It was perfect.
The day we left town we piled the babies and the Pepsi's into the car and told Margaret we were going on an adventure. She gasped, Oh! I have always wanted to go to an adventure! I smiled. Me, too. The road wound under big clouds and through small towns. Riley let me tell him when to slow down and Viola didn't cry once. Four hours, three dirt roads and one Watch out for that rock! later we pulled up to a dark brown cabin in a bright green pasture. Our friends met us with smiles and we felt loved. The next three days were trampolines and river walks and good food and OH, MOMMY! LOOK AT THE DEER! In a place without TV, internet or cell phones I remembered how to be quiet. I could see my children and husband more clearly and my goodness, what a vision. Margaret conquered fears. She stood in (slowly) moving water and threw rocks, the girl ran barefoot, and miracle of miracles, my daughter who will not go down the slide at the park, held onto her daddy and ziplined over trees, cows and a smiling mama. Viola explored the corners of her temporary world. She sought and gathered, holding flowers, rocks and bugs up to be inspected and sometimes (in the case of the bug) tasted. My darling baby, doing her best to remind me that if you look closely there is wonder in the ordinary. And Riley. He put lime in my coke, stole all the covers at night and danced across the grass with our little girls. I love that man.
And then it was time to leave. Riley loaded the car while I sat on the porch and watched Margaret play with her best friend, Ben. They jumped on the trampoline and the morning sun glowed in their hair and on their faces. Margaret turned and smiled at me. And everything within me expanded and contracted. Because I can't keep her anymore than I can catch the sun in her hair. Because Viola is just moments away from passing a flower without wondering how it tastes. Because my heavens, I am so happy and please, oh please don't take any of it away. Because childhood, this time of flight and being carried to bed, is really no longer than a weekend of bright eyed glory.
We drove away and by mile fifteen I had finally stopped crying. Viola slept, Riley sang along to The Tallest Man on Earth and Margaret cleared her throat,
That was the best adventure in the ever whole world. Shall we do more adventures?
Yes. I think we shall.