Doing something new this morning. Linking up with the Gypsy Mama and her “Five-Minute Friday.” Rules: follow the prompt, no extreme editing, write for five minutes flat. I will be honest: this first-timer couldn’t quite do it in five minutes. I took the prompt, wrote fast, didn’t extreme edit…and it took me a tidge longer than five.
So here goes. The prompt: Connect.
We drive miles of road, the girls and me, past the cows and horses, past rolling pastureland, over Gumby Hill, through the curves that make my hands sweat when the rain pours and after almost half a day, pull up to my sister’s house.
And the girls’ biggest cousin here (“E”) runs to the car, bouncing as she always does in her radiant smile, and we feel so welcome. The door’s wreath holds an itty bitty chalkboard sign that says “Happy birthday” to Lala, banners hanging in colors of juice, and we’ll have strawberry cupcakes later to celebrate.
We drop our bags inside, the kids play, and my sis and I talk about the drive and the kids, how good it is to be together.
Sici holds little baby cousin, and rocks him tenderly, holds him close to her side, and we can’t believe how big he’s gotten. And that smile, oh my word, you could scrape the melted parts of me off the floor.
The kids swap cars, and they sing and animal count together. It feels so different to take a car ride with your cousins, and they smile and talk about what they want to be when they grow up. Little Lala says she’ll certainly be a dinosaur and that she might eat “L,” who wants to be a dinosaur, too. Then L, who is 3 and knows a lot about dinosaurs, says her kind isn’t a meat eater so that won’t work after all.
J and E and Lala dress in wigs and dresses and sing to “Annie,” and I hear the girls propose different pretend scenarios and then live them out. Sici and L are bosom buddies — 10 year old girl and 3 year old boy, they get each other.
The kids show us Olympic events on the play structure, swim to each other in the pool. Call out, “Watch me, Auntie! Look what I can do, Mama!”
The screaming and the clean up and the meal after meal and the dishes again, the dealing with squabbles makes us so tired — two mamas and six kids under 10 for three days — so we fall onto the couch each night exhausted, stay up too late talking and watching Olympics and wake bleary-eyed, but we get each other and fall into easy rhythm taking care of each other’s as if they’re our own. They are. We’re all connected.
We sit under the rough hewn beams of an outdoor sipping and eating space in a beautiful winery outside of town, and we all share appetizers, and my sis and I taste wine, and it feels almost too good to be true — how much they are enjoying each other, these Bananagram letters spread all over the table, and how the kids aren’t melting, so we’re getting to sit and feel the wind and look across the table at each other and place letters with Sici, who beats us handedly.
I’m listening to the words of a song right now that say,
“I belong with you,
You belong with me,
You’re my sweetheart,”
and this is exactly what it’s like.