So I was riding the rails on Saturday and had some time to do a little thinking. Yep. Go back. Read it again. I was on a train with Jody. A murder mystery train, no less. The motion-minded thespians visited our car, car 76, and acted out the blood, murder, and mayhem while we cruised across the Tennessee countryside at low speeds. If you get the munchies, soda and large cinnamon rolls are for sale in the dining car. They handed me a rose, plastic, as we boarded the train, hand held by the nicest conductor in the history of conducting.
It was the sight of a cow standing next to a trampoline across from the railroad tracks that got me thinking. This is the kind of random weirdness that Jody and I often find ourselves in. Who takes a murder mystery tour for Valentine’s Day? We do. Jody knows my proclivity for Agatha Christie. He knows I secretly wish I was Miss Marple or Poirot in a pinch. I always win at Clue. I have a crush on Tim Curry as the butler in the movie. This it totally my jam.
The train stopped in a tiny town where we ate Subway sandwiches in a gazebo under gray skies with local vanilla bean caramels for dessert. Then we hit up the antiques where I found this gem (Shera, Princess of Power!):
And this hand-painted trashcan (the extent of my decorating abilities):
And this 1950s dress that makes me feel like Lorelai Gilmore out on the town:
I tell you all this with this pronouncement: it was the BEST Valentine’s date ever. It completely fulfilled my eccentricity quota.
The last escape we made from our children we went to the Nashville art museum to see the Samurai exhibit. Jody read ALL the plaques and rented the iPod informational recording for each display of sword, sheath, and helmet. I camped out in the tiny cinema and watched the black and white 1950s samurai film and then hit up the gift shop for toys for the kids (kaleidoscopes, if you’re wondering). We could have gone to get coffee or to lunch or to a movie (I have seen exactly zero of the Oscar-favorites), but we picked Japanese warlords.
The date before that took us to Harry Potter at the Symphony. If that’s weird, I don’t want to be normal. Leave that to the muggles.
It took me a long time to get comfortable leaving the kids. Charlie’s handicap requirements plus language limitations and the twins’ general hyperactivity calls for a specialist. But lately we have found ourselves with a bit of freedom, some wiggle room to find ourselves again. And when I upload the data of our lives apart from our kids, I cannot help but notice the weird. I dig the fact that I found a partner in life as off the grid as me. Someone who thinks 80s synthesized music is nostalgically soothing and listens to yacht rock on Rhaspody. Someone who will discuss the nuances of the diphthong and laugh at failed puns on church billboards.
I often think about our family as set apart because of Charlie and because of multiples and I try to fight it, like a slow leak in a tire. But in reality, normality is not what I need to be chasing. Charlie and the twins were born to the perfect set of oddball parents and we were given the perfect litter of crazy kids. If our life is strange, it’s a good strange, like the Addams family: you can’t help but root for them.
I feel certain, as the years go by, that Jody and I will continue to choose train ride mysteries and witchcraft and wizardry over lattes and Michelin-ranked restaurants. This, along with Van Halen’s “Jump”, is music to my soul.
Thanking Meg for the weekly recap.