Waking early, her mouth is in gear before her eyes open. She jumps on the boys as they sleep in their own beds.  Screams.  Day has arrived. Time to celebrate. She showers, dresses eats her cereal and runs through my heart out into the back garden. The boys are their usual one step behind her. She chooses to play on the swing set by the wooden play house. Her Dad built the play house high in a tree. She and her brothers love it to the point of fighting for it. A kid’s play house high in a tree in Washington forest is about as close to heaven as a kid can get. She swings from the top support pole on the swing set and falls with the grace of a ballerina. She easily climbs back up to her perch, this time she sits on the top strut. I am grateful for the extra cement her dad used at its base.

She often sits on her long honey colored hair, but today is not for sitting. Hair flies around her face as she swings in the air and tosses her head. She calls to her brothers and they call back. Teasing, taunting, verbal gymnastics, laughing.

She swings down again and visits the peach tree. She is bare foot, shoes are lost in the physical mayhem. Her face buried in a huge peach. I hear her say “this is better than sin”. I hope she does not know what that means.  It is not for knowing at 7.

The weather is cool but her activities warm her. Now she takes over the tree house, her brothers’ squawking soon subsides. They take turns at swinging on the rope ladder, falling to the forest floor and climbing back. If she doesn’t have A.D.D. she has X.Y.Z.

One moment they are pirates, the next Buzz Light year and Woody. No game sticks for long, attention spans are short. The boys are now climbing the support rods for swings. She performs her own opera from the roof of the tree house.  She is Jasmine, Ariel and of course, the dearly beloved Cinderella.

The phone rings, I answer it. By the time I am back at my window post she is laying on the lawn singing to the clouds. A ball, a Frisbee and then the dog finds her. The sheltie rounds her and the boys and the swing set up into her own pack. They escape her herding only to be reherded repeatedly.

She comes inside “I am bored”. I choke, bored? How can that scene lead to boredom? The boys reclaim the tree house territory. She wants to bake. Equipment and ingredients are dragged out of their corners. She busily measures, mixes and tastes, then tastes again with the sheltie at her feet. She sings to the cup cakes as they bake. They are watched as they cool. Who knew cooling involved that much watching? Or, that watching took that long. Once watched to cool they are frosted, with more frosting on her fingers and face than on the cup cakes.

Both boys crash through the screen door intuitively divining that there are fresh baked cupcakes to eat.  Hands are washed. She tells them where to sit. Each cup cake is eaten top down, cake through the frosting. Milk. Hands are washed again.

Board games, coloring, a play to be written. She organizes who will ‘print’ the tickets, who will be invited and who will play which part. Then she writes the play around the characters. They practice it. And work out the invitation list. It is not unanimous, they argue about whether to invite the Chinese boys. Last time they visited every closet and cupboard was emptied with items strewn through every room. They asked me, Chinese boys off the list please.

Boredom catches them again and they rush outside, to obey the calling of the playhouse.  The fighting, the swinging, the falling, the singing, the herding occurs again. The Sheltie loves Saturdays. She would take them over Monday any day.

Dad comes home and is tackled by the three running greeters. The play has to be practiced, so he is told where to sit. There are endless rehearsals and instructions and reorganizations of the furniture in the front room. It has to be right. Dad has to eat at least 2 cup cakes to demonstrate what a fine baker she is. She leaps onto his knees, curls up in his lap and mid sentence, before dinner and the final production of the play, falls asleep. He does not move her. These are the precious times. The boys are back in the tree house, day light saving is their favorite time of year.

As she sleeps she gently snores, it is more like purring than snoring.

That was yesterday.  Today she turns 21.


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