They are gorgeous people in a gorgeous home that is settled into the most gorgeous part of a gorgeous neighborhood. So, why do I not hate them?
The answer is simple: I do not hate Amanda and Paul Bauer because they happen to be fun, kind, easy-to-like people who have made two smaller, but equally fun, kind and easy-to-like people.
You ever meet someone else’s kid or kids and think to yourself, “Here we go. Get ready to smile pretty when the small demon person starts screeching so my friend won’t know just how badly I wish her kids had never been born?
No? That’s just me? Fair enough...
But here’s the point: Amanda and Paul’s children, Blythe and Alexa, FAILED to irritate this irascible writer, even ONE TIME. NOT ONCE. In a whole half hour! They spent the whole time being amazing. WHAT?
Alexa is a sprightly, enthusiastic, infamously “bouncy” little thing whose spirit could lift Scrooge out of his cloud of cynicism and self-loathing. And Blythe is a sensitive, artistic, old-soul who made me feel like I should be sitting at her feet, asking for insights into the nature of life, death, and Roth IRA’s.
Then there is the couple themselves. Paul is a Lobbyist here in Sacramento, who because of his career and expensive watch, I at first thought would be a shallow, money-hungry, fat-cat type of guy. Why did I think that? *I have issues, readers. Deep-seated issues. That fact aside, once again, I was thrown a curve ball by the Bauer Family because the more I spoke with Paul, the more his kindness, open heart, and generosity of spirit shone through. This is a man who loves his family and works hard for them. Several times, Blythe lept onto her Dad’s lap to be met with a barrage of hugs and kisses that reminded me that a father’s love for his daughter can be, in the most ideal of circumstances, unabashed, visible, and seemingly infinite. I had heard tell that such Dads existed. I’m just not sure of the last time I remember seeing one up close, in person, and for REAL!
“What kind of Dads HAVE you seen, Katie?” you might be asking yourselves. To which question I would respond: Please see the two sentences preceded by * above.
And then there’s Amanda. Oh, Amanda! With years of modeling (that’s right, MODELING- like the real, runway, in magazines, on tv kind) under her belt, a stunning home sold to her by one of my favorite humans on the planet, Mr. Michael Glascock (no, he didn’t ask me to write that. In fact, he’s cringing right now at the sight of it, I promise), a handsome, helping-the-planet, financially sound husband, and two beautiful kids who seem to worship and adore her, I thought AT LEAST she’d be a terrible MOTHER! I mean, COME ON, Universe, throw a damaged girl a bone!
But, nooooooo, Amanda happens to be the kind of mother who, as I watched her with her children, I thought to myself, “Oh, THAT’S what my therapist is talking about! That’s what she means when she says ‘Ideally, the mother holds everything the child says in non-judgement and is a soft place for a child’s ideas, thoughts and feelings to land so that the child grows up knowing that her ideas, thoughts and feelings are not only valid, but are a normal, vital part of what makes her who she is.” Ooooh, I get it now, Doctor Therapist. I get it because Amanda Bauer modeled it for me during the brief half hour I spent at her home.
And what of the home itself? Today it looks like a cover shot for “Architecture Digest,” or “Interior Decorator Today,” or “Designs That are Too Expensive For You Right Now, Katie.” But, apparently, initially, it was a real fixer upper. The Bauer’s tell tales of dark, textured wallpaper, heavy curtains, and am I remembering correctly- shag carpeting? Either way, the places was clearly a diamond in the rough which Amanda has fully and entirely de-roughed. In addition to blending classic pieces with modern ones in a perfect blend of yesterday and today, Amanda has decked out this stunning, old-world, wrap-around-the-backyard-and-newly-installed-pool style home with chandeliers- it’s true! Nearly every room dons a perfectly-fitted-to-that-room chandelier- some of which were found at lighting and light-fixtures treasure trove, “Lumens” on K Street, and others of which Amanda dug up on Overstock.com. She’s tireless, that Amanda, at adding beauty to her home and the world.
All of this is to say the following: There’s a thing I learned in the early days with my therapist. When I would come in complaining and grumbling about this or that hard thing about my woe-is-me life, she would always encourage me to find the gratitude in the situation at hand. “When jealousy arises,” she’d say “try making a gratitude list and see if that changes your mood at all.”
Now, I’m not saying I’m jealous of Amanda’s home and her life. No, that would be crass and immature (she says, inadvertently crushing the champagne glass she’s holding). I’m simply saying that having spent time with Amanda, and in her life, that I am grateful for these things:
To know that loving, compassionate families exist- right here, in Land Park.
To know that I, too, could probably afford to own a chandelier! Overstock.com! Who knew?!
To have been reminded that just because people are pretty on the outside, doesn’t mean they’re miserable on the inside (DAMMIT).
That I have been left wondering: if these are my Land Park Neighbors, what other amazing human beings must be hiding in my midst? And how might I get to know them, so that I might be equally surprised, softened, and humbled by their kindness, generosity and new-found friendship?
Happy Thanksgiving Month, Friends. And here’s to all of us meeting more of our neighbors!