We hosted two of the sweetest, kindest children for a few days of spring break fun. At seven and nine, their eyes are full of innocence and hope. They gazed at us with stars in their eyes, and then they broke us down and scattered the pieces from Mysterious Waters to Highway 20.
Many of you know that I have passed the last 10 years easing into my days like a scalding bath- heavy sighing and slowly moving from coffee to sweatpants like Turnaround Norman. Responding to the endless needs of adorable children requires a bit more effort.
The first mistake was scheduling events that required our physical participation. “We will wear them out. They will sleep like babies.” So ignorant, so avoidable, the only babies I have ever known did not sleep until they turned 13, and these? They slept, but not until they planted their flag in my tired behind and still they were there in the morning, with their searching doe-like eyes. “You want some more of this?” They queried, with their tiny poker faces.
Interlude: How do you wake up Lady Gaga? Poker face.
I have been thoroughly informed as to the inherent lack of fairness in the world, because nobody is treated less equitably than a tiny 7 year-old girl with a canary-like voice. People move around her like giant icebergs floating through her sea, and all conversation occurs above her head. She spends her days looking up at everybody, and straining to get what she has coming to her, and I am here to tell you, IT IS NOT FAIR!
The nine year-old understands he will be expected to be a man one day, and he is not sure how much time he has to prepare. He would prefer you let him handle his own boat, chop his own wood, and tuck himself in. He indulges a barrage of hugs from all who love him, but if we could just stay focused on the Army and some football, he has things to learn, and he suspects hugging will not one day pay the bills or defeat the monsters that live under his bed. A strong kick and a sniper rifle seem much more practical at this point. He is hindered by his tender heart, and it takes a lot of chin-jutting and arm-crossing to overcome a tender heart.
We saw 107 individual animals including a Florida panther, a black bear, 3 Emus, a manatee, a few alligators, some dogs, birds, squirrels, and a black and white striped worm. Every animal was counted and loaded aboard their vacation story.
Speaking of dogs, they have nine back home, and my tribute to these great kids who wore me out to the inner sole and made me feel like a special grown-up- has been to memorize the names of all nine. Here goes.
Sookie, Sarah, Scrappy, Bama, Butch, Bennett, Ginger, Gracie, and Roscoe.
Good kids these, as all kids truly are.