I went on a trip this past weekend, as you all know, with my mother and my sister, to see Norah Jones in concert. It was a well-deserved (if I do say so myself) trip away from the kids and the noise and the mess and the drama. To New Orleans. The world capital of Noise, Mess and Drama. But it wasn’t MY noise, MY mess, and MY drama. I missed the little boogers, I’m not gonna lie. They were on my mind several times. Like, when I was sitting on the streetcar on Canal Street, and the grandmother was asking her grandson to count the stops until their own. The little boy looked to be about Little B’s age, and he was very cute. I thought about little A everytime I saw a cute pair of shoes in the outlet stores in the French Quarter. I thought about Tween C when I saw a summery-dress in the French Market that I knew she would love. I thought about Big E everytime he texted me and said, “What are you doing, and when are you coming home?” He let Little B call me Saturday night from his cell phone. Little B said, “What are you doing now, mom?” “Going to a concert, B.” “What is that?” “It’s a…I’m going to see a Rock Band play music.” I knew he’d know what that was, because only a week or so ago, Little A asked my husband at the dinner table if he liked “rock and roll.” “Yeah, A, I like rock and roll.” Little A: “Me too. B, do you like rock and roll?” Little B: “Um. What is that?” Little A: “Um, I don’t know.” So, and explanation of rock music ensued. So, Ben kind of understood where I was going. “You can tell me all about it when you get home, okay?”
I had a wonderful time in New Orleans with Zohrmom and Zohrsis. They were hilarious. We argued the entire time, because, that’s what we do. We are expert arguers. And each of us is always right. So, how does that translate into a good time? We love to argue, so having someone to actually do it with makes us happy. My sister is not as obtuse as my mother and I. She’s not so concerned about winning that she jumps into arguments right away. She cools her heels and takes the obvious ones that have little risk of being wrong. My mother and I are too flighty to simply wait for a “right” to fall into our laps. We go for them. So, she quietly listens to our stated arguments and, when there’s a question, generally names the winner.
I drove in the City. My mother was the obvious choice for this, because she’s done it plenty of times, and she’s the owner of the car and the TomTom. However, she jerked over into the other lane and stomped her brakes so many times between home and the three-hour trip to my sister’s house, that I thought that I had whiplash and I knew I had several anxiety attacks. So, the control freek that I am, I volunteered to drive (after verbally pointing out the above to her.)
We argued several times on the way to the hotel. “You could have stayed in that lane, it goes straight too.” “No I couldn’t, it was a turning lane ONLY, mama.” “No, it had a turn arrow AND a straight arrow.” “No, it didn’t!” “Yes it did, if you open your door right now and look out, you will see it.” “I will not open my door. I know what it is.” At that point, the light turned green, and the car next to me in the lane I had just escaped went straight. My mother was still telling me that she was right, and hardly noticed the proof that she was when the car went straight. “Shit, that car just went straight,” I admitted. We laughed. One for mama.
I also navigated the walking in New Orleans. Again, I’m a control freek. My sister and mother just followed dutifully for the most part. I dictated where we walked, how we walked, and where we crossed the street. I made them walk to the end of an entire block before crossing the street (at a pedestrian signal) before backtracking to get to a street car stop. “We could have crossed over back there,” mama said while we waited on the streetcar. “No, you have to cross at a signal.” “No, there’s a crosswalk over there, we could have crossed. So, why did we have to walk all the way down there to cross and then walk back?” “I don’t know, okay?!” We laughed again. Mama now had two.
When the concert was over, we got in the car to go back to our hotel. We talked about how great Norah was. We talked about how our husbands would have loved the concert, had they been allowed to join us. We laughed and sang along as the CD played. We got ready to pull out, and my sister, in the back seat, pointed out that the seatbelt light was on. “Someone doesn’t have their seatbelt on.” My mother quickly blamed me, tucked her hands under her hips and raised up her chin. “Uh, no, mama, it’s you.” “OH!” She was confused, you see, because she had on a cross-the-body purse and the strap was wide like a seatbelt, albeit going in the wrong direction and not grounded to the car by any means. One for me. Finally. And I had to point out to her that she picked the stupiest argument of all to lose, of course, so that’s really like two for me. We laughed at our stupidity all the way back to the hotel.
The trip was a huge success. We all had a great time.
When I got home, as soon as I walked in the door, Little B said, “Mom! Tell me all about your concert. What kind of instruments did you see?” I started telling him, but then Little A squealed because she was trying to climb up my body and couldn’t get past my hips. Little B screamed and covered his ears, because Little A was being too loud, and he got frustrated because he couldn’t hear me telling him about the concert. So, they started hitting one another, and I had to peel them off of me and each other and go to my bedroom to start unpacking. They, of course, followed me in there. They were closely followed by the older two, who began looking through my bags for whatever they imagined I had bought for them in N.O. Little B said, “Mom, did you see the lamp?” “Huh? What lamp? What are you talking about, B?” “Uh…nothing. Nevermind.”
Big E began to smile. It seems that Saturday, he began telling me, Little A came running to tell E to come see, that B was going to be in Big Trouble. Nothing is more exciting than a sibling being in Big Trouble. E went, to find that the Tiffany floor lamp was lying on its side on the slate tile floor in the Den. Busted. There was a piece of stained glass obviously missing. He asked Little A where Little B was, and she replied that he was in his room, crying. E went to see, and there he was, rolling around on his stomach on his bed, sobbing uncontrollably. “B, what’s wrong?” he asked. “GO LOOK AT THE LAMP!” “I did. Why are you in here crying?” “I came in here to hide, Bubba.” “B, where’s the piece of glass that’s missing?” Little B picked up his pillow, and pulled it out. “I hid it here, under my pillow” he sobbed “so that no one would know that I broke it. Bah-wah-wah!” Ethan ended up consoling him because he was so “broke” up over the whole thing. I don’t know what we were thinking. A tiffany floor lamp has no place in my chaotic zoo of a house. Anyway, when you turn it around, and put the broken part in the corner, you can barely tell that it’s destroyed. And, it still turns on.
What was the financial and emotional cost of this trip with my mom and sister? One tiffany floor lamp. I would have paid 10 of them, though. I’d do it again tomorrow. No, really. I want to do it again tomorrow.