Because I never sleep, I watch Rapunzel’s closed eyes as the morning sun slowly starts to light up the ceiling of my bedroom. When Pounce (my cat) finally starts his morning routine of yowling to be fed, her eyes flutter open and I shush her as she exclaims with excitement that today is finally here and we should go have some fun already.
We tiptoe out to the kitchen and I finally take that shot of the party favors we labored so hard over yesterday. The light is still not quite right but what can you expect at six something in the morning? I make her a bagel and we get dressed in our flower market duds (ie: something warm so you can walk inside the giant flower refrigerators without freezing to death.)
We meet my friend and her little three-year-old boy and head off to the flower market. I spend three times what I budgeted for but we end up with a very nice selection of all pink flowers. “I’m a purist” as my friend says. Everyone humors me. Rapunzel and my friend’s little boy hit it off and are best friends by the time we get to Starbucks for some “medium warm hot chocolate” and a slice of lemon loaf. I order a forbidden half decaf eggnog latte and within ten minutes we are all sufficiently hyped up on sugar.
In my friend’s garage we start the official “flower processing” system. This means pulling all the leaves off stems, getting the many vases ready, and starting the floral arrangements. I’m in my element. Greens go in for a base, roses next, gerbers, some rusty brown filler flower etc. etc. etc. Time flies by.
Rapunzel is off with the little boy, finger painting, and I don’t hear a peep out of them until the flowers are done and the little boy comes out to show me his fresh “tattoo”. Across his shoulder blades, in big scrawly Rapunzel writing are the words, “I love Rapunzel” (except it’s her real name) in bright blue ink. This is what happens when kids are quiet. I should have been paying better attention but I was too wrapped up in my flowers. Thankfully, the marker pen tattoo is water soluable and with some extra rubbing, we manage to give the little boy green “incredible hulk skin” instead of a proclamation of his love for my niece. My friend isn’t mad. She laughs it off and tells Rapunzel no harm is done. My friend is a saint.
After Rapunzel loads up on give-away-toys and juice from my friend’s special stash, we get back in the car and head home to run some errands. We pick up lunch and take it down to the beach for a quick rest in the sun. We can’t stay too long at the beach because “mommy and sister” are coming soon and we absolutely have to get our manicure and pedicure done BEFORE they arrive. Heaven forbid we share any of our fun with anybody else.
Rapunzel can barely pull herself away from the cool wet sand that sucks up her feet when she wriggles her toes. She loves the beach. She makes me remember all the reasons I love the beach too and I kick myself for not coming down more often to eat my lunch. Finally with enough prodding, we walk our sandy selves back up to my car and head off to the nail salon.
They are slammed at the nail salon. They chatter and scold in Vietnamese but manage to sit Rapunzel down and get her started anyway. When I’m not looking, Rapunzel either tells the aesthetician that she wants rhinestones on her toes or they trick her into making Auntie spend $5 more bucks than I planned. I can’t say no and end up giving them a huge tip too because I feel guilty for dropping in without an appointment and making them paint the very dirty toes of a wiggly little seven-year-old. I shouldn’t feel guilty but I do. It’s all part of the custom.
When it’s my turn, we opt to go next door to another nail salon (yeah, they line them up out here, one after the other) and I end up getting the royal treatment in one of their “spa chairs”. Rapunzel works huge PR for me as she tells everyone in the salon that I deserve the best because I’m having a baby and I’m scared of “stillborn”. The things little ears pick up. All the ladies laugh and fawn over us. Rapunzel eats up the attention like a big piece of pie. I wince in pain because the woman massaging my arm is pushing all the blood from my upper body into my fingers. Rapunzel narrates everything to everyone in the room.
By the time my family arrives, we are freshly painted and feeling very “girly foo foo”. Who cares that we have a half inch of sand rolled up in the cuffs of our pants.