My girlies are home!
I won’t lie: the Serenity Time was lovely. Cute W and I dated and rode our bikes and took walks, we got tons of things done, and time flew.
But on Friday, when it was time to pick up J from Smirkus Camp, I was pretty much beside myself with anxiety. My first glimpse of J was before she started performing her new aerial tricks, and she was in pre-performance mode: focused, intense, serious, studiously avoiding us. If I had half-expected a transformation, I was wrong, because I know that kid. Still, it made me fretful. Had she been miserable at camp? Was she miserable now? Were her eyes shiny? What were the chances that she would fall off the aerial silk and land on her head and die before we got a chance to say hello to her? That is really, exactly what I was thinking.
Of course she was fine. She’d loved camp but she was exhausted. Not a single camper landed on their head and died during the performance. J did a terrific job. Hooray.
Meanwhile, M was arriving home on Saturday. I was much less worried about M. She was at the beach with friends, so I knew she’d be having fun. Plus she and her friend’s parents sent occasional updates. But then, on Saturday, I started getting antsy. She’d told me when they started driving home, and then many hours passed. Eventually, I started whining to Cute W. “Okay. I’m ready for her to be home now. They should be here by now.” Cute W laughed at me and called me a freak. There was probably traffic. Twenty minutes later, M arrived. She is almost exactly as tall as me.
But the best, the very best, was a little while later, when M said that she’d come with me to pick up J, who was at a friend’s house. When J got into the backseat, M abandoned her spot at shotgun and climbed back so that they could be together. She even sat “in the middle next to you so we can cuddle.” They excitedly rehashed their adventures. When M demanded to know if J was, in fact, pretty much the best tumbler at camp and J agreed, M gushed: “I love it when you do a big long tumble and you’re better than everyone!” When M recounted the joys of the inflatable park they’d visited, the super-fun Bulgarians Cute W and I had heard about got some additional descriptive terms (“like, 20-year-old guys”). M announced that Cute W had just been baking what we literally call “Our Favorite Cookies,” and J gushed, “This day just keeps getting better and better!” They were having such a good time chattering together that part of me just wanted to drive around, but I knew that they’d notice. Plus the cookies were waiting for them.
When we arrived home, M dug into her duffle and unearthed a whole bag of strawberry candies that are one of J’s favorites. I had no idea. Apparently they’re occasionally thrown out during the Niska-Day parade but otherwise they’re pretty rare. J squealed with delight. I almost squealed with delight at the lovely big-sister gesture.
The two of them headed into the kitchen where J started teaching M how to do camp songs and hand-slapping games while they continued to laugh and talk. I joined Cute W in the living room to make sure he was hearing all of this sibling joy. We agreed that hearing your kids happy together is just about the best thing ever. We listened again. One of the girls was talking about “hydration.” This is pretty much a running joke in our house because I am constantly supplying people with water. More recently, M’s been hydrating like a maniac because her soccer coach told her team that they needed to be drinking more water. So we overheard:
J: “Yes, hydration is very important.”
M: “You know who else thinks hydration is important?” And I knew that she was going to mention her soccer coach.
J, laughing: “Yes, she does!”
And then one of them, I’m not sure who, said, “She’s like a life coach!” and the other agreed, “She totally is! Mom is, like, our life coach!”
Those girls are right, you know. This day just keeps getting better and better.