There are three dogs in my front yard. A small, poorly groomed poodle, resembling a large yet happy rodent (all my doing, PetSmart will never hire me) named Sunshine, a cheerful medium sized brown dog named Scooby, running mostly in circles due to a leg injury from a car, and an enormous beast of a black dog who nearly gave me a heart attack when I first met her, as I thought she was a very fat wolf. She is not, however, a wolf, but a very mellow and kindhearted old girl named Goose, who meanders into our yard and allows my own frisky poodle to sniff her in all the wrong places.
Along with these dogs there are six children, three of which are mine. There are three girls, first my own daughter, the beautiful, dragon obsessed little war monger, keen on wearing a crown made of construction paper stapled with green leaves, grabbing long sticks and fighting against the boys with her improvised ninja moves and dragon fire. Her friend, a very gentle, kind and lovely girl, patiently playing most invented games and occasionally focusing my daughter on some organized sport. They make a good pair. These two are 11 and 10, developing into stunning young women as seen through a shrewd mother’s eye, though they still have no idea of it. Finally there is our graceful neighbor, a girl of 13, who humors them and saunters behind, mostly texting on her phone but donning the leaf crown and taunting the boys on occasion.
As for boys, my oldest son…ah. Speak of the devil. I have just been interrupted by a snowball consisting of mostly ice flying through the open kitchen window, along with his sweet little voice yelling “Hey girls!”. But how could he know the window was open on this, our first true spring day? And how could he know that the girls had abandoned the battle in search of some quiet time drawing and gossiping upstairs? I am not angry. I am delighted.
Please no more snowballs through the open window.
Oops sorry mom!
A big smile and flare of red embarrassment as he dashes off with his friend, another beautiful blue eyed child, with a smile hiding much mischief. I find it hard not to pinch their cheeks. As they charge off I hear their belts of chains rattling. These chains were discovered somewhere in the depths of the garage, and are now used as belt-holsters carrying a variety of loaded water guns.
Then there is Nicholas, my partner in crime, and for most of the day he has been a member of the audience with me. We sit on a blanket and watch the commotion unfold for a while, I read a little and he plays with his toys. A soccer ball narrowly misses my head here. Two children tackle each other upon my legs and as they dust off I am informed that it is not their fault, as this particular blanket is official Base. Children come and go from my Base Headquarters Blanket, telling me of bugs they have found, asking me to watch tricks they can do, and tattling on each other.
There is such freedom and energy here today. There have been marriage proposals and banishments and custody fights over animals. There have been soccer games and tree climbing and battles among the rocks. There have been strawberries and meringues and root beer and hot popcorn and mud pies stuffed with pine needles and apple cores. There have been naked trees with bare arms dancing in supplication to their sun and fat little chick-a-dees whizzing and twittering among pregnant bird feeders. There has been a sky so blue that tears formed in my eyes to behold it.
Naturally there were also a few casualties; the untimely disappearance of a lego minifigure, a variety of soaked clothing articles, a few temporarily lost tempers and an unfortunate incident with dog poo.
But the clothes and one pair of sneakers spin happily now in the washing machine, and I am all together twitterpated with Mother Nature and lusty for tulips and dandelions.
There is life here today, on this beautiful spring entrance. Bloom baby bloom.