“Me me Dada hold you…” Bare feet and hot pavement patches, too hot for my angel’s little feet. I drop to one knee with the recycled recycle bin in my left hand and swoop her up with my right and we laugh and she barely holds on as I balance her on my forearm knowing I’ll never let her fall.
The boys and bikes bump and swerve down the drive over and between the speed bumps and manhole covers with wind in their faces. “Me me ride bikes”, she says, and when they are too hot to ride the hill again they drop their bikes at the dead-end drive to find big stones on the bank to toss in the creek.
We watch some bees…buzz…and pick a handful of the daisies on the hill. I lift off her little purple helmet, brush back the sweaty curls with my fingers and blow on her forehead and face like a hair dryer gone wrong while she squints and giggles and squirms until I let her go, find her sun hat, and she runs back to pick more daisies.
In the kitchen, the screen door holes are half hidden with peely blue painters tape to sort-of keep the mosquitos out and her big brother can’t tie the water balloons he fills in the bathroom down the hall. He pinches the open end with his little fingers, runs back to me and hands them over with pride and dances with excitement like he has to pee. His little buddy waits outside the screen door while my little one pulls a wooden chair from the table up to the kitchen counter and has decided to help her Dada turn on the faucet while I’m trying to stretch another tiny balloon over the tap. We’re both blasted with the cold for as long as it takes for me to figure out she only knows how to turn water ‘on’. “No, no, no…” Laughing… and we repeat the scene again and again. I tie the slippery missiles until the bowl is full, about 10 at a time, and my son takes the dance outside where they all bomb each other and the bowl is empty in less than a minute…I save the last one and they all run and scream down the sidewalk, “Your dad has the last one!” (they never learn) and the scene repeats until the balloon bag is empty.
House, grass, drive, bike, park, flowers, nap on the couch beside Dada watching ‘doggies’, aka 101 Dalmatians, wake up, warm milk and back outside to the park…
Mama rides home up the drive and back inside we eat watermelon and Kraft Dinner and ice cream cones and play hide and seek in the closets and beds until there’s no place left to hide in our two bedroom world. She lies beside me on the big bed with her sleepy head on my arm and we count to ten, “ready or not here we come“, one more time…and we all go for a drive for Froot Loops before bed.