My cookies taste like fish sauce, but otherwise it was a pretty good day

Why are some days so much more enjoyable than others?

I woke up Wednesday morning after eight hours of sleep. I actually felt like I could get up, which was a strange but welcome departure from how I feel every other day.

The professor had an all-day meeting on the calendar. ‘Can I get dropped off after the Gort,’ he asked. ‘Sure’, I replied. Which means all five Johnsons were in the car-van – dressed in clothes, not pajamas – at 8.00am. A feat we hadn’t reprised since the first day of school. In August of 2010.

Hello 2011. We are ready for you.

An hour later I was back at home with my two sidekicks. And a series of events unfolded; one that can be described as nothing short of miraculous.

The baby napped. For three hours.

I cleaned. I reduced the laundry pile to half its original size. I played Spiderman Memory with the Hen. (And I won.) I made lunch for the boys and sat down at the table with them to eat it. I returned air mattresses I’d borrowed more than two months ago. We picked the Gort up from school. I dropped stuff off at Goodwill. I mailed a baby gift. I doled out snacks. I took all three boys sledding, by myself. I doled out more snacks. I made Thai chicken curry for dinner. With curry paste I’d made and frozen in an ice cube tray several weeks before. I even made cookies, for dessert.

It felt like a day in the life of Martha Stewart. Minus the mansions and the staff and the perfectly groomed everything. Oh, and the empire.

The professor came home nearly ten hours after I’d dropped him off at the University. And I didn’t greet him with my usual phrase ‘I’m done!’ ‘The house looks nice,’ he remarked suspiciously, observing happy children, normal-looking wife, and aromas of imminent dinner.

It was the kind of day that only comes around once in three years. When abundant motherly patience and energy collide with extraordinary results.

At one point, while I was making dinner, I peeked around the corner. The baby was sitting on the floor. Playing by himself. The Hen was coloring at the table. And the Gort was cheering on his baby brother. It was a New Year’s miracle.

Except for the cookies.

After dinner – which all three boys ate without complaint – I gave the Gort and the Hen a cookie. The Gort took a bite. And handed the rest of the cookie back to me. ‘I don’t like these very much,’ he concluded. I wasn’t surprised. I’d just bitten into one and it tasted….strange. ‘I’m sorry I don’t like the cookies,’ he apologized.

He apologized. For not liking my cookies. Was I living in Pleasantville?

The Hen, in perfect three-year-old-showing-up-his-brother-form, announced ‘I like your cookies!’ See mother, I really am your favorite child, I will eat your cookies and like them. Even if they taste weird.

‘Lucky for you that you like the cookies,’ the Gort retorted, which caused me to burst out laughing.

I took another bite of my cookie. It tasted….like fish sauce; the fish sauce I’d added to the curry. Had I used fish sauce instead of vanilla? Did I accidentally use the fish sauce spoon to stir the cookie batter? Nobody will ever know, but it was the first night in the history of the Johnson family that each person ate only one cookie.

Another New Year’s miracle.

After the boys went to bed, the professor and I sat down and played a game of Qwirkle. It was a close game, and we were each doing our best to outsmart the other.

But when we tallied up the points at the end of the game, (actually, when Excel tallied up the points at the end of the game), we had 200 points. Each.

A perfect, New Year’s miracle tie.

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