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We had a long week last week, mostly from anticipating- and then wallowing in – Valentine’s Day, and by the time the girls got home on Friday we were pretty fried. I was facing a reasonably hectic weekend, an incredibly filthy house, and the prospect of two exhausted, bickering children.

I was not looking forward to it.

But for whatever reason, we had one of those golden afternoons, where you hit that sweet spot and simply coast from one happiness to the next. Not in any huge, life-changing, trip-to-Paris kind of way, but in a sweet contentment kind of way.

After school got out we elected to stay and play at the school playground for a bit, enjoying the sunny-but-brisk weather outside. We had a grand time running and laughing and digging: apparently Cora and her posse dug their entire recess time and were rewarded with a worm, which made Cora head back to that hole as soon as school got out, hoping for more bounty. Instead of finding a worm, though, she founds some good ole Texas clay and couldn’t get any further in the ground.

Though she has asked me to pack a small shovel for school on Tuesday. Hmm.

After we got home from playing at the park, the girls wandered aimlessly around the house for a few moments, too restless to settle on any one thing. And then they wandered into the dining room, where I’d been unpacking several pieces of Pilates equipment I’d recently received.

“Mommy,” Cora said thoughtfully, “Is this rather large, rather long, just-my-size box up for grabs?”

“Why, yes, you may use it,” I responded.


For the next TWO HOURS the girls built a time machine, based largely on Calvin’s Transmogrifier. See Calvin and Hobbes, volumes 1,2, and 3. They assembled quite an elaborate machine comprised of many boxes, some taped together, some containing Velcro – VELCRO – closures for storing extra items to bring with them. On the inside of the box they drew categories of places to visit. People (Egyptians, Romans, Indians), Types of Places (Desert, Ocean, and so on), and Times (Old Times, Pioneer Times, and Now). They packed changes of clothes for “fitting in” – two saris for visiting India, two Cleopatra costumes for Egypt, and so on.

The girls raided the kitchen fixing hearty snacks for a “Voyage Long and Tiring”, as Cora put it. Wheat Thins, Clementine oranges, apples, and string cheese all got packed up.

I’m telling you, this thing was beautiful.

I only managed to tear the girls away from the machine with dinner – still in costume (Maddie – blue butterfly; Cora – Cleopatra). As soon as dinner ended Brian wandered into the library and got out his guitar, picking out Beatles tunes, and fifteen minutes later both girls were dancing around and lustily singing “Ticket To Ride”. Maddie set up an entire drum set out of bongos and hand drums before tying jingle bells to her ankles and jumping up and down in time to the music while beating a tom-tom simultaneously. Cora danced away, still in full Cleopatra costume.

This family’s got major talent.

The whole thing wound down at bedtime and not a moment before, each girl getting to do one solo performance before we shut the whole thing down. And you know what was the best part of the afternoon? Not once did the girls ask to watch their daily video. They had such a fantastic time playing with each other that the day flew by and they went to bed happy and exhausted.

I was able to get a head start on cleaning the house, working on the kitchen and laundry while watching them simply enjoy each other’s company. And that is better than any video I know.

Although of course, I took videos and of course, I’ll show them at an embarrassing time. Say, during their Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speeches.


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