When E turned five, she received a gift from one of her former teachers, which is sweet and unnecessary and exceedingly generous and also completely indicative of how E forms close attachments with adults. The gift was entirely too generous: a $20 gift card to Claire's, that delightful store in the mall where one can buy rainbow-colored clip-in hair extensions and resin-and-glitter jewelry. My own opinions aside, the former teacher knew her audience: E walked in and was under a consumerism spell.
I made the arbitrary decision that no five-year-old should be set free with that much buying power in a store where rainbow hair extensions are $0.99 and declared that both girls would be able to buy prizes with the gift card. I was pretty popular in that moment. E picked bracelets and hair thingies and a necklace of really realistic gummy bears and the girls got matching friendship necklaces. L only wanted one other thing. At the front of the store she had fallen in loooooove with a purple cap.
Well, she loves that saturated purple but I didn't know that she had been pining! and yearning! for a hat. Her friend LL from school wears hats. Mostly he wears a Georgetown University hat because his cousin plays on the basketball team there but sometimes he wears an Elmo cap, and we all remember the Cowboy Hat Obsession of 2010.
Girls get hats, too? she mused in wonder. I'm getting this hat! It was on her head before I could even see it.
I hated to think that hats are a gender issue. And a shopping spree to Claire's is frivolity defined; it didn't seem like a meaningful opportunity for inserting parameters, or, you know…standards.
(Yes, we bought those rainbow hair extensions, too.)
The lovely husband never really has a slow season in his work, but right now we're at High Season. We're cresting high tide of high season, as this weekend is the main event of his organization's annual calendar and they've been working like crazy.
All of the national and international staff will be in town, and all of the local staff will join them at the staff hotel for the weekend to be yet more local and available. The lovely husband departed us today for a business event about twenty miles away. We'll see him again late Tuesday (but then there's the Florida trip on Thursday, but that's another story altogether).
Except: we get a brief glimpse of him tonight. The managers put on a "family dinner" every Friday night of the weekend of this event, and all those local staff who have been ripped from their homes (like "ripped from the headlines," with nearly the same amount of emotional trauma but (one hopes) less blood) invite their families to dine with them and the rest of the staff downtown. It's private and catered and the wine is abundant. It's a three-fold good idea: the fams see their missing member; the busy staffer gets to remember for a few hours what his fam looks like; and the managers get to send the message: "Hey, we're good guys! And family friendly. Pass the gravy. Have a brownie!"
Then they kiss us on our cheeks, offer pleasantries about how nice it was to see us, and spin on their heels and cackle manically, "get back to work!"
(I love M's company. They're very good to us as a family and to him as an employee. They're also very, very driven.)
It's also a bragging moment for the employees to show off hot trophy spouses (such as myself) and sweet, perfectly-behaved children (we obviously have those!) to their coworkers.
I put on dangly earrings!
We're on our way into the dinner. E looks adorable. G looks preppy and debonair. L is wearing a lovely sundress with some leggings and a striped cardigan, and The Hat.