Friday, May 18, 2018

Meanwhile Back in the Fort

Is 11:00 too late for a glass of wine? is a question I asked myself when I got home from work last night at 10:58 p.m. having worked all day, gone to sub a barre class at 7 p.m., and then gone back to work for another few hours to finish a memo that's been refusing to write itself for days. On the upside, the memo is done! And when I read it today it was as solid as I thought it was when I finished it last night! On the downside, it's been a CRAZY week and that made Thursday the second day I didn't see my children at any point all day and Claire has objections to that. (And yes, I decided 11:00 was too late for a glass of wine and went for herbal tea instead.)

A government office at 10 p.m. is a lonely and creepy place.

Do you know how many zombies could be hiding in those corners? SO MANY ZOMBIES. My office was cozy, but still somehow sadder once the sun went down. Or maybe it was because the day's Starbucks cups were piled in the trashcan alongside the Pad Thai takeout box I'd eaten out of for lunch.

On an exciting office note, I got a new frame for Mother's Day! And unlike the piece of art Cora made me, I got to bring this one to my office! It's all my babies wearing their regalia from the job I was doing when I had them.

I love it. My Chicago law school baby, my Austin V&E baby, and my Fort Worth SEC baby. Apparently all I needed to do to get that much wanted 4th baby was move cities and take a different job!

It's hard to believe I've been a working mom for nearly 11 years. Cora's about to embark on her last year of preschool, so next fall we will be done paying for full-time childcare, 11 years, 3 kids, and one million dollars later. I won't miss writing the check each month, but we have been truly blessed to have so many extra people in our life to love on our kids. They don't have much extended family, and our childcare has truly become a part of that circle.

Speaking of school- Cora got her school pictures! I totally forgot about them, so she's wearing a much beloved dress that used to be Claire's much beloved dress that is faded and torn and her hair is exuberant and glorious. It's all very Cora.

After at least a year of not being allowed to touch her hair, Cora randomly requested a pony tail last week. "A pony please," she asked politely. "In the middle, in the BACK." No childish top of the head pigtails for her anymore (sob), just a "real pony please." Unfortunately, her hair makes that a liiiiitle challenging. Much pulling and twisting later, a tiny hipster man-bun emerged.

She was THRILLED. James said she bounced into her daycare class and demanded each individual friend admire her ponytail and she was still talking about it when I picked her up.

"Someday when I am sebben, my hair will be BIG mommy. I will have big hair with big ponies."

Given it's growth rate so far, I'm not sure seven is quite far out enough, she's already 4.5.

The other night at dinner- a dinner I was home for, so it must have been Wednesday- I asked Claire what she wanted for her birthday in two weeks. Cora, who was listening intently and has been trying to join in the conversations at dinner rather than just randomly adding a few enthusiastic words on a new topic before turning back to her food, nodded along and inquired, "do you think on my birthday I will be six?" "No honey, you'll be five." "But MAYBE I will be six?" "No, definitely 5." "Awwwwwww."

Poor girl, just wants to be bigger in all ways but we are VERY happy to keep her growing up as slowly as possible, just like her hair.

(Also at that dinner we were talking about getting tickets to see The Incredibles 2 when it comes out (yay!!!) and Cora, again trying to be part of the conversation, asked very politely, "Landon and Cwaire, did you like the Wonder Woman Movie?" "Um, yes, sure." "Do you think we should maybe watch that again?" "Okay, sure." [insert satisfied nod by Cora before turning back to her food]. Family dinnertime convos are my favorite.)

Not really related, but it does involve food - I've decided to become a person who makes jam.

I am a jam maker. I googled many recipes, bought a wide mouth funnel, and selected a recipe for my inaugural run for my mom's Mother's Day brunch in Kingwood and it was AMAZING. So amazing. I don't really even like jam and I have no idea why I decided I needed to become a jam person, but omg the smells and the taste of that Strawberry, Lemon, Basil jam were so amazing I'm making jam as gifts for everyone forever.

I have produced actual human children with less pride than those little jam bottles. They're already empty so I need to get jammin' again.

This post is so scattered, we'll just go back to last week real quick when I moved heaven and earth to get the kids to swim so I could teach my TCU barre class (did I mention all my nannies graduated? Because all my nannies graduated and it's ruining my life), including getting to work at 7:00 a.m. so I could leave early to make it happen, and then I got to my studio, found it empty, and realized they forgot to put me on the fitness schedule so no one knew to come. I flirted with the idea of working out alone, but decided to take some iPhone pictures of yoga moves and go shopping instead. I almost even worked up a tiny sweat.

During the shopping, not the yoga. I did find Cora sparkly unicorn sheets for their new big girl room I'm working on. Yes, we're finally letting a giant 4.5 year old Cora out of her toddler bed and getting them bunk beds. The bunk bed I found is a twin over full with trundle, staircase, and built-in-dresser. The 65 boxes of pieces arrived yesterday and James is SO EXCITED to put them together this weekend.

Poor James, it's not exactly the reward he deserves for doing the lion's share of the parenting work this week. On Tuesday I was out gallivanting in college bars until 1 a.m. (more on that later), on Wednesday night he cleaned up Cora's puke all over her bed, wall, and person at 2 a.m. because I was finally so worn out from not being able to sleep for the last 2 weeks that I was unresponsive (and he didn't really even try because he was happy I was sleeping and he is a SIGNIFICANTLY nicer and more generous person than I), and on Thursday he brought the kids home from swim, fed them, watered them, and tucked them in bed while I was working all day/night. But tonight I was here, totally on top of things while sipping beverages poolside with a friend while our kids swam.

Speaking of Tuesday, it was mostly a total shit show until the beer pitchers started rolling in. I got to work at 7:00 a.m. because that's a thing I do now that I don't sleep. I wake up at 6:05 after going to sleep at midnight, try to go back to sleep, can't, get up and leave. Work was fine and I was supposed to leave at 4:00 because I'd put in my time and I had to pick up the kids to get them to swimming so James could take them home while I went to my final PTA Board meeting of the year, but I ended up having to take a call and then ran out at 4:15. Landon and Claire had gone home with a friend (no nannies!) and Cora was at school and I needed them all to be at the pool by 4:50 but still just barely had time for it to all work out perfectly. I'd worn my favorite pair of shoes- strappy heels that wound up my feet and tied in the back and had a 3.5" heel. This will be important later.

I'd parked at the bottom of the garage in the morning since I was one of the first people there. Then I'd gone to a farewell lunch for a beloved colleague who's leaving us for the private sector and then I'd parked SOMEWHERE ELSE after that. I'd had 3 passengers in my car and we must have been having a very engaging conversation because I got to the parking garage elevator and had NO IDEA where I'd parked. I thought maybe between 3 and 4, on the up ramp? I called a friend who had been in the car with me, "I don't know... I think maybe you're between 3 and 4 on the up ramp?" she guessed. So I walked over there. My garage is full of giant trucks because GM Financing is in my building and they all get company cars, so you can't just look down a row, you have to walk it. So I did. Then the one above and below it. Then I went the other direction, up and down. Then I started on 2 and walked up to 6. Then I walked down from 6. Increasingly sweaty, increasingly frantic at how late I was, increasingly about to cry. I was texting my friend updates, "so sorry, trying to find my car, tell the kids to be ready to leave when I pull up!" while she did everything she could to make my life better, "how about I take them to your house now so they can change and be ready to go?"

Finally, at 4:45, after 30 minutes of walking parking garage ramps on a 92 degree afternoon a coworker- the same one who I'd asked where I parked- exited the elevator, saw me about to collapse into a puddle of tears and offered to drive me around until we found my car. My swollen feet were so thankful I almost cried again anyway. So we drove up to 6 and down from 6. Finally we admitted that maybe we parked far higher than we ever imagined and went up to the roof. And then, on our way down, between 8 and 7 we found my fucking car.

Sometime around 4:40 my incredibly kind friend had offered to just take the kids to swimming. It's a solid 15 minutes away, but I was so hot and sweaty and late, I sent her the address with a grateful heart and promises of future bottles of wine. I am so blessed in my village.

Once in my car I realized it was now nearly 5:00 and I still had to figure out what to do with Cora. I couldn't make it to the pool and I was too kerfluffled to even try, so I just picked her up, packed her kindle, and took her to the Board meeting. Normally that's no problem, but it was our last one and at a restaurant so I was hoping to be kid-free. I sat her in a chair, literally in a corner, and she happily watched The Greatest Showman until James picked her up 30 minutes later with the other kids. The restaurant was BYOB and I was well into the bottle I'd packed in my purse and feeling much better about my swollen feet and life generally.

The restaurant kicked us out at 10 because they were closing and quite reasonably wanted to go home. As we were walking out my friend Sarah who went to TCU for college declared, "You know what I want to do? I want to go to THE PUB." The University Pub, an establishment I'd walked by a million times on my way to our favorite pizza or burger place, but never actually entered. The definition of a hole in the wall, the only place she said remained on that strip from her college days.

I'm game, I said.

Other friends agreed. And we were off! A whole half-mile later we reassembled and discovered the pitchers of beer were only$8! We got really excited and bought them all. My favorite part of this picture is Sarah taking a picture while I take a picture. We were all just so proud and delighted to be out so late on a school night.

At some point I had what is possibly my favorite text exchange with James ever.

I had the most fun. I love my crew.

Landon saw this picture the next day and said, "Huh. You look fun mom."

I got home around 1 a.m., walked into my kitchen, saw the sparkling clean and clear counter tops and was so overwhelmed with love for my husband I took a picture. It might have also been the pint of beer, but seriously, clear counter tops are my love language. They aren't James's, but he speaks mine to me, even when I abandon him to go drinking with my mom friends.

And then, at 1:03 a.m., I finally took off my shoes. It felt almost as good as looking at my kitchen.

Then I couldn't sleep because I'm old now and more than 2 drinks means I can't sleep at night when it used to mean I slept GREAT, so I got up at 5:55 a.m. and headed to work, sitting down at my desk just before 7. I got a text from James at 7:15 asking if I ever came home last night, which made me laugh, particularly since I had a whole conversation with him at 1 a.m. and he tucked me in like a little spoon for at least an hour after I got in bed. I skipped yoga at lunch because my bones hurt on the inside, now making it 8 days since my last workout. That evening was really nice, despite my increasing exhaustion. I made a yummy dinner and hung out with the kids. We did puzzles, we read, there was swimming, and very little yelling. It was lovely.

Later I got live footage of Cora putting away her puzzles.

Really getting after it.

Last night was all the work but I did teach the barre class, huffing and puffing under the music I turned up nice and loud to cover my struggles, and I stayed up too late chatting with James once I finally got home from my second round at the office. I caught some yoga today and hopefully I can get back on track; I miss yoga when it's not around. Sleep too. And chatting with James. Here's to more of all of that in the week ahead!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Reopened Houses and Happy Hearts

So just in case the month of May wasn't insane enough with both our nannies graduating and going back home across the country 3 weeks before our school gets out, James's busiest session ever and an 80% switch out in his work face as an unusually large group of his instructors graduates at the same time, the kids having a different school activity seemingly every day, me subbing extra barre classes and starting a whole new class on Sundays, and and just life generally with 3 kids and 2 working parents - we decided to be out of town for the first two weekends. James has worked until midnight every weekday night this month and is going to kill me if I even suggest leaving our zip code again. Which is a very long way of saying we went to Houston this past weekend and it was GREAT.

From the very first day in their house after Hurricane Harvey when a group of my brother's friends came over and got down to the sweaty, dirty, awful work of tearing apart my parents' home, they said they'd have a party when it was all put back together again. They wanted to thank everyone for all their help when they were back in a position to do so, and they wanted everyone to see their beautiful home the way it was supposed to be, instead of covered in sludge and slime and drywall dust. And ten months later, they got to have it!

No safety masks allowed!

And our whole clan was there to party with them!

My mom called it a "Re-Opened House with Grateful Hearts" party and there were house and heart cookies, our favorite local Mexican food buffet (from a restaurant that had also flooded and rebuilt), all the beverages, and about forty people.

Our pastor who stopped by for a blessing.

Friends who all got tours.

My crew of incredibly hard working teachers who I had basically ordered around while they packed up my parents' entire downstairs on Day 3. They were amazing and it was so nice to get to meet them under very different circumstances.

The Good Samaritans, our new best friends Pam and Andy who had picked up my wet and bedraggled parents, and their three giant dogs!, off the sidewalk after they were dropped at the water line by the Coast Guard. They were strangers with an open house and open hearts and we have adopted them as our own.

The kids played in a yard that is no longer covered in dead fish and other people's fences and jet skis.

It was a really nice day. I didn't realize it until I was telling a coworker about it today, but part of what felt so good was seeing my parents be proud hosts again. To see them loving their house and to have it filled with their people. It was really nice to see.

It was also great to get to hang out with my sister and her little family, including my sweet niece Sky. The kids were particularly thrilled. They got to introduce Sky to their secret hideout in my parents' coat closet (shhh, I don't know that).

As guests trickled out we got to hang out as a family for a while. I tried to commemorate it with a picture of my mom and her girls, but first we had to yell at my dad for his terrible picture-taking angles.

That picture cracked me up. It literally happens every time, but we eventually got him straightened out. Literally.

As the night wore on there was swimming, kids in bed, a reopening of all the Mexican food leftovers, much Prosecco, bean bag games (James and I dominated), music, more music, and possibly some dancing? I went to bed about midnight, but the Rice family party continued.

On Sunday morning I woke up early to make breakfast for my mom. My siblings and I had planned a menu and split the ingredients. My sister had prepped her Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Bake the night before and then I added my Amish Potato Egg Casserole, Homemade Drop Biscuits, Homemade Whipped Cream, lots of fresh berries, and - my pièce de résistance - HOMEMADE JAM.

Oh yes, that's right. I am a maker of jams. A jam maker. I decided a few weeks I wanted to be a jamming person and I finally executed on Friday and I have never been more proud of anything. I literally shoved spoonfuls of my jam into all my family members' faces as soon as they got home. I went with Strawberry Basil Lemon and it was SO GOOD. I don't even like jam. I don't know where this urge came from, but I can't argue with results, and they went really well with my biscuits and whipped cream. We didn't get any pictures from the actual brunch, so here's more of my jam:

My mom was thrilled by the brunch, everything turned out delicious, and my sister introduced me to the world of grapefruit juice mimosas and now I can't ever go back, particularly not when the grapefruit juice is fresh squeezed in the kitchen before me. Post-brunch there was some swimming and packing and then, in wardrobe change #5(?) for the trip, we got ready to head to little Skyla's baptism!

Back at our church - where we were married and Landon and Cora were baptized, Sky was too. It was a simple service with all her grandparents and family present. I got a picture of all the mamas and babies and then we rushed off to change and drive home!

Because it was a Sunday in May and we needed food and clean clothes and also probably a glass of wine once we got home.

And OH DID WE. Because one mile from home, after a perfect car ride, Cora asked to "take off my feet" and we said no and she cried for the next 45 minutes.

Also our 1940's doorknob broke and James had to kick in our own door so we could get off our 100 degree driveway with all our luggage and the screaming toddler.


It did improve from there. The kids swam and I sat and drank wine in the shade and watched them. James went to the store and got the week's groceries and then made me a delicious dinner of Greek Chicken Pasta Salad.

He surprised me with an Apple Watch after I'd mentioned it would be nice to have one for my barre teaching and the kids made me super sweet cards.

Cora painted me a picture at school and when I told her I'd bring it to my office she replied that maybe it should just go in her room.

James went back out to the store to buy me a cookie cake when I wished I had a cookie because he is the sweetest. I ate half of it sitting on the couch watching I, Tonya while he worked next to me. It was a nice evening.

Earlier in the day I got a picture with my babies three while we were all looking so nice. At 10, 7, and 4 I feel like our lives hover in a state of barely controlled chaos, but damn do I love it.

(Most of it. Like a solid 90%, yearly average.)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

CHICAGO: Days 3 and 4: Law School and Beyond

Life is full swing back in the Fort, as it always is, particularly when you get home from a vacation at 9 p.m. on a Sunday night in the insanity that is the month of May for families with school-age children. But before we get back to reality, let's linger in Chicago just a little while longer. I can't believe a week ago today we'd spent our first evening there. It really was such a wonderful few days. Too wonderful really. I can't stop looking at condos and texting links of them to James.

When we left off it was Friday night and I was going to bed with a smile on my face and lots of amazing food (topped off by just a little more Garrett's popcorn) in my belly. Saturday was to be UChicago day - the reunion, the whole reason we booked this trip and had the kids miss school and James leave the swim school right at his most busiest month.

We were supposed to start with brunch at another favorite spot but I woke up unable to even contemplate more food, so we made do with tea (me) and cinnamon bread and cereal bars (everyone else) thanks to the nearby Trader Joe's. Honestly I think the kids were relieved. We usually only eat out 3-4 times a month and even on vacation I generally do a lot of cooking, so we were all drowning a bit in the deliciousness.

We decided to head to campus early and grab our first meal there. Back when we lived in Chicago I drove to school every day. The University Chicago is in/near South Side and the closest L station was 3 blocks south of campus which was a decidedly not great area. With the Obama Presidential Library and Community Center being built, a plan by the city to update that South Side L stop, and the general southward spread of campus and its students and professors, the internet told me the Green Line Cottage Grove stop was perfectly fine to take. And since we had our L pass and I adore public transportation, off we went! To the end of the line!

We got off and walked our 4 blocks up to campus. First stop was the bookstore where I bought a t-shirt I'll probably never wear because I never wear t-shirts but there's just something about being in a bookstore that makes you think you need one. I also got a Christmas tree ornament because I realized last year I didn't have one related to my time at UC.

The kids immediately noticed the beautiful Gothic architecture and ivy covering the buildings. "It's like a bunch of castles!" Claire told me. The flowers, as always, were gorgeous. I loved this campus. Rockefeller did a good job with it.

It was 10:45 and we were finally hungry for solid food again so we headed over to my favorite dining hall. Bartlett is housed in the old gymnasium and the track still exists around the edges of the ceiling. The kids were DELIGHTED by college dining. All you can eat? And you get to hold a PLASTIC TRAY?! What could be better?

Frankly, not much. Especially when it costs $40 to feed your family of five and you have the whole buffet to yourselves because none of the undergrads are awake yet.

Post lunch we moseyed over across the Midway (site of the 1893 World's Fair!) to the law school. It's not the prettiest building on campus, but it's not the ugliest either. Other than the fact it doesn't match the rest of campus, I actually quite like it.

And here I finally got to see some old friends. Reunion banners hung from the ceiling, kids ran about, and a face painter was in residence! Like Take Your Kids To Work Day before it, Reunion Day did not give an accurate look at the law school. The kids think it all looks super fun and wouldn't be able to imagine I spent weeks during 1L year very seriously imagining driving my car into the lake. I mean, I was going to jump out like an action star before it hit the water, I just thought I might get to delay my finals a day or two due to the drama of it all. (But who am I kidding? This is Chicago, I totally would have had to take them on time.) Cheerful thoughts!

Even James got in on the face-painting fun for a bit of advertising. Sort of like what was now stretched across Landon's face. Nothing says entrepreneur like getting free advertising space on your son's forehead.

I wandered around the school a bit, pausing in this hallway (our main one; it's a small school, all four of our big classrooms were here and all my 1L classes were held right here. All my finals were here. All my pre-pregnancy research and obsessive fertility charting was done in those rooms when I should have been listening to corporations and Landon walked with much assistance down this hall my 3L year). So many memories! It didn't seem nearly so intimidating on Saturday. It even made me smile. I have a lot of feelings about this place. It systematically broke down my brain, made me cry, and then built me a better one. I had the most amazing professors and most supportive classmates. I'm proud to have gone. I'm glad to be done.

The kids loved the library and couldn't believe how much I'd sat at those tables to study. (And blog. And read other blogs. But let's pretend it was all studying.)

The water feature required a lot of playing and we got a nice family picture in front of it. James and I had been married for our two weeks when I first showed up at this school. Thirteen years later, perhaps the biggest surprise is that we now live in Fort Worth, Texas. I did not see that coming.

We took the L back around 3, Cora declining to walk really any part of the way. She spent most of Chicago getting piggy back rides from her siblings, with the occasional assist for James or me. Third babies, they know how to work the system. They are also very comfortable sleeping wherever required. Cora took cat naps on the red, orange, and green lines on our trip.

We got back to the condo around 3 and Cora requested a nap, James got to work, Claire chilled with her kindle, and I bribed Landon with the promise of his own bag of whatever popcorn he wanted if he'd walk the 1.6 miles round-trip to our nearest Garrett's so I could get more Chicago Mix. We sported our new UChicago gear and it was super fun to walk through the city with my Chicago baby.

After we all recharged in our own ways (MOAR POPCORN), we headed back out to the city to do some walking and find dinner. We ended up at The Marq which was delicious and not too far away. Though really, anything was too far for Cora.

Poor Cora. Is it really too much to ask to be carried everywhere in a gold-plated and plush sedan chair?

After dinner we made our way over to Millennium Park again. The night was spectacular. Perfect weather, perfect skies... we just wandered slowly about, soaking it all in. People were everywhere and the city was at its Spring best. After a while we headed south, determined to have the kids in bed by 9 (they usually go to bed at 8; life is just better when they get their sleep). Cora was carried by all members of the family and we all paid lip service to the idea that tomorrow we'd make her walk. (No, no we didn't.)

We put Landon to sleep in our room (he had been sleeping on the pull-out couch) so James and I could actually spend some time awake in the main area of the condo after-hours. We hung out, sat on the balcony together, did some work (my version of work being the uploading of our pictures)... it was a very nice last evening. We went to bed about 11 and transferred Landon to his couch bed. He walked himself (I sort of forgot he weighs 88 lbs. when I came up with the "we'll just switch him" plan), but woke up the next morning expressing GREAT shock at having changed beds.

On Sunday we made good on our tasty brunch from the day before and I was ready. Bongo Room was a beloved favorite when we lived in Chicago and we were delighted to find it was still there, right where we left it! And our new condo was only 3 blocks away! The white chocolate and caramel pretzel pancakes were still on the menu and they were still delicious.

I was determined to make it to North Michigan Avenue, so we took the L up to the Chicago stop and walked around from there. We stopped at Water Tower Place, the old water station, and the usual NoMi haunts. Cora was delighted by "her new castle!" and insisted of a picture of her upon it.

We walked to the Oak Street Beach and I fell in love with the city all over again. Building a sand castle in the shadows of the John Hancock Building. I love this place.

It was a perfect chilly morning - back in the 60's - so luckily I didn't have to convince anyone to stay out of the water.

I love a city on a lake.

We stopped at the North Michigan Ave. Lululemon (my kind of sightseeing), waved to the hospital where Landon was born (Northwestern!), and then took the L back. I think I'd pushed the kids about as far as I could on the whole walking thing. Just to check I asked if anyone wanted to walk back with me (about 2.5 miles) and they all looked to James like, for real? Can we be honest? Will this hurt her feelings? DO SOMETHING AND STOP THIS. So the L it was.

We stopped at Stan's Donuts in the floor of our Roosevelt L stop because we'd passed by it 6 times and I'd never let anyone get anything and it's named for my dad, so we felt duty bound to support his franchise. They were incredibly delicious and I was glad I hadn't known that the other 3 days.

We walked over the Roosevelt Bridge a second-to-last time and then James took the kids to swim in the condo pool while I packed up and did laundry.

(Our building! The one that's not the Sear's Tower!)

All packed up, we headed back to the L one more time, now with our suitcases back in tow. Cora had insisted on changing back into her Wonder Woman dress for our second round of air travel. "Wonder Woman FLIES mom," she told me very seriously.

She slept the whole way to the airport on the Orange Line. She really loves a good nap and her life so far has taught her to catch them wherever she can. Especially if a Mama is holding you.

The flight home was good - we all ate some of the granola bars I'd packed in Texas, but no one wanted lunch or dinner. When I added up our charges on the trip I found we'd spent $300 less on activities than I expected because the weather was so beautiful we stayed outside and didn't do any of the museums I thought we would, but we spent $300 MORE on food. That sounds about right and I have no regrets.

We got to the house about 9 p.m. Everyone had some cereal, we put everything away, and the kids went to bed. It was a magnificent trip. I had waited years and years to take the kids to my favorite city, talking myself into and out of trips on a yearly basis. Just wait until 10 years, I'd tell myself. Everyone will be a good age to go and it will be worth the wait.

And it was.

And seeing the city through the kids' eyes was so fun. Maggie Daley Park was by FAR their favorite thing. We spent hours and hours there on Thursday and Friday. They loved the Sky Deck and the River Cruise. They loved riding the L. They loved that we let them have things like "Oreo S'mores Pancakes" and called it breakfast. They loved campus and it was so very special to me to bring them there. Far more so than I expected. The know UT of course. We lived in Austin and have been back a time or two to visit. But The University of Chicago feels collegiate in a very different way and they never had a mental picture for mom's other degree and that time in their parents' lives.

When we were in the elevator going up to our condo after the reunion, Landon was wearing his new University of Chicago Law School shirt (which he also wore the next day after asking me to wash it) and an older man in the elevator looked at him and said, "wow, UChicago Law, that's very impressive" while gazing over at James. "My MOM went there, Landon exclaimed, "and I went there when I was a BABY."

"Wow, Good job mom!" the man replied heartily. And Landon nodded knowingly like, yeah! I know, right?! I had no idea.

It's silly, but it was a moment for me. Landon isn't quite old enough to not think we're smart, but I'm not sure he'd ever particularly thought of us as affirmatively so either. We're just the parents. We handle things and that's what we're supposed to do. But on Saturday, he very clearly, very suddenly and surprisingly, in that morning found me to be impressive, on my own, for something I'd done. So it was a moment.

He's my law school baby. Here we are in 2008 and 2018.

In 2028 he's promised to be the one to pick up me.