Yesterday as I sat reading about Jesus in Philip Yancey's "The Jesus I Never Knew," I was also having my feet washed by a stranger.
My mom decided to celebrate a great month at work by taking my sister and I to the coast for a day of eating, pampering and shopping. She started with a round of pedicures in a posh, but quiet salon where we felt comfortable bringing our books and not forcing conversation with people we didn't know.
Despite my former years as a reporter, I'm not a natural conversationalist. Scott and I used to joke that he should take my job. He can get people to spill their guts about anything. I have to work up my curiosity and overcome a strong sense that other people's lives are none of my business if they don't volunteer it. Sometimes I feel odd asking even my closest friends about their thoughts and feelings. (And yet I have no trouble sharing my own online with strangers, go figure.)
I'm the person next to you on the plane who smiles politely and sticks my nose in a book the second I'm belted in. I'll make as much small talk as necessary to not seem rude, but no more, unless we happen to discover some remarkable thing in common. In any case, I would have been happy to sit and enjoy my pedicure and my book and say nothing but "thank you very much, that was fabulous" at the end.
Except that it didn't feel right to be reading about Jesus and ignoring the person who was caring for my feet.
So, eventually, when I heard a baby coo from across the salon, I smiled and asked the woman tending to my toes if babies come in often. She returned the smile and said, "Yes." I noted her wedding ring, and asked if she had children. I learned that she had two girls, ages 13 and 10, and that they're growing up too fast. I shared a little about my own boys, and that was about the end of the conversation. I knew she spoke Vietnamese from some dialogue between her and another employee; she probably had quite a fascinating life story. But for whatever reason, I was satisfied with the knowledge of our shared motherhood.
I have felt extremely fortunate this week. It started with my skincare pampering party on Friday. The house was clean, candles were lit, dessert, wine and coffee were served. We tried out sea salt scrubs, cleansers and lotions until we smelled as delicious as the berry cobbler and as fresh as that imaginary breeze blowing the clean laundry in detergent commercials.
Yesterday's salon visit was followed by a leisurely lunch in a hip Italian restaurant, an afternoon of shopping, and dinner on the wharf watching sailboats come into harbor. Then I came home to an orderly house, with children already tucked into bed and sound asleep. But the most surprising was the fact that my baby (my two-and-a-half-year-old baby!) slept until 7:30 this morning without waking to be nursed.
If the boys hadn't reassured me of their need for me by refusing to let me leave them in bed alone tonight, I think I would have entered a state of maternal shock. Or immediately attempted pregnancy.
Thankfully, Scott's given me until November to increase my net worth as a mother. As we sat watching the boys climb the slide at the park the other day, he asked me, "How long is your gestational period, exactly?" (Only my husband would know that phrase.) When I asked him why he wanted to know, he said, "Because I want my baby girl to be born on my birthday."
So, there you have it. Next summer, it is, God willing. (Though I did try to explain why choosing the exact day is pretty much impossible.)