It was one of those nights where you think to yourself, Whose kids are these and why are they calling me mom? I can't be old enough for them to belong to me.
That was perhaps exaggerated by the fact that after dinner we were headed to my friend's childhood home to a preview party her mom was hosting for her upcoming estate sale there.
Really. Am I old enough to go to a grownup party and are we taking these kids, who insist upon acting as if they know me, along? This is crazy.
After a quick dinner marked by asking small people (primarily the ones on Prednisone) to sit with their bottoms in their chairs, to please use inside voices and only two trips to the bathroom, we loaded up.
These kids really appear to presume they're coming with me.
We arrived at her mom's house, sprayed all the small people with bug spray and set them loose in the backyard -- in the same backyard that we were set loose in 25 years ago, back when this house was in the country and no one put bug spray on their kids.
Then I mingled. Another dear friend and I browsed. We actually both bought and paid with real money, not the make-believe stuff I used when pretending this house's pantry was an elevator.
Seriously. Who gave me a checkbook and why am I buying a bed for that cute little boy that keeps calling me mom?
After discussing the merits of a 36-cup coffee pot with -- not one, but two -- adult figures from my youth, and strolling through this house where I spent a fair amount of time during my childhood and adolesence, I was reminded that memories are about the people.
Good reminder. It's time to go.
I went to look for the kids and found all four of them running wild through the basement, having a seemingly darn good time.
I rounded up those two rowdy little boys and brought them home with me. They were hot and sweaty and wanted to know when they could play with my friend's kids again.
I arrived home and backed my sensible family SUV into the garage to unload the treasure I had found. I showered the two little people who were now making themselves at home in my house and put them to bed. Then I sat down and wondered, on the eve of my birthday, if I'm really that old.
Then I remembered something that had happened at dinner. My friend and I were deep in conversation -- so deep that we were forgetting to supervise the kids sitting with us. Somebody asked for ketchup. Someone else handed it to him. The two older ones began to giggle and we looked over to see that a little one had done this.
He wasn't scolded and instead we laughed and took pictures. It was kind of our fault - no one was watching these kids sitting with us.
Nope. Definitely not a grownup, and I wouldn't recommend holding your breath while you wait.
Now, a few hours later, it occurs to me that someday these kids might remember playing together, running through a yard with soccer balls, fighting over a board game, running around a basement. Them being good friends as adults probably defies the laws of probability.
I can still hope. Crazier things have happened.