I’m still, I’m still, I’m still drinkin’ from the pot.
If you are unfamiliar with the J-Lo hit, “Jenny From the Block”, then this post has already confused you.
J-Lo, aka Jennifer Lopez or Mrs. Marc Anthony had a hit song a year or two ago in which she trilled:
Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got,
I’m still Jenny from the block.
Easy enough lyrics to follow, easier still if you were familiar with the way she sings. More fast talking than actual singing.
Anyway, I had the distinct delight of overhearing someone share with someone else how they came to think J-Lo was singing about how she still ‘drank from the pot’.
My sister rolled into town Friday night. I picked her up at the Amtrak station in Saratoga Springs with Briar snoozing in the back of the car. Briar and I sat as the Mary Had a Little Amp cd played in my car. Listening to the Dixie Chicks sing the song about rainbows that Kermit the Frog sang-
Why are there so many,
songs about rainbows
and what’s on the other side.
It was lovely. I was struggling with whether or not to take Briar out of the car to greet Abbie. On the one hand she was sleeping so soundly, but on the other it *was* already past her bedtime, and how do you take someone to the train station and not let them stand on the platform? It would be a huge memory, if not for Briar then for Abbie. I also knew that once Briar woke up, which she would (those idling trains are loud!), she’d love the new sights.
So I did it.
I lifted her gently out of her seat, set her head on my shoulder, cradled her body on my chest, and thanked every god I could think of as her body pressed into mine, feeling more like a wide beam of sunlight warming my whole body than 23 pounds of ragdoll weight on me.
Oh god, she kept lifting her head and rubbing her cheek against mine.
Her little hand was gripping my shoulder and her leg was hooked in to the waist band of my pants.
The unfaltering faith of ownership of a parent by a baby/child is the most incredible and humbling thing to witness.
I am hers.
My arms are hers, my hair is hers, my mouth is hers.
She is so confident in me that I ache thinking of ever letting her down.
You see that?
You hear that?
This was going to be a perfectly light hearted and funny blog.
I opened with Jenny form the block for pete’s sake!
Love and babies have the strangest effect on a person.
Let me try and find my way back.
Abbie. The visit. J-Lo.
So we went camping. Sean headed up Thursday night to claim the site we wanted from the 12 first come, first serve(d) NY State DEC camp sites. He packed up the Jeep with our two tents, a cooler, cooking paraphernalia and the dogs and was on the road before 5.
Thursday night came and went very slowly.
Then Friday. I had no idea how many times a day I usually either called or heard from Sean. The day, bright with clear, blue, sunny skies, seemed quite grey as I realized time and again that there would be no latte with Sean, no witty email, no direct connect check-in, and certainly no quick hug fix on the street.
I was so glad when we Abbie walked off the train. Sean and I had been so looking forward to getting out of town and we knew that Abbie was excited to see Lake George so it seemed like one of those very unusual, ‘everyone is going to be pleased’ scenarios.
I characteristically got off to a late start Saturday morning. I had every good intention of leaving town by 10 so we would be to Sean in the morning. We didn’t leave the house until nearly 10, which still left the supermarket and the requisite return trip to the house for forgotten items x, y and z. So naive about what the store would look like on the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend.
Let’s not even think about it, it hurts too much.
We got to the campsite just shy of noon. We parked the Jeep and got out of the car. Sean came strolling up the path looking like some kind of Stetson man with a bit of beard, rugged outdoor clothes on and throw in a twist of Harlequin romance chest heaving romance novel good guy and Amanda was a happy , happy girl.
God I had missed him.
We took Abbie and Briar down to the campsite and sort of got unpacked. Then it was down to the lake with the kayak and lunch. The trails, the water, the kayak and the snacks were all wonderful. All three of us took a turn paddling around in the the kayak. It was exhilarating. Sean even took Ella out for a spin. She was confused, but delighted to be included. Then I strapped Briar in her life jacket and he took her out. It was a little nerve-wracking. Briar had a look that bordered on terror, but she was quiet and still and had just enough interest for me to not to dive madly into the lake to retrieve her at once from the kayak.
Getting to the point of this entry.
Sean and Abbie have a very unique relationship. I think the sibling-in-law relationship has the potential to be the greatest kind of relationship in the world. There is no sibling rivalry, there is no fear about having to say exactly the right thing and, there is, if the marriage is of the type of people who poke fun at one another, the wonderful union of two people who live to tease the third party.
Yes, Sean and Abbie like to tease me. And they tease each other. They have remarkably thick skin when it comes to the ribbing they dish out. Sean was trying to lull Briar to sleep on shore while Abbie and I were in the water, me in the kayak and she treading water. We were catching up and just generally delighting in one another’s company. When Abbie and I are together we usually laugh. We laugh hard.
Sean had just managed to get Briar to sleep when I got on a roll and had Abbie in stitches. She was roaring. And roaring, and gasping and roaring some more.
Later Sean attributed Briar’s inability to nap on “Sonic Laugh”. And that is a pretty true description. Sean is usually vehemently protective of the sanctity of quiet for his Magee Method sleep induction. With his wacky sister-in-law he just smiled and shook his head. But, with these two, he could just as easily have said, “Damnit Abbie, shut your pie hole I am trying to get Briar down.” Abbie would not have been upset. I, on the other hand, would flip out if he talked to me like that, or anyone else. He and Abbie have something special.
Anyway, later on around 10 I took Briar into the tent and we went to bed. Sean and Abbie stayed up for s’mores. I dozed in and out as I listened to them talking. They talked about the east coast and about Abbie’s trip. They talked about Sean’s business and the town that we lived in. I started to really go to sleep when I heard Abbie’s laugh.
“Ya know, when I heard that song I thought she was saying, ‘I’m just drinkin’ from the pot.’ And I thought, how cool. Jennifer Lopez is singing about being one of the people.”
Sean said,”I’m still drinking from the pot?”
And Abbie said, “Yeah. She really says, ‘I’m still Jenny from the block.”
Sean sort of concurred and said, “Aahm, ok.”
I lay in the tent thinking that she meant something about J-Lo being like the rest of the people in her neighborhood when she said-
“You know, like Pooh and the honey pot. I’m still drinking from the pot.”
There was something in that comment from Abbie, its complete absurdity and the way that she and Sean sat there truly enjoying each other that brought a lump to my throat. Who but my sister could think that there was a Pooh connection to a J-Lo hit? Who but my husband would sit there and shake his head smiling and loving me and my sister all the more for it? You cannot choreograph or script how the family you chose will mesh with the family you were born to.
That night, in that tent with Briar beside me and my two families, chosen and inherited, making s’mores under the stars, I felt more blessed than a person has right to.