Just, November.

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Following Halloween, Bart’s parents hung out with the girls while we made a quick trip to Joshua Tree, just northeast of Palm Springs (and about 2 hours away from us), to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. Most commonly known for camping, the small town boasts a cool national park, several local shops and restaurants, and a lot of New Age charm.

While camping’s not MY thing, we found a cute Airbnb, went for a hike, enjoyed a massage and tried out a few restaurants. Turns out my sister and brother-in-law were on a trip of their own in Kentucky, also celebrating THEIR wedding anniversary, so we did what any set of “sisterly couples” would do: A Photo-Off. Let’s just say I think we won (and I’m only showing OURS here, so you’ll have to trust me on this one).

Before you comment asking “why so serious?!”, winning is no laughing matter, and my sister always said I was sore loser – and a WORSE winner. But I digress…

The following week, I headed off for 11 days away from home – possibly my longest since having kids. I began in Chicago for work, then (thanks to Bart) went to Atlanta to an Ed Sheeran concert with my sister, THEN on to Boston, again for work. Guess which of those three was the highlight of my travels? YOU GUESSED IT:

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And POOF. Half of November was gone. I came back to LA to (again, thanks to Bart) take Zoe to see Dear Evan Hansen in downtown LA. I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t that play deal with some heavy topics, like suicide? And Isn’t she just 8 years old? Yes, and yes. Somehow (I’ll bet you it was from the Amazon music surfing my husband does…), we had already listened to songs from the soundtrack on our Echo at home, so both our children know the music (though not the topics…). And the songs are great!

I honestly didn’t think twice about taking Zoe, since I knew she’d love to see those songs performed live – until the day before the show, when I realized what ELSE she might see performed live… In fact, Common Sense Media says 15+ is the right age. Oops?

For better or worse, Zoe has already seen several live shows, including Wicked (twice) and Hamilton, so maybe it’s too late to worry about all that. Regardless, we had tickets, and she was excited, and so I got the opportunity to explain suicide:

  • ME: So Zoe, this show has some heavy topics in it that might upset you.
  • ZOE: Like what?
  • ME: Like “suicide”. Do you know what that is?
  • ZOE: No. What is it?
  • ME: It’s when someone kills themselves.
  • ZOE: Why would someone do that?
  • ME: (fumbling for words) That’s a great question, and honestly, we don’t usually know exactly why someone does it. But sometimes it’s because they are sad, and they don’t think things are going to get better. Does that make sense?
  • ZOE: I guess so.
  • ME: Well, I know it’s a big thing to think about. One of the kids in the play we’re about to watch kills himself. It’s a very sad thing for everyone around him, because even though he’s gone, they are not. So if you get sad in the show and need to leave, just let me know, ok?
  • ZOE: Ok, Mom.

Right? Wrong? I’ll never know. But she made it right through Dear Evan Hansen, focused on the music, and at intermission she asked me about the suicide part – she’d actually missed it. In the play they say he “took his own life”, which she didn’t understand. We talked about it anyway (and of course, I’m the one who cried in the show… losing a child for any reason is unimaginable).

To distract from the content, Zoe got a cheese plate, gummy bears AND sour worms at the break. She has no idea she could have gotten anything she asked for:

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But back to November. Clearly, we made it through. We celebrated Thanksgiving with friends both the day of AND the weekend after, eating two delicious (read: filled with butter, sugar and bread) meals and enjoying great company. What says the holidays better than a family in a minivan and a sweet potato soufflé? Don’t judge.

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And so, it’s almost New Year’s Eve and I’m finally writing about November. If all goes well, I’ll squeak two more blog posts into this year so we can get a fresh start in 2019 and maybe find a regular schedule… but that would require a miracle, and Christmas has already passed. Oh well. Happy Holidays?

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