Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mindful Giving - Day Twenty-Five

or... I Kissed My Best Friend's Boyfriend Last Night

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My friend visited her family in France all summer. Now she's back and she wanted us all to come to her place for a bbq and catch up. With some reluctance, she decided that we should celebrate all the birthdays in our families as well. F isn't a huge fan of birthdays, and we always run into major cultural differences when she, C, and I try to plan celebrations together. As Americans, teachers, moms, and control freaks, C and I tend to view birthdays with the same approach. They must be properly celebrated and that includes decor, cake, candles, song and gifts, at the very minimum. F, being French and just different, thinks that a cake is the most effort required. So she didn't realize that deciding the day before that this was a "birthday celebration" meant a whole different thing to us. (Which really you would think she would know by now. It's been more than two years of this difference cropping up, and even longer in her friendship with C.)

Bottom Line: There are seven July-August birthdays within our four families. Since F was providing a place, food, and a cake, C and I had to scramble to come up with cards and gifts. We did well though. Part of our Italian dinner was a strategy session; we pooled our resources, made a plan, and hit Target at 10 pm, two grim-faced, weary mothers consulting on various gift options within our limited budgets. Between us, there were gifts, cards, tissue, gift bags, themes, curly ribbon and all the bedeckings we expected.

A quick run-down
P, 5 years old - a walking stuffed puppy and a Bisquit book
A, 8 years old - cash and a Lego firetruck (exactly the right one. His face lit up like Christmas.)
B, 11 years old - a hot glue gun for crafts
G, 11 years old - a peace-decor dry erase board
S, 45 years old - amazon gift card
F, 42 years old - a silver necklace and the second novel by a French author she loved
K, 43 years old - a bottle of Moscato and a tie imprinted with the molecular pattern of wine

Aside from these gifts, my other giving for the day was being pretty laid back about actually getting to the bbq. It was supposed to start at 1 pm, and at 2 pm, my family was still at home getting ready. But so was C's. When she and I are a bit overwhelmed, our timeliness goes out the window. So even though it's a 100 mile drive to F's house, I didn't rush or stress my family, and we let C and her group get there before us. That meant I took the heat as the latest arrival. You're welcome, C. :)

But... the kissing incident.

So, it was a lovely evening. The kids had a bit of conflict and then settled down to play happily. There was salad and ckicken kebobs and chips and fruit and olives and nuts. K had made home-baked bread. Wine came out by the bottle, some nice reds and sweet whites. Then we sat and talked for hours and hours, laughing and joking, talking art and books, parenting and Boing Boing, until finally just past 10 pm we were all done in.

So, the goodbyes. I told the girls to get ready and found the kids to tell them good bye. F's kids gave me cute little proper French embraces. Then I wandered back into the kitchen where everyone was milling in that last minute chat way. I kissed Jean-Francois, I kissed Sophie, I kissed F, and then I went to kiss K. I just assumed that since we were all leaving in the French-style, which is a kiss that is more of a pressing of cheeks on the right side, followed by the same on the left side, that he would be doing that as well. After all, he's been dating F for more than a year. He just got back from vacation in France. Surely he had picked up some of the cultural traits.

So I leaned in and kissed his cheek. But he went for more of a hug. Then when I pulled back to kiss his other cheek, he leaned, and our mouths brushed across each other. Yeuck.

You know that scene in Charlie Brown where Lucy runs around screaming Ack! Dog Germs! I've been kissed by a dog!!? The effect was rather like that.

Now don't get me wrong. I like K. I like him a LOT for F. He's smart and funny and head over heels terrific to her, and I've never seen her happier than with him. But he does nothing for me. In fact, the longer I know him, the more I see that he keeps a lot of layers up in front of his real self. He talks a lot, and listens poorly, and it is almost like a magician, whose constant patter redirects your attention to where he wants it to go. So I don't completely trust him. Besides that he's not at all my type. He's slim and blond and hyper; in fact, when he and F stand together they often remind me of a beautiful fairy and a magical elf. Again, not in a bad way. But really, I couldn't have accidentally kissed the tall, dark, handsome French guy?

Plus, he didn't do it on purpose either. It's not like he was trying to be flirtatious. We just had bad coordination and a cultural misunderstanding. Sigh.

Still, it was rather a funny incident. I'll have to tell C about it -- I don't think she saw. And overall the evening couldn't have been nicer. It is such a joy to have this group of friends. We are a gift to each other.

No comments: