sea change

Last night we finished folding the laundry and bundled the kids up into the car and headed out of town. On the way we left the children at a friend’s; a couple hours later my mom would grab them up for a sleepover at her house. Ralph and I are off to Seattle to (first) phở followed by a three-band set at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard.

After we dropped the kids off I was quiet in the car for the first couple minutes of our trip because, truth be told, I didn’t want to drive to Seattle. I wanted to be in Seattle for a rock show – hell yes, with our kids would be nice, but with just Ralph is awesome too. But five hours of driving? Ugh. I’m just not really into mandatory periods of stationary activity (not even sleep, which I struggle with).

However what Ralph hadn’t really got across to me was that A. the band he was interested in was pretty excellent, and B. we’d be seeing friends from a decade back (two of which were in this band). In fact the “boys” I knew who more or less followed Ralph’s little math rock effort around have now become men – with beards and mustaches and seemingly feet gained in height – and two of them have stayed consistent in their hard work at TEH ROCK to become musicians of an incredible prowess and creativity. It was sheer joy to watch them and even more enjoyable to catch up, to talk and to share again. All four men resisted my proffered handshake and instead enveloped my husband and I in warm hugs.  Two of them recently married, they seemed happy to see us perhaps in part because ten years later we’re happily partnered, are raising kids and loving it, and Ralph still plays music.

I like going to shows with my husband, but it was an unexpected blessing to see these “boys” again (there are four in all) and to remember a time in my life fondly, that of Ralph’s little band groupie chemical-engineer girlfriend hanging out weekend after weekend at this-or-that pissant show. It was a Christian punk scene and I’ve never since encountered a group more open, alive, awake, earnest, energetic, humble, loving, and enthusiastic.

It’s a good thing.

On the drive home I think to myself that those times in our life we’re so passionate about, those things never really go away, even if we forget them for awhile…

This morning and afternoon the stellar sunshine took a turn. Being a one-car family? I totally love it. But the inconvenience factor makes itself known now and then, as today when the kids and I ran errands in a wind- and rainstorm – on our bikes. However it was actually delightfully warm and the wind, which was strong enough to knock out power here and there, threw Nels off his bike a time or too – to his utter wild happiness.  We took our time and made our way safely about town, hanging our coats up at home and cranking the heat.  The gift balaclava my girl Abi made me is long-stretched into ridiculousness; today I pulled a yarn bull of a rich red tweed out of my little cupboard and cast on seventy stitches for a warm hat for the spring gusts.

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