The Lass came to pick me up, and when we arrived at her new home it was pretty much what I had expected. She is a minimalist and her home resembles a West Elm showroom. It was immaculate and sparsely, though tastefully appointed.
Wow. Someday maybe I'll live in a grown-up home too. Mine more closely resembles that of a college freshman---after the raging kegger.
Of course I had no idea just how magical a place it was until a little later.
It turned out to be a small gathering, with only Keith and his little one joining us. I eyed the small interloper warily.
I had baby-sat her once when she was an infant. I had been roped in with promises that I would likely never even see her, that she would be asleep when I arrived and would remain so until her parents returned. I had my reservations, but I dutifully arrived, with a friend in tow for moral support. Mom talked me through it, showed the baby monitor...
"You'll hear if she wakes up. If she does, just change her diaper and she’ll probably just go right back to sleep..." she told me cheerily, before heading out the door.
Diaper?! Diaper?! Wait a minute...I didn't...wait, diaper?!
Trying not to panic, I prayed to every power and deity known and yet to be known, that the baby would not wake up.
My prayers were answered.
Since that night, I've only seen her a few times, and those have been brief and much less nerve-wracking.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from her today when she bounded into the room. The Sassy Lass and Keith were engrossed in the game and I was quickly bored to tears. Our young guest was getting restless and hungry. I ventured an overture of friendship. When befriending a strange creature, feed 'em, right?
She politely thanked me for her snack and devoured it with alarming speed. That had kept her occupied for all of five minutes. She tried to coax her dad to play, but he was busy yelling at the screen.
The game in question was ice skating. I looked at the expanse of bamboo floor then down at my stockinged feet and felt the stirrings of a pure joy and mischief I haven't felt in a while. One more glance at the T.V. and I was convinced.
Ice skating it was. I clumsily "laced up" and off we went!
We reached an icy slope (sometimes doubling as stairs) and with some effort, managed to skate our way up.
Once we had reached the top, it was time to switch to skis. We did a little cross-country across the carpeted rooms, then made our way back to the slope for some downhill skiing.
After a brief stop to say hi to Dad and check in on the game, my young companion was ready to set out on another expedition. Back to skates. I took too long lacing mine up, so she had to do it for me. We explored the bookcase upstairs and decided upon a whirlwind reading of the Harry Potter series---about a page from each book, and she got the gist. Of course we had to be sure to leave out any parts with scary monsters in them.
"Read me this one! I like this one!" she demanded.
"Um, noo...I don’t think Daddy wants you to read The Unbearable Lightness of Being...how about The Princess Bride?" That put an end to reading time.
With an exasperated roll of her big eyes, she laced up my skates again and we set out to find all sorts of hiding places. We settled comfortably into a utility closet.
"Shhh..." she motioned putting one finger to her lips "We have to hide from the bears." Apparently turtles are excellent at camouflage, and we became turtles so that we could hide in our shells. Sure enough we heard a rustling and a stomping coming closer and closer. We exchanged knowing looks from beneath our shells. She was right!...or it could have just been the Sassy Lass...but my money is on the bears that roam the wilds of Multnomah Village.
I'm hopeless out in the woods, so I turned to my young friend for guidance. She determined that we needed a better hiding spot, one safe from bears. She seemed to be satisfied with the Sassy Lass' closet. She found a spot for our skates (again, the laces---good thing she was so gracious and helpful!) and showed me where we could curl up for a nap should we have to wait out one of the marauding brutes.
She was well prepared, too. As if from nowhere, she produced a wondrous knapsack. There seemed no end to what this knapsack could hold. She laid out a fine repast, very health conscious, too, for a 4 year old. There was broccoli, and grapes, and cheese....oh, and crackers. She had even thoughtfully packed two copies of her favorite book, so we could both read along. I asked her to just read it to me.
She regaled me with the story of The Princess Bride who had to marry the king who wanted to eat her. They had known each other for a long, long time...since the dinosaurs. And there were some little dinosaurs and they were nice, but there was a T-Rex who ate people. And then Harry Potter saw that the king wanted to eat the princess...and then...she got bored and it was on to a game of hide and seek.
Today's adventure was exactly what I needed, even though I never would have guessed it. My spirit has not felt this light in a while.
And, now I can proudly say this brings the number of kids I can actually stand, to a big whopping....two.