One of our old friends threw a "Thanksgiving Dinner Observed" tonight, and we dragged the newest member of the clan out for the meet and greet. He had had a helluva day prior to dinner, and I was feeling none too plumb myself after telling him "You can't stick your head in the oven yet, you haven't written any poetry and you'll ruin the sweet potato pie," and "If you're going to try your hand at the dishwasher, can't you wait and put away the clean dishes rather than bathe in the old coffee and wine dregs?" That, plus trying to make two pies which I had absolutely no experience with, and a bun's willful streak that was equivalent to "NO NAPS FOR ME!" day, it was a test, through and through. The most peaceful part was when I went to the dentist and got my teeth cleaned. How my life has changed.
Anyhoo, I got my pies baked, and we loaded up the family for the social event of the year. But the bun was so tired from the lack of nap that from the start his usually gregarious personality was put on hold and he began shrinking deep into the recesses of my ribcage.
As the night wore on and more and more people arrived, the poor bun shifted from shyness to outright agitation and then spells of deep terror as one after another of our well-meaning friends wanted to check in. One would swoop in and grab his foot and babble at him. Another would careen towards him and give him a wet one on the forehead while he clung to me for dear life. When friends I didn't expect showed up and I gave a schoolgirl shriek, the bun searched desperately for safe harbor from the nut job formerly known as "the walking lunch counter."
In the past I would just tune out the clatter and din, but as the caretaker for the bun I can feel it much more acutely through his eyes: giant strangers diving like predators from above, waves upon waves of chatter and noise creeping in from every corner, pinches and coddles from weirdos who make whacked-out faces--it's not pretty. Now and then I would decamp to the bedroom to give him a little mellow, and he would crawl around happily, and then I would guiltily scoop him up for another round of "Terror Time."
By the time we got home (the absurdly early hour of 8:45 pm for us, and absurdly late for the bun), we were racing to get him out of his clothes and into his fleecy jammies. And as I soothed him to sleep in the dark, the room breathed a sigh of relief. The air released it's charge and a calm washed over us as I rocked him quietly. It felt familiar, the perfect calm, the warmth, the relief.
It was as if we were coming off of a bad acid trip or a crank high, the sort of metallic stimulation which feels just barely on the edge of sanity, and the joy of coming back to earth and the comforts of home were paramount. I felt so sorry for the bun. I knew how he felt. He couldn't have been happier to see his own crib, which these days is remarkable in and of itself.
He's sleeping it off now and then it will be a hazy memory. Then it will be gone, just like the worst of my benders. Thank heavens for small miracles.