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After-School Special

Last Friday afternoon the weather was
gorgeous here and I wanted to figure out a way to enjoy the day
with Maddie after she got out of school. By Friday my child is a
walking zombie, so going to the park was absolutely no use at all.
But I finally came up with something.

Cora and I walk to pick up Maddie every afternoon, Cora riding in
her wagon because the walk’s just a smidge too far for her.
That afternoon, we showed up at the school with a wagon laden with
goodies: our big picnic blanket, a bag of Clementine oranges, a box
of Annie’s bunny mix, ice water, stale bread, and a huge
stack of books. We walked to the duck pond near our house and
proceeded to have the best. Afternoon. Ever.

We pulled up underneath the huge shady
trees, spread out our blanket, and lounged around, eating orange
after orange. We lay back and read book after book. We had tickle
fights. We even dozed a bit. It was perfect.

After about an hour we got up to feed the ducks. A stroke of luck
had brought a blue heron to the pond, and we watched him stalk
delicately around the pond for a while. Our breadcrumbs brought
lots of fish to the surface, and we watched, amazed, as the bird
speared huge (to us) fish with his beak, tossed them in the air,
and swallowed them whole. It was better than television.

Before we left, Maddie had eaten eleven oranges and we’d read
every book twice. We only stirred ourselves when dinner time
finally came, almost two hours after we’d gotten there, but
none of us felt bored. At one point I lay on the blanket, my girls
snuggled like puppies up against my sides, and Maddie said,
“Mommy, this is just about perfect. I hear the wind in the
trees and the birds chirping and it’s beautiful music to my
heart. I hope this is what heaven is like.”

I’m pretty sure it is.


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