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I am close enough to feel the joy waft from the table like scents of a good meal.

My oldest Sici and youngest Lala gather tight around the end of the dining room table with their friend “Em.” J is at a friend’s house, and I sit on the couch reading a book, mostly so I can hear the sounds of their play without interfering.

Every so often, Sici looks over her shoulder at me across the room, and we grin.

The ten-year-old friends, both just shy of 11, and four-year-old little sister act out a circus with small wooden figures connected to sticks, dancing across a lilting particleboard stage, talking in silly voices.

“Would you like to see the lion or the monkey, kids?” the ringmaster booms.

The three girls are laughing so hard, and the big top is getting a little rowdy, with the clown on the verge of permanently losing his nose, the monkey’s ear dangling precariously.

I am thinking of how Sici and Em started their playdate with a rousing game of hide-and-seek, tucking themselves in the back of the closet, in the armoire, under the bed. I helped Lala count to 40 so she could go find the big girls.

I can hardly believe they want to spend their playdate this way. The games of early childhood when they are right on the cusp of big. And it makes my heart painfully happy.

I want them to stay here long enough for me to remember every turn of those wooden lion accents, the way Sici wore a black low-top Converse and a high-top red one with a teal blue headband to school today, and her friend flashed a wide braces smile between goofball voices.

I want to remember the way she and Em spanned the years to Lala’s four like it was only a day.

Today, I’m meeting again with the community of Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Tales from a Gypsy Mama for some free writing. We follow the prompt, refrain from extreme editing, write for five minutes and encourage each other’s free-flowing offerings. Write with us? This post began with the prompt STAY.

Five Minute Friday

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