There’s a parent’s group that I’m peripherally part of — only peripherally, because I live pretty far from most of the other families in it. But recently they scheduled a Mom’s Art Night Out at Young At Art, a drop-in arts and crafts studio in Salem. This was an adult-only night; we potlucked some finger food and wine, donned aprons, and sat down at easels for a painting lesson.
Just before I left our former neighbor called (her daughter still comes over sometimes to visit when they’re in the neighborhood) and said excitedly that she’d picked up a gingerbread house kit, and would the kids like to make it tonight? So when I walked out the door I was leaving Dave with one extra kid and an evening project that involved frosting. There was a time, back when we had fewer kids, that I would have felt guilty about that. Nowadays I’m better at placing a Somebody-Else’s-Problem field over the top of things and walking away.
Or in this case driving away, to grab an apron and pour myself some wine. I had initially been a bit disappointed that we’d be led through painting a specific scene, but I decided to look at it as an opportunity to learn something and just have fun with the group. And it was fun — there’s nothing like getting together with other parents of young children and just laughing about the insanity of it all. Having a brush in hand at the same time is a nice bonus.
After the painting, most of the group headed to an all-night restaurant for a snack, but my Somebody-Else’s-Problem field wasn’t that big. Besides, it was late, and I was sort of curious to see what had happened.
What had happened was pretty much what I’d expected: half-built gingerbread houses, drips of frosting, and a sticky toddler. The only part that surprised me was that Dave had apparently gotten down my container of sprinkles for the kids to use, which had pretty much decimated that collection. (I was not upset. I had already learned about how kids treat sprinkles, but I think it’s one of those things you just have to experience to believe. Besides, now I can buy more sprinkles!)