My mother came to visit and it was swell. Not only is she wildly entertaining company (at least when she is not keeling over from jetlag induced sudden exhaustion), she also claimed that visiting us was "like staying at a lovely spa."
This is (a) perhaps the thing a houseguest could say that is most perfectly designed to delight and flatter me, and of course (b) utter bollocks. I am not familar with any lovely spas that feature toddlers who scream like they are being tortured when you try to put them to bed ten minutes before they are ready and steal your iPhone between times, or staff who explain to you just how HARD it is to walk as SLOWLY as you do, with your dodgy knees, as they force you to walk all the way across town for the third time that day.
But maybe you know one like that. Is it the best ever? It is probably the best ever.
In addition to putting up with our nonsense and calling it restorative, my mother also performed a grandparental babysitting feat more wonderful than I could have imagined. Wrestling a screaming child into bed so that we could go see Contagion and eat artfully prepared food was excellent, without a doubt, but the mindblowingly brilliant bit was the mornings.
Being an early riser ordinarily and on east coast time to boot, she was awake bright and early every day. And so, when Jane woke with her habitual aggreived creaky door noises and requests for cheese (chizsh! chizsh! chizsh! chizsh! chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiizsh!) my wonderful, glorious, sainted mother would receive her happily and then CLOSE OUR BEDROOM DOOR so that we could roll over and go back to sleep.
Also she accompanied me to a local nursery and engaged in what anyone else would certainly find mindnumbingly extended stints of lively conversation about my adorable new little trees: which to get, where to put them (here? no, how about two feet to the left? forward a bit? where the other one is? back over here?), how charming they were, how pleasing their containers, what other things would accompany them to best advantage et cetera et cetera oh trees.
Trees! They are rather fetching, aren't they?
Not having any decisive point to close on, I leave you with two views of Jane, the dignified:
and the somewhat less dignified: