponentially because of the upcoming holiday season - everything moves faster and there's much more to be done. 200 page projects become 800, three week deadlines become one week, loads of last minute changes, etc.
I had to laugh at Ramona's suggestion that I wasn't "allowed" out while Simon was away. First of all, the word "allow" simply isn't used in our house. Simon respects me as I do him, and neither of us would ever dream of ordering the other person around. That's more of a dictatorship than a relationship, and not something either of us would ever put up with in a mate. Second, as a temporarily single parent during the busiest workload of the year, all I wanted to do was drag myself home, put the kids to bed and fall asleep in front of re-runs of Bill Maher with a glass of wine. In crunch time the kids come first.
Also in this episode, François had an evaluation - sort of a "state of the child" report to check out his strengths and weaknesses. Some we receive results on; others we do not. Reports we do receive help us determine whether there's anything else we should be doing at home in order to support his awakening to the world. It's important not to coach a child for meetings like these - you explain to the child that he/she will be going to an office to meet a grownup who wants to find out what kids know, that they will do special work together, etc. I did my best to make sure F was in a good mood, well rested, well fed and not high on sweets. Actually, I was surprised the doctor had candy in his office, but a sweet or two after the meeting wasn't going to kill him. Reports overall on F's evaluations have been excellent. We have been told that he is a sophisticated communicator and excels in verbal abstract reasoning as well as visual spatial reasoning. In English? He's one smart cookie. But we knew that already. Tee hee. The day after Simon came back from Australia, we gathered together with all the families. Jill and Bobby hosted a holiday dinner at 21, a great N.Y.C. restaurant. The food is excellent, and many years before he lived in New York Simon used to use 21 for company entertaining when in town. A souvenir from those days is an old autographed copy of the 21 cookbook, and it's the only cookbook I use without altering the recipes. We were apprehensive about bringing François and Johan as we felt they'd be up too late, but in the end agreed to bring them since all the other kids were coming and Simon had just returned the day before - also Jill hadn't met the boys yet at that point.
As it turned out, the dinner ran two hours behind due to late arrivals, and toward the end F got out of line. His kangaroo had several bites of Jason's burger and he also pretended he was a Tasmanian Devil, which involved hiding under the table, growling at Ramona and bouncing off Victoria (who was a very good sport). By then it was 10 p.m., and anyone with young children knows in that situation there's going to be a scene no matter how you decide to react - when the kids are that far gone no one wins. I gave him a time out (and FYI timeouts with cameras don't work) and then we left. No less than half a block away from 21, three men were snoring -- two in the back and one jet-lagged Simon in the front.
What else can I say? This has been interesting to say the least. I look forward, along with the rest of our viewers, to seeing the reunion episode. Until then...